Our journey through Alabama led us to The Southern Poverty Law Center and The Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery.
The Memorial captured our attention as we walked up the street toward The Center.
The smooth granite circular slab is engraved around the outside edge with the names of people killed in the struggle for equal rights. Water washes over the stone as a constant reminder of Dr. Martin Luther King‘s words, “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
The Memorial was created by Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin, who envisioned the plaza as “a con-templative area — a place to remember the Civil Rights Movement, to honor those killed during the struggle, to appreciate how far the country has come in its quest for equality, and to consider how far it has to go.”
Inside The Center there is a tribute to each of the victims and information on many of the cases The Law Center has fought through the years.
After we browsed the exhibits and watched a film in the theater, it was hard not to let anger be our overriding emotion. Tolerance and nonviolent resistance were the hallmarks of the movement, certainly we should carry on that tradition today.
Just before the exit we came to The Wall of Tolerance. This twenty by forty foot wall is an electronic display of the hundreds of thousands of visitors who have pledged to stand up for equality.
After seeing the stories of so many brave souls who gave their lives in the fight for basic American rights, it was not a difficult decision to take the pledge and add our names.
“By placing my name on the Wall of Tolerance, I pledge to take a stand against hate, injustice and intolerance. I will work in my daily life for justice, equality and human rights – the ideals for which the Civil Rights martyrs died.”
It was a deeply emotional moment watching our names appear on the wall, we’re sure we were not alone in walking out the door with tears in our eyes.
Actually, Veronica was openly sobbing and the nice volunteer at the exit had kleenex at the ready, so we’re absolutely positive we weren’t the first.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com
Read more about our trip through Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma with more photos and videos by visiting “Following the Freedom March in Alabama.”