We've been seeing the history of the south firsthand by touring many museums and places of remembrance. One of our first stops this week was Fred Shuttlesworth's church in Alabama. If you are not familiar with this name, he was a black pastor during the Civil Rights movement. His church and home were bombed 3 times by the KKK.
One bombing happened in the night while he and his family were asleep. Would you believe the roof blew off the house, and yet no one was harmed?! When warned to leave the city, he responded, "Tell your Klan brothers that if God could save me through this, they'll have to come up with something better. So the fight's on" I love this man.
Below are pictures of the church he once pastored and a white entrance structure next to it is where his home once stood.
I've also added a couple photos of the newer building along with the pastor we meet with who knew Shuttlesworth and has served at that location for over 25 years.
While in Montgomery, Alabama we visited the state capitol and "The First White House of The Confederacy." Josh was also interviewed by a local TV station doing a segment on the state capital finally fixing the bell on the tower.
The next day, we visited Tuskegee University where we saw the works of George Washington Carver (a man born a slave who became a scientist). He was "adopted" by a man who believed in him and nurtured a love of learning in gardening and teaching others what he had learned. He is famous for finding multiple uses of the peanut plant.
While at the university we also toured Booker T. Washington's place of residence while he held the title of President of the university (also born a slave). He brought the university into the prominence it holds today.
The home was the first in the area to have electricity and indoor plumbing, not to mention, the most ostentatious house in the neighborhood, and possibly the city. This was important to demonstrate to both whites and blacks that African Americans could accomplish far more than anyone gave them credit for.
It was wonderful to learn that these black men born into slavery, overcame so much and worked hard to serve others and set an example for many blacks of what they can accomplish with great adversity behind them and in their foreseeable futures.
Our last stop in Georgia was a church that Martin Luther King Jr pastored from 1954-1960. During our time in Tennessee, we attended the Civil Rights Museum that is built within the hotel of where he was shot to death. We hope to see his burial site while we are in Georgia this week.
That is three different states where you can visibly see he had an impact. (Tennessee - where he was shot, Alabama - where he pastored, and Georgia where he was born and buried). We know it was much, much greater than that, but I still feel honored to see all 3 sites and pay our respects to a man who fought for what is right and taught the love of God to others.
We are staying with friends this week who are very gracious hosts and wonderful people. I will be posting another entry soon so y'all can see the fun stuff we've been up to in Georgia!
I called my grandmother a couple weeks ago to tell her I would be in Tennessee and Kentucky in the near future because I knew she had lived in both places. She asked me if I could try to find her grandparents' graves in Kentucky, AND her parents' gravesite in Tennessee. Her grandmother was never able to have a tombstone and she wanted to find out where they were buried so she could get one placed before she passes. She's 83.
Just 3 days ago, (thanks to Ancestory.com) I visited both gravesites...and took lots of photos for my grandma!
I often see old graves and wonder what their lives were like and why they died so young. Seeing my own family and knowing the stories, makes me feel that much more connected with history and that time period. The headstone below is of my great, great grandfather in Kentucky. He died young, leaving his wife to care for several young children (my great grandma and siblings). His wife died less than 10 years later – both of things that are curable through vaccine or hospitalization today.
When I was young, I'd visit my great grandparents in Tennessee. I remember my great grandpa and great uncles grabbing their guns everyday around 3pm and telling us they were going to find dinner. A couple hours later they would return with rabbits and squirrels. My twin sister and I would get so excited about keeping the rabbits feet and squirrels tails. I wouldn't even want to touch one now!
My great grandma (Anna Mae Willoughby) loved Jesus more than anyone I knew. She'd often say, "Oh baby girl - Jesus don't like it when we ______" There was something about her presence that brought respect - probably the way she corrected us with such love. I look forward to the day we meet in heaven. I know she will be waiting for me, ready to tell me even more stories, but this time of heaven.
Here are some pictures of the gravesite very near their old property in Robbins, Tennessee. I truly never thought I'd see the day I would be back to visit, let alone take my kids and husband. I never dreamed this dream because it was too big - but it happened.
Later, we drove to their old property. The creek I played in for hours seems larger now, maybe because so much vegetation seems to have been removed. There is an open field that once held corn stocks tall enough to hide in (till the age of 12 anyway). And of course their trailer has been removed or torn down, along with the outhouse that we had to use. I would have taken pictures of the outhouse, had it still been there!
From the looks of the property, a hoarder owns it now and to be honest, I was a little scared to ask permission to be on the property, or to take photos because I didn't know what kind of person would live in that situation. We were a bit hurried due to our
un-announced and un-invited visit but I do hope these pictures show a glimpse of what it was like to spend a summer in TN and have the blessings of a creek in the front yard - especially as a child who took full opportunity of such things.
I have so many happy memories of this place. I still can't believe I was able to go back and show my husband and kids where some of the stories I tell took place. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity and to my husband who drove all over trying to find the gravesites and the property.
We also visited two state capitals this week, Tennessee and Kentucky. The first set of pictures is Tennessee and the second is Kentucky.
Our favorite room in the Tennessee State Capital was the library with a spiral staircase to reach the books on the second story. I dream of having something like this in my own home someday - magnificent!
WOWOWOWOW! The Kentucky State Capital took our breath away! They knew how to focus on elegance and leave out distractions. Have you ever seen anything so grand?!
It's been pretty chilly here, but it has not stopped us from going outside! Here are a few favorite photos of our outdoor time. (ok...the birds were taken from the other/warm side of a window) Brrrr!
Oh! And the girls finally got the snow they had been longing for...just a small patch, but enough to make tiny snowmen and snowballs.
