SELMA, AL — Wednesday, June 8th We boarded the bus to travel to Montgomery: the city “dripping with history.”

This day began with Rip Patton leading freedom songs with an accompaniment from Matthew, a Stetson Law student who plays guitar.

The best part of the protest is the music.

Ray Arsenault, Randall Williams (New South Publishing), Rip Patton

Randall Williams, of New South Publishing, gave us a quick tour of downtown Montgomery. This is cotton-growing country and he says slaves were traded here near the fountain.

Rosa Parks worked in the building in the background.

This is where Rosa Parks challenged the bus driver. The important thing about this downtown tour was to show us that everything is so close together. Even though I have been told that the black neighborhoods are very close to the working downtown, it really didn’t hit home until I actually saw it. Seeing it again and again made me aware of the pattern in the development. Also, realizing that each black neighborhood had a church that served as the center of the community and the heart of the movement in each neighborhood. The black neighborhood is about a mile away from a very posh downtown, The Garden District. Rosa worked as a seamstress in a shop not far from the fountain in the square. There is enormous confederate history here.

The Alabama State Capital in the background of Montgomery Square.

This is amazing geography. The Durrs, lived in the Garden neighborhood. They were two of the most powerful people in all of the south, not just Montgomery. And they literally lived around the corner from Rosa Parks, E.D. Nixon. They were champions of Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement.  Rev. A. Phillip Randolph lived in the neighborhood. A Lutheran Minister Rev. Graetz, helped organized the transportation during the bus boycott. His house was bombed along with many others. Rosa Parks lived near the projects. Imagine bombs going off all over the neighborhood. It was a war zone.

The governor’s mansion is within walking distance. This where Big Jim Folsom, John Patterson, and George Wallace lived. This was the site of the first mass meeting at Holt Baptist Church where the mass bus boycott was organized to protest Rosa Parks arrest. The boycott lasted 383 days.

We then headed for the Rosa Parks Museum. Now, confederate history stands side-by-side with the black freedom movement. The thought makes me want to cry.

I’m listening and watching a young Aretha Franklin sing “R-e-s-p-e-c-t” on the video playing in the bus as I write this. When this song was popular it was a Civil Rights

Rosa Parks has a street in her neighborhood named after her.