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Discovering the Tumultuous History of Montgomery, Alabama

We overnighted with our RV at a Boondockers Welcome site just outside of Montgomery, AL. We made a day trip into the city to see the sights, try some local cuisine, and learn about the Civil Rights Movement that took place in this historic town.

Montgomery

​We packed up our bikes the next morning and headed into the city. We found free parking at Old Alabama Town not far from many of the historic sites on Dexter Avenue.

DEXTER BAPTIST CHURCH

Montgomery is home to the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church – known for having Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as its reverend. This church was the backbone of the 1955-1956 Montgomery bus boycott–the first locally-initiated mass protest against racial discrimination and a “model” for other grass-roots demonstrations.

The boycott proved how members of a black community could unite in resistance to segregation, and it heralded a new era of “direct action.” The event also propelled Martin Luther King, Jr., into the national spotlight

dexter baptist church

CAPITAL BUILDING

On these steps a sea of Civil Rights Advocates stood and spilled out onto Dexter Avenue up which they had marched. It is a moving view.  

Pictured below is a monument at the Capital Building in Montgomery, Alabama with the daffodils blooming. This was actually a Confederate monument, and it was very interesting to see how the Civil War was memorialized here in the South.

confederate monument montgomery

​”Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
​- Sir Winston Churchill 

ROSA PARKS MUSEUM AND EXHIBIT

  We went to the Rosa Parks Museum and saw this very moving exhibit reflecting on the 60 years since the Civil Rights Act was passed. 

rosa parks museum and exhibit

Though the Civil Rights Movement seems so long ago, and we may think of what happened then as “some other time, some other place,” similar inequalities are still present today. Not just for Blacks, but other categorized and marginalized people. Images of then, with people being sprayed with fire hoses in the streets were paired with images of the same thing taken just last year.

 “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
​- Edmund Burke

social movement quote martin luther king jr

RIVERFRONT & THE ALLEY

We biked down to the Riverfront Park where a grassy field and amphitheater stood. The Alabama River flowed by, an ancient and constant presence alongside the city. That river had seen far more than riverside concerts.

​The Alley looked to be a developing restaurant and shopping district off of Tallapoosa and Commercestreets. 

  ​CUISINE – Chris’ Hotdogs since 1917

chris's hotdogs since 1917

The oldest restaurant in Montgomery! Simple food, simple restaurant. Tom got a hotdog and a hamburger, and Cait went the healthy route with their vegetable soup.

Tucker Pecan Company

Right next to Old Alabama Town where we parked we found the Tucker Pecan Company. This place was a cute little gift and pecan shop. We got some very affordable and delicious ice cream and sampled their delicious pecan treats!

tucker pecan company

OVERALL Montgomery ​

We found Montgomery to be a relatively sleepy city – at least downtown. Perhaps we just hit at a strange time, but there were hardly any cars on Dexter Ave and hardly any pedestrians walked the streets. The one developing area we saw, the Alley, wasn’t very busy either.

This city has a lot of history – but a lot of it was pretty bad. While a lot of progress was made here for the Civil Rights, the racism and cruelty that occurred here isn’t something to be proud of and may be holding the city back from progress. 

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