We are heading to Alabama and Georgia this week. Stay tuned, folks!
We were blessed this week to be hosted by friends Russ and Kathryn Jones in their home near Memphis where we had our own rooms, home cooked meals together and enjoyed some local sites.
We had freezing temperatures this week. Our lowest day was 13F. BRRRR! Even our wet wipes left in the van froze into a solid clump!
Before we left TN and moved onto Arkansas, we were told to visit the famous Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis.
One night in the 1930's, the general manager got drunk and decided it would be funny to bring ducks into the hotel lobby and let them swim in the fountain. The next morning he woke to find the ducks still there - and many hotel guests gathered around actually delighting in the new addition, and so it stuck!
Everyday, twice a day, they have a duck master who brings the ducks in and sends them back to their holding place using the elevator as the grand entrance and exit. We ordered Shirley temples for the girls as a special treat for the occasion. I enjoyed a sip for the sake of a photo op. ;)
We decided to head over the border to Arkansas for a couple of nights to see the state capital and Little Rock Central High School where the well known incident of The Little Rock Nine occurred n 1957. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Rock_Nine
Below is the school. The statue in on the grounds of the state capital in honor and memory of their bravery.
While at the capital we met an older gentleman who told us about a free natural museum just down the road that was designed with kids in mind - so of course we checked that out! And after that we took a trolley ride- just the fun of taking the ride and hearing the history of the town.
We found the remains of the tornado that hit Arkansas just this last spring. It was pretty surreal to see so many pieces of peoples homes abandoned. Several shoes with no match, kitchen utensils, dvds, busted furniture, books and bibles.
We're back in Tennessee, this time in Nashville being hosted by a friend of our realtors.
People ask us what we miss the most about home. Friends and family top the list, but to be honest, we are really enjoying this adventure. We get to explore new places each week and meet new people. ...And we travel really well together!
I've been wondering what life will be like when we get back home with no jobs lined up and thinking about a possible 3rd hip surgery (because I can hope not to be in so much pain each day), but I know I can trust God no matter what. Life isn't guaranteed to be easy nor comfortable - we as humans just wish it was!
Until next week! Marilyn
We left Texas last Monday - I cannot believe it hasn't even been a week and we've spent 2 1/2 days in both Louisiana and Mississippi AND are currently in Tennessee!
(I also marked off something on my dream list...touring the site where Elvis was born!)
While in Louisiana we spent our time at the New Orleans YWAM base. We were able to have the guest house all to ourselves. It was nice for the kids to spread all their toys out and for us to have room to relax away from a hotel bed. (We are blessed to be given these breaks often with people who have taken us in).
Being from the Seattle area, we are used to seeing a lot of water. However, I was amazed at how much we were ABOVE the water in Louisiana. So much of our driving was on roads built above water. ...and of course I had to share pictures of the swamp areas!
On Tuesday we roamed around the French Quarter.
We ate lunch at a hole in the wall mini mart, right in the heart of the town. We shared catfish, mac 'n cheese and gumbo.
Sarah had the camera and captured a photo with me in it. You'll notice I'm using walking sticks instead of a cane. My physical therapist recommended this as an option and I'm so thankful. It relieves the pressure and helps me feel balanced. I DO get the occasional joker around these parts that yells out, "Look! She's skiing and it's not even snowing!"
As far as my hip goes, I did recently talk to my surgeons office and they said I should be back to normal and that my pain level and limitations do concern them. However, there is nothing I can do until I get back, so I have purchased good ice packs and plenty of anti-inflammatory medicine...and rest a lot.
If and when you visit another state you MUST make seeing the state capital buildings part of your vacation or work visit.
The Louisiana capital is breathtaking! Made with different marbles from all over the world. OH - AND it's the tallest state capital WITH an elevator to the top for viewing of the Mississippi River and the surrounding city.
Our first stop in Mississippi was the Vicksburg Military Park where a key battle of the Civil War was fought. It was humbling to stand where our past heroes fought so bravely and with such sacrifice for a worthy cause.
On Friday we drove to the Mississippi Capital and were told it was closed! The guard had pity on us after we informed him the lady at the information desk told us it would be opened. He helped us find the stamp for our stamp collecting book, and let us view the rotunda and a bit of the entry way before escorting us out....This is why most of the photos are of the outside of the building.
(There are however interesting photos of a Gargoyle and a Princess!) ;)
Our final destination was an act of true love on Josh's part! He drove 2+ hours out of our route so I could see the birth place of Elvis Presley! My dad is the biggest Elvis fan I know and so, of course, I became one too - for the sake of memories and not so much for the sake of Elvis. But I did hear many stories growing up of what a kind and generous man he was.
I appreciated seeing his humble beginnings (not even his own bedroom nor a bathroom, nor electricity because they couldn’t afford it). I don’t think he ever forgot where he came from because he was often very generous with his wealth. If you see a friend or stranger who looks like they could use a helping hand, help them. You can lift someone’s sprits a long way! I've been on the giving and receiving end many times. Both are blessings!
Below is the house Elvis was born in, along with his twin brother who died at birth. His father built it with $180.00. It's style is called a "shotgun house". With only a small hallway between the front and back doors with a bedroom to the left and a kitchen on the other side of that wall. Elvis was 13 when they moved to Memphis Tennessee.
We are doing well. Keeping busy with all the sites staves away the homesickness...and keeps my mind off my constant hip pain, and we truly enjoy exploring.
As always, prayers are appreciated and if you have any connections with a person who lives in another state that might be interested in having Josh speak at their church, please contact us @ http://www.radicallynormal.com/ where you can see our itinerary and contact info.