Two Decembers ago, we left Columbus, Ohio for Montgomery, Alabama to visit a friend of ours and travel a bit on the Civil Rights Trail. This is a trip, I think, people should make if they get the chance. You can get to Montgomery from anywhere, and our friend doesn’t still live there, but Montgomery is a wonderful city for a weekend trip with sites that are family friendly, well worth a stop, and enough sweet tea that you can float away. One day I’ll put together a longer feature with suggestions on how to organize your trip and what to do, but for this post, here’s a plug for my most favorite place that I think of often.
At 309 South Jackson Street is one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s former homes. He lived here with his family from 1954 to 1960 during the time he was organized the bus boycott and was preaching at the Dexter Ave. Baptist church. The house, the church’s former parsonage, is now The Dexter Parsonage Museum, a place that looks frozen in time. Besides being able to see the porch damaged when someone tried to kill King with a bomb, but to no avail, the house looks like the family could have just stepped out while you’re passing through for the hour or so tour.
One of the wonderful qualities of the museum is the woman who curates it. She went to King’s church as a child and has memories of him placing his hand on her head. Her story, how she came back to Alabama to her hometown after years away, is an important story of American history as well.
This museum is a place with heart and soul, and I think should be on the list of must see places important to American history, even though, as historical houses go, it’s not that old. If you go, you need to arrange a tour. Here’s the link. This link also has a picture of the kitchen.
The picture here is the only one I found with permission to use. The story behind it is funny. According to the description, this is a group of kids who came to visit on a field trip. They went up to the door, turned the knob and an alarm went off. Yep, this is a lesson in calling ahead. Oregonian, who posted this on Flickr, has other shots of the group’s civil rights tour. Thanks to Oregonian for sharing.