Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Selma, AL

I used my day off today to go to Selma, AL.

The city is most noteworthy for "Blood Sunday" and the successful voting rights march to Montgomery. The Edmund Pettus Bridge is one of the most recognizable sites from the Civil Rights Movement, so it was pretty neat to get to see it in person and walk across the bridge.
Downtown Selma has a strip of interesting (and decaying) historic buildings. To give you an idea of how small the city is, finding an ATM was fairly difficult. I went to two gas stations; neither of them had one. I then went to a Wachovia; still no dice despite it being a bank! I asked someone at a drug store if they knew where an ATM was; they had never heard of an ATM. After 15 minutes of wandering I finally found one in some obscure southern bank.

Near the downtown area there is a fairly large neighborhood composed of historic southern homes (many date back the middle of the 19th century). Many of the homes have been fully restored, so I had a good time walking around looking at them. I have to say, I think ceiling fans on porches are very cool. According to Wiki, "Selma boasts the state's largest historic district, over 1,250 structures."

I stopped in the Sturdivant Hall House Museum, which is supposed to be the most impressive of all the historic Selma homes -- I believe it. The interior was huge and ornate. You cannot see it from the picture below, but the backside of the house is a network of stairways. This was done so that the slaves (the tour guide couldn't bring herself to use that word and called them "servants") could access any room in the house without having to walk through the house. So the bedrooms all have decks with staircases for this purpose. And the kitchen is in a small building next to the house -- again, this was a way to keep the slaves out of the house. I thought that was interesting.

I also went the National Voting Rights Museum. All it is, is an in-depth look at the events leading up to Blood Sunday. With a name like that I was expecting more, but it was still worthy of my time.

Overall, good trip.

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