From Jackson, Mississippi along more commerce-free highways lined with lush foliage to Selma, Alabama. I stopped on the far side of the bridge across the Alabama River where the memorial to the 1963 march stand. The images of the marchers made a big impression on me when I was young and made an even bigger impression on me a couple of years ago after watching the excellent documentary, “Soundtrack for a Revolution.” The footage of John Lewis, standing at the head of the marchers, staring at the national guards about the charge them, made me shiver.
About a year ago, a friend visited Selma. Lori’s description of her visit made me want to see it. She prepared me for the lovely scenery. However, I found the memorial sad. To judge from what I saw, the burden of raising the funds to memorialize the Civil Rights Movement has fallen on those who can least afford what a proper monument costs. Still, the boulders have a stirring inscription from Joshua 4: 21-22:
“When your children shall ask you in time to come saying ‘What mean these stones?’ then you shall tell them how you made it over.”
On a small stone to the right are engraved some of the names of the movement’s martyrs, including Medger Evers, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney.
There may be radio silence for a few days. From here on, I am not sure whether or when I’ll have wifi. But the tour continues. Stay tuned…