I Started My New Year at the Birmingham Jail
Before you get alarmed and start texting everybody, no I wasn’t locked up.
As most of you know my husband Pastor Ernest Slaughter passed away at the beginning of 2021. As a way of honoring his life, I decided I would spend the rest of mines traveling. See, my husband loved to travel and I hated it. The idea of packing, not sleeping in my own bed, etc… I just dreaded it. I know, crazy right?
Traveling with intention:
I promised myself that wherever my suitcase takes me, I would go with intentions. What does traveling with intention look like? Well for me it means reintroducing myself to Black history..My history!
First stop on my journey was Birmingham, Alabama.
So yea, I brought in 2022 visiting the Birmingham Jail and other landmarks from the Civil Rights movement that up until now I only read about or learned about through documentaries.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. along with Ralph Abernathy were arrested on April 12, 1963 for violating Alabama’s law against mass public demonstrations. Dr. King spent eight days in jail before being released on bail, and during that time wrote his famed “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
A surreal moment for me was when I visited the 16th Street Baptist Church where four Black girls were killed. On Sunday, September 15, 1963, the church was bombed by four members of a Ku Klux Klan-affiliated racist group. Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley, were killed in the blast while attending the church’s Sunday school.
Directly across the street from the church is Kelly Ingram Park. The park features several monuments commemorating the Civil Rights Movement. There is a moving tribute, titled Four Spirits, to the four girls that sits on the corner and faces the church.
The park also features a monument of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There is also a statue to Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, a hero of the Birmingham movement, outside of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (it was closed on New Years Day). Most of the monuments in the park focus on the student protests that captured the attention of the entire country.
I ain’t afraid of your jail.
And when they carve my name inside the concrete
I pray it forever reads…..FREEDOM!
To learn more about the Civil Rights movement in Alabama you can visit the Birmingham Civil Rights District.