Civil Rights Tour 2012

We are back from an awesome vacation to Tennessee and Alabama.  What an amazing trip filled with blessings from God, spiritual invigoration, intellectual stimulation, marital rejuvenation, and gastrointestinal delight.  (can you tell I’m working on expanding my vocabulary?)  Seriously though, the trip had it all.

We left on Tuesday morning and drove to Nashville (or Nash-Vegas, as my husband calls it).  We stayed at the Best Western downtown and walked to the strip.  We had some delicious bbq and then watched some live music at The Stage.  Wednesday morning we drove around Vanderbilt and then on to Birmingham.  In Birmingham, we toured the Civil Rights Institute, walked by the 16th Street Baptist Church, ate at Green Acres and stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast.  Thursday, we drove to Montgomery, saw the State Capitol, and visited the Dexter Ave. King Memorial Church and parsonage where the Kings lived while he was the pastor.  Our tour was conducted by a woman who is a member of Dexter Ave. and was while King was pastor.  She had some great stories to share!  Friday morning we had an amazing personalized tour of the First Baptist Church (and met Johnnie Carr’s daughter and son-in-law.  Johnnie Carr was a friend of Rosa Parks and a major Civil Rights leader – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnnie_Carr.)  We also toured a really cool ministry called Common Ground that works with kids in a lower income neighborhood in Montgomery (http://www.commongroundmontgomery.org/).    Then we drove to Selma and saw the site of Bloody Sunday and the Voting Rights Museum.  Saturday, we drove to Memphis and went to the incredible National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, walked Beale Street and ate delicious ribs.  After an uplifting time of worship at the St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis, we drove to St. Louis to spend the evening with family.

These are just the facts, but the experiences and the feelings from the trip are hard to put into words.  We were face to face with the reality of racism in America, and it was not pretty.  We also met some incredibly inspiring and wise people who lived through the movement.  We were also convicted to take a serious look at our lives to see where we are turning a blind eye to (or actively engaging in) discrimination (based on race or anything else).  It’s so easy to look at the past generations and say that they were ignorant and we would have never acted in that way, but that’s just not reality.  We kept asking each other – where would we have been?  (And thus, where are we now?) Scary questions to ask.   I have so many thoughts on this stuff, but for now, that gives a taste.  The most important thing I learned was that this history is incredibly relevant and worth of exploration.  Those struggles and the current, ongoing racial struggles are now going to be mine more than ever since they will be the struggles of my children.  Turning a colorblind eye is no longer an option.

God so blessed us on this trip.  Historically, we have not vacationed particularly well, but we had some major breakthroughs on this trip.  One major change we made was budgeting.  We set a really realistic and firm budget that gave us lots of freedom to spend without worrying that we were out of control.  We also spent a time of time talking through our list of  life discussion items and worked on our 2012 Family Business Plan.  Plus, we got to celebrate our good news of court approval!

More to come…

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