Sunday, May 24, 2009

Highs and Lows in Alabama

I was working lots of hours while in Selma, Alabama. I was tired having already been out on the road for three weeks...but my spirit grew more tired while staying here. I sensed unrest in the community, lots of poverty around me. While here in the area I met some great people, dedicated staff, and saw lots of beautiful little children. Jim emailed me that week and told me that Selma was the Butterfly Capital of Alabama. While my friends and I decided to head down town...I saw all the butterflies around town. Seeing something like butterflies, the art, something creative and colorful, my spirits had been lifted.

A little factoid.....
Butterfly Capital - Selma, Alabama
In 1989, the Alabama State Legislature designated Selma the "Butterfly Capital of Alabama." The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is Alabama's butterfly mascot.
In October, 2008, the Dallas County Arts Alliance in cooperation with the City and local businesses commissioned more than 40 butterfly sculptures placed throughout Downtown Selma.
After we visited the National Voting Museum, we walked to the edge of the road and looked at the bridge. It was a pretty heavy moment to think of all that occured there. While I was there for the week, I sensed still much "unrest" in this community.... people still not accepting the differences of each other. A discussion with a friend while there made us realize that hate, anger, unforgiveness, prejudice, selfishness has no color....that these emotions don't care what color as long as they can live long in the hearts of all men and women.

Brief History from:

The Selma-to-Montgomery March for voting rights ended three weeks--and three events--that represented the political and emotional peak of the modern civil rights movement. On "Bloody Sunday," March 7, 1965, some 600 civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma on U.S. Route 80. They got only as far as the Edmund Pettus Bridge six blocks away, where state and local lawmen attacked them with billy clubs and tear gas and drove them back into Selma. Two days later on March 9, Martin Luther King, Jr., led a "symbolic" march to the bridge. Then civil rights leaders sought court protection for a third, full-scale march from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery. Federal District Court Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr., weighed the right of mobility against the right to march and ruled in favor of the demonstrators. "The law is clear that the right to petition one's government for the redress of grievances may be exercised in large groups...," said Judge Johnson, "and these rights may be exercised by marching, even along public highways." On Sunday, March 21, about 3,200 marchers set out for Montgomery, walking 12 miles a day and sleeping in fields. By the time they reached the capitol on Thursday, March 25, they were 25,000-strong. Less than five months after the last of the three marches, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965--the best possible redress of grievances.

We visited the the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute which is not far from the bridge. The museum states that it "strives to remind the world of the struggle that took place in order for all Americans to have the right to vote, regardless of race, education or wealth". Quote from museum literature.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Kentucky Derby Team

Rae, me, Atah, Cathy, Marty, Silvia - learning more about Head Start together.
It was the Monday right after the Kentucky Derby upset. This hotel had fun with their decorations. When we arrived in Louisville, there were real red roses on display everywhere.
It is a big event in this state.
Giddy -up!

The surprize winner - Mine That Bird !

Lush green pastures while driving through Kentucky

Green as far as the eye can see.

Winding road I was traveling on.

This is outside of the town area in rural Kentucky.

I started to see old sheds and barns everywhere. I stopped to capture ones most interesting to me.

Hometown of Abe Lincoln

Monument in the center of town. Sultpure of young Abe.

Pretty amazing sculture. He was a tall man.

Stories of the artist who sculpted this piece. It reads: The bronze seated statue was created by Adolph W. Weinman as part of the 1909 Abraham Lincoln Centennial commemoration efforts. The statue was officially dedicated on May 30th 1909.

The artist sits underneath his work with a friend.

I had a few minutes and checked out this museum. The exhibits were all of Abe Lincoln and the significant people in his life as he grew up and as he served as President. It was a wax museum ran by a retired school teacher and principal.

A collage of old barns and sheds

Small country church along the way called Union Band Baptist Church.

As the main structures of farms, barns evoke a sense of tradition and security, of closeness to the land and community with the people who built them.
Each one I saw told such a long story...wish I could have stayed around to listen.

Even today the rural barn raising presents a forceful image of community spirit. Just as many farmers built their barns before they built their houses, so too many farm families look to their old barns as links with their past. Old barns, furthermore, are often community landmarks and make the past present. Such buildings embody ethnic traditions and local customs; they reflect changing farming practices and advances in building technology.

My favorite.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Carved from a 56,000 pound Red Oak Tree!!!

This was so interesting - I had to stop and take a look.

This wood tree sculpture was so cool...but I wondered what was up in his nose....what do you think it was?

It was an old empty wasp's nest. Someone needs to get up there and knock it out....
He looks a little me.

Superman - flying out from the building!

This was right above the SUPERMAN STORE. Inside was all kinds of memorabilia, cups, t-shirts, dolls, posters....even kryp-to-nite. I had fun looking around. I did see some WONDERWOMAN items inside...and had to buy myself some cool postcards, a Wonderwoman magnet and Wonderwoman button.

Will you carry my groceries please?

The town of Metropolis must like big statues....look at this guy? As I was shooting the picture - birds were perching in his grocery sacks. I think this might be Superman undercover...not Clark Kent.
I was getting close to seeing SUPERMAN!

This was a mural painted on the outside of the SUPERMAN STORE!

He is sooooo big and strong - that Superman!

Look at those muscles! During the second full weekend in June, the annual Superman Celebration runs for four days. The Superman statue on Market Street is the center attraction where crafts, food, talent shows, Little Miss Supergirl, and Little Mr. Superboy Pageants, singers, and many other activities are Metropolis in Southern Illinois.

What a big guy that SUPERMAN is!

Heading to go see my MAN....SUPERMAN that is....

Relaxing in Metropolis - the town where Superman lives.

Egg Gallery in Historic Downtown Paducah, Kentucky

Neat cast iron scultpure. A welded chello player.

Visiting Old historic downtown Padacuh, Kentucky

This is the Mentor House Art the giraffe sculpture....

Another bridge over the Ohio River

Whew!!!! Glad thats over! This is me - after I made it over both scary bridges.
Another one coming up....

Ohio River

Big big big...bridge.....

Scary Blue Bridge!!!

This bridge looked fun at looked so cool. I was traveling to Metropolis, Illinois from Paducah, Kentucky to see Superman. When I started driving through the bridge over the Ohio river the two lanes were very narrow and my tires felt like they were moving back and forth. (Like driving on ice). It also got really loud as I drove the car drove over the surface.

Can you see how it turned from asphalt to blue steel? I later found out that it was a total steel bridge. The holes in the road were large enough to put a coke can through. They were linked together to create the surface. That is why my tires shifted around because the surface gave with the weight of the car. According to a local Metropolis resident, this bridge rarely needs repair as compared to the paved bridge I drove over as I went back home.

What a big brush pile!

This fence was chest high. Can you believe the size of this brush pile? Wish I could stay around to watch the City of Paducah, Kentucky burn it down! This town had a severe ice storm this winter. As the ice froze on the tree limbs, the rains came and as the drop fell from the sky, they froze on the way down. Layer upon layer upon layer of ice collected on the tree limbs. Hundreds of people were without power. Many of the historic dogwood trees were so burdened with the weight the branches split and shattered. The town is still trying to cean up.