House sitting takes us deeper south...
Our 2 weeks here gave us a good chance to explore the city and it's surroundings. First stop was the famous Stone Mountain, the world's largest granite monolith. We didn't come to scale the rock though, but to visit it's namesake town lying in the shadows underneath...
Echoes from the Civil War
Stone Mountain also gets a mention by Martin Luther King during his "I have a dream" speech. Referencing the revival of the Ku Klux Klan in 1915 on the mountain's top, King said "Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia..."
Today the Olympics are remembered in the Centennial Park, which acts as a shrine to the many sponsors of the event. Lining the park are various tourism options such as the Georgia Aquarium, the Civil Rights Center and with the longest lines for entry, the World of Coca Cola.
Visiting Atlanta also allowed the chance to get to grips with the story of a true modern American hero.
Born here in 1929, Martin Luther King Jr grew up in the era of segregation. His initial move into leadership of the Civil Rights Movement happened more in Alabama, but it was here that King returned to preach with his father in the family church. Both the home of his birth and the church can be visited today, along with the graves of King and his wife.
Tuskegee & Moton Field
Here's a question for you. At the outbreak of World War 2, how many black aircrew had served in the history of the US Air Force?
The answer is not even that many. It's zero. The US military was strictly segregated so Tuskegee was truly ground breaking - a training base for the first black pilots.
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There is a curious pride in the Confederate roots of the city, plenty of Rebel flags still fly beside statues of leaders and Generals from the time. This seems in stark contrast to the more recent Civil Rights struggles and modernization of the city center.
Whatever I may think as someone just passing through, Montgomery certainly has an easy charm and a layered history. Certainly my preference over Atlanta...
It was here in 1955 that Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to vacate her seat to a white passenger on a city bus.
The event proved to be a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement, which subsequently saw Martin Luther King's rise to leadership. Pictured here is the city center church where he worked at this time.
A year later the transport laws were changed and one small part of society at least had improved. Events on the nearby Selma Bridge 50 years ago were to prove that there was still progress to be made, but the world had moved on a long way since the Tuskegee airmen first took to the skies in 1940...