As we meandered our way from Atlanta to New Orleans, we passed through Alabama. We actually stopped in Montgomery, the state capital. That's where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person in the bus, and by her act of civil disobedience, sparked the bus boycott. That's also where, in 1965, civil rights activists and black citizens of Alabama marched from Selma to Montgomery in order to demand that black people be able to register to vote in local and federal elections (they had the right to vote, but white administrations wouldn't let them register).
(these engravings graced the walls of the Rosa Parks library)
The Dexter avenue King memorial baptist church is very close to the Alabama State capitol, and that's where Martin Luther King jr preached from 1954 to 1960. People were just coming out of church, and it was nice to see the elegant ladies chatting as well the kids running around.
We were there on a sunday, early afternoon, so the streets were deserted and all shops closed. The downtown part of Montgomery is economically depressed : stores boarded up along mainstreet. But there's also a certain grandeur to the city, with elegant state buildings and fountains.
Montgomery isn't the kind of place tourists come to visit. But it's one of those stops that gives you the feeling of travelling. The sort of travelling that brings you to another place, outside your comfort zone, your usual routine.