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Another place in history

4 Aug

 

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Yesterday, we had a radio interview with WMPR. It’s one of Mississippi’s premier radio stations, playing blues, R&B, gospel, and soul. The interview was pretty quick, but like a lot of your encounters, it became something even more special.

Charles Evers runs WMPR. Charles Evers is the brother of Medgar Evers. Medgar was a famous Civil Rights activist. His brother, Charles, was there on the front lines with him. Bobby Kennedy, Nixon, Bush, Muhammed Ali — Mr Evers knows them all. He was especially good friends with Bobby Kennedy.

Mr. Evers is a remarkable person. An independent man his whole life, he has started businesses, brought up an amazing family, and has remained an activist. 89 years of age, and he is as strong as ever. What was probably the best thing about Mr Evers was the faith he still had in this country. He believes in America. He believes in what makes it great. It’s very easy to look at how things are going, to get caught up in the media, and to become jaded. Mr Evers has seen oppression, he knows a world where he had to walk on the other side of the road simply because of his skin color. But still, he remains positive. He never gives up. It’s a testament to the human spirit.  Mr Evers is a brilliant man, a revolutionary, and despite all the hardship, he has never given up hope. If only we could all be like him.

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Montgomery to Selma, A Journey Back

30 Jul

The last few days have found us taking the scenic route as we head for Mississippi. With a desire to learn more about the Civil Rights Movement, we headed to Montgomery Alabama.

Montgomery is a place dripping with history. It’s incredibly humbling to walk the streets, knowing that this is where so much history has taken place. The streets we walk on are the same that the activists walked on. The churches and the buildings we go through are the same where change was taking shape 60-7o years ago. You walk through a city, and sometimes, you forget what the world did before your feet found the pavement. That’s what Montgomery was for us. We wanted to see where everything changed. Where the Capital, once a beacon of Confederate oppression, towers above the streets of change and progress, somehow, these two opposing forces still coexist. The people, the history, the pulse of life in Montgomery really got to us. Sad we had to leave it.

From there, we went to Selma. Selma, also a big catalyst for MLK’s movement, has seen better days. The economic collapse hit the people hard. You head over the famous bridge to find the Main Street with so many varieties of architecture and personality — it feels like a new world. You get closer, and many of the buildings have “FOR RENT” signs, many are abandoned and broken. It’s troubling to find this vibrant city fallen on hard times. But it’s clear to see that the people still push on, the folks still have a beating heart left in them. There are still the sights and sounds and noises that call to an earlier age of excitement and purpose.

As night fell, we headed to the Elk’s Lodge for some Blues and to meet new friends. We had such a blast. Everyone was dancing and singing. The merriment was palpable. It was encouraging to see the people of this town, who have seen it through both light and dark, still banding together to enjoy the family they created.  The smiles never left them. Selma will find a way to bounce back, that’s for sure. With people who care, people who continue to push onward despite the hardships, this town will begin again. The paint will find a new coat, the streets will brighten again, and Selma will be stronger. Stocks can rise and fall, houses can lose their foundation, but you can’t break the community that lives and loves like Selma.