At the 1st Baptist Church in Montgomery, we were met with hugs and handshakes and song. A swirling, all encompassing, all embracing song of love.
We toured the cold Tuscaloosa campus of the University of Alabama.
A mound of rubble has been preserved above the Big Red Tide. It is a symbol of the Confederacy. They hold ceremonies on it.
They rebuilt the home of the President to look like an antebellum mansion. They painted it a nice white. They gave a nice coat of white paint to the old slave quarters out back too.
We got on the bus for Montgomery, to see where Rosa Parks just got fed up with the bone-wearying oppressions of Jim Crow. Around the corner is the Equal Justice Initiative, housed on the wounded ground of an old slave warehouse, down the street from the old slave market, where skilled artisans brought $3,000.
In the 1850's.
Around the time Darwin and Wallace figured out the theory of evolution, efficient generators were turning mechanical energy into electricity, steel was being manufactured, Goya's engravings were thrilling museum-goers, Robert and Elizabeth Browning were writing poetry, Melville, Baudelaire and Harriet Beecher Stowe were in print.
The young lawyers told us today, 40 percent of African American males in Alabama had felony convictions and so couldn't vote. Disenfranchised by the writers of the law.
Striving for justice doesn't allow for the indulgence of bitterness. As we learned again at the 1st Baptist Church in Montgomery, there is no time for hatred. There is only time to imagine a better world.