Last week I had the pleasure of going on a Civil Rights Tour down south. I went with my Aunt, Dr. Jeanne Porter King, and a group of amazing women of the Fierce Women of Faith. We were led by the Founder, Dr. Marcenia Richards and her team. The four day tour took us to several different areas in the south that are famous throughout black history. I will say that before this tour, my eyes weren’t as open as they should have been or as one would say as I wasn’t “woke.” I knew the basics to the racism in America, but I never learned it in depth. This tour really opened my eyes and taught me so much I needed to know about my history. Over the course of the three days we traveled to five different locations that was full of black history. We went to Ebenezer Baptist Church and the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Both gave homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was born in Atlanta in 1929. We then went to Birmingham, Alabama and visited the Civil Rights Museum and the 16th Street Baptist Church, where a1963 bombing killed 4 little black girls- Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins, and Denise McNair.
(Pictures are in no specific order)
We also traveled to Selma, Alabama and walked across the famous Edmund Pettis Bridge. We visited the Voter’s Right’s Musem and the Brown’s AME Church. We then visited Montgomery, Alabama and saw the The Legacy Museum,The National Memorial for Peace and Justice as well as the Rosa Parks Museum. The last stop was Memphis, Tennessee where we visited the Civil Right’s Museum and the famous Lorraine Hotel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and Mason Temple Church Of God in Christ, where King gave his last sermon, now known as the “ Mountain Top” sermon.
Out of all the sites we visited, the two places that really stuck with me were The Legacy Museum, and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice (The Lynching Museum). The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, is built on a site of a former warehouse where tens of thousands of black people were enslaved and imprisoned in the 1860’s. It sheds light on the issues in history such as, racial segregation, lynching, slavery and racial terror throughout America. The National Memorial for Peace & Justice shows America’s history of racial inequality through a powerful journey from slavery, through lynching and racial terrorism with narratives, text and monuments to the lynching victims in America. Visiting these museums, I was filled with so much anger as I walked through and read about all of the lynchings, enslavements, and the violence towards my people during that time. I read the names on the monuments at the Lynching Museum and it really laid heavy on my heart that people could show so much violence and hatred towards people that looked like me. That they could enslave my people and treat us less than animals. That they could rip families apart and sell them into slavery, and lynch men, women and children for the color of their skin.
Seeing these things at both of these museums was very moving because, It’s one thing to learn about this in school. But to physically see the aftermath is life changing. Growing up, my school gave us the basics. Like how some white people hated black people, and how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks fought for my right to be sitting next to a white girl in class and receive the same education. How Harriet Tubman led slaves through “the Underground Railroad” and escaped to freedom. How black people were hated so much that they separated us by the color of our skin and made us drink from different fountains and eat at different restaurants. We learned about lynchings, and lets not forget the most important thing they emphasized, How we were labeled as “niggers” because of the difference in the color of our skin. What’s even more sad is how America doesn’t even allow our schools to teach us is the deeper truth behind black history. That not only did Dr. King and Rosa Parks fight for my rights, but there were tens of thousands of African Americans that were enslaved and murdered during the long emotional journey of racial terror in America.
African Americans faced all kinds of racial terror, being hung from a tree in front of a crowd of 3,000 people and having a box kicked out from under our feet, causing our necks to break, Killing us instantly. And just to make sure we were dead, they’d fire 3,000 bullets into our corpse and set us on fire. And yet, that still wasn’t enough! they’d then take our corpse and drag it through our communities as a warning to our people. Black men were often murdered for fitting the description of another black man being accused of something. And the racial terror didn’t stop there, women and children were also kidnapped, enslaved and lynched as well. A 14-year-old black boy-Emmet Till was beaten to death and lynched in Mississippi for being accused of offending a white-woman in her families store.
The picture to my left is a picture that I took at the Lynching Memorial. It is my favorite picture because it captures the beauty, power and strength in my History. It shows that even in death, we have power and strength in numbers.
Overall, this trip was such an amazing experience for me! I am so grateful to have been able to share this powerful experience with the 15 amazing women on the tour! They accepted me as their own and made me feel right at home, and I am so appreciative of that! We were only together for a short time, but the journey we were on those three days will bond us for life! Also, a big thanks to my aunt for asking me to go on this trip with her! I got some great new knowledge out of it and I feel that I’m a lot more “Woke” to my history and I hope to use this information as a insight to others who were in the same position I was!
And that’s a wrap for Kickin’ it With Kiki! As the summer comes to an end I want to give a huge thanks to everyone who stuck with me and continued to read: ‘Kickin’ It With Kiki’ every week! I really appreciate the love and support you all have shown me throughout this journey! I hope you all have enjoyed my posts just as much as I enjoyed writing them! And I hope they were both entertaining and informational for you! If you’d like, feel free to share your thoughts on my blog this summer in the comments section. I’d love to hear your feedback! Another big thanks to my aunt for letting me take over her blog for the summer! I hope to start my own blog sometime in the future so stay tuned! 🙂