Monday, January 19, 2009

Church at the Bottom of the Hill

Today is Dr. Martin Luther’s King’s Day. Every year, on this day, I am transported to a trip we took about a decade ago through the deep south. We took the route between Selma and Montgomery. It is an awesome trip. You can feel the marchers as you drive down the road. One of the sights we wanted to see was the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

It was the church where Dr. King was the pastor from 1954-1960 and selected to lead the civil rights movement. It was in Montgomery he led and won the bus boycott, one of the first blows to Jim Crow laws.

However, for me the church and the voting rights march are inseparable. It’s physical position to the tyrannical, discriminatory state government to the church cannot be overstated. The picture below shows an overhead view of the little church in relationship to the state government.

(click on the pictures for larger views)

The church is dwarfed by the state capitol building and office buildings. A huge statue of Jefferson Davis stands in front of the capitol
How did the leadership of this church and those in Selma find the strength to confront the giant of oppression?
What you cannot see in the picture is that the capitol is on top of a hill. The church is at the foot of it. We stood at the bottom of the hill, in front of the church. The physical and metaphorical climb from one to the other was breathtaking.

Being at the place where history is made makes you appreciate how hard it is to speak truth to power. It takes all of us to do it. If we want change, we need to show up.
As a disability rights activist, I see that we still have a way to go to achieve such unity.

1 comment:

Eric Guidish said...

Go Cilla, Go!!

I heard this today. So true!!

Rosa sat so Martin can walk. Martin walked so Obama can run. Obama will run so our children can fly.

Happy Holiday!!

Eric Guidish