I just can't fathom it | atlanta portrait photographer
Happy Wednesday! I hope you are having a fantastic day! My day is going pretty well. I can't complain...well, I guess I could complain but it's really not going to do any good, so I won't. Anyway, this past weekend I spent Saturday hanging out with one of my lovely sisters.
We had planned some time ago to visit the Center for Human and Civil Rights in downtown Atlanta. It was a ridiculously gorgeous day, even though it was a bit hot. Luckily we didn't have to walk too far from where we parked and the facility had air conditioning.
When we approached the building, we noticed this beautiful structure. It's quite captivating, don't you think?
Of course, I had to snap a quick picture of it. My sister took a picture of me sitting on the bench but I made her hurry because that bench was hot! Talking about hot buns! Anyway, after realizing that we were trying to enter through the wrong door, we made our way to the correct entrance. Everyone there was very nice and relaxed. There was even a family reunion that had come on a rather large passenger bus to take in the center. Prior to entering the center, I knew I would be exposed to information and sights that were familiar to me, but I didn't think about how all of this would make me feel.
The center has three floors. The first floor is dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. His papers and correspondences made up the bulk of this room. This was the only room that no one was allowed to take pictures in. We took our time reading the documents and getting some insight on his thoughts. My sister nor I realized how much work he had done in and with Guana. That was something new for us.
Then we moved upstairs. After passing the gift shop (you knew there was a gift shop) we went into this area where we were confronted with two walls. One was labeled White and the other labeled Colored. These walls depicted life on both walls. Both walls were filled with happy people having fun. The only real difference, aside from the activities if you want to be specific, was the people in them. Then we moved on to another wall that listed laws that were enacted during the Jim Crow era and segregation in various southern states. If I remember correctly there were 4 or 5 categories, the last one being "Really?" because that one was usually the most ridiculous. The "Really?" law in Georgia, I believe, was being sentenced one to two years in prison for marrying someone who is not the same race as you. There were other ridiculous laws as well, but I'm sure you get the drift.
My sister and I then sat at a lunch counter to experience what it was like to participate in a lunch counter demonstration. We had to put our hands flat on the table. We wore headphones and then had to close our eyes. The audio was of people screaming and making violent threats. This one voice was so close that it made you feel the breath from his mouth. Then there was a simulation of our chairs being kicked as they yelled: "Get up!" It was definitely an experience. Also while on this floor we read about all of the names that are displayed around Atlanta on street signs like, Ivan Allen Jr., Ralph McGill and John Wesley Dobbs and on buildings like, Robert Woodruff. I must say that I learned a few things that day.
There was so much on this floor that I don't think I could do it justice trying to remember every little nugget. Just know that there were personal accounts on events, like the march on the Edmund Pettis bridge and what happened to the marchers that were arrested. There were so, so many images of the haunted past on full display. There's even a display to honor the four little girls who were murdered in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. As we walked through and read all of the stories of the many people who fought for equal rights, we were greeted with the recording of when Dr. King's assassination was broadcast over the radio and television. That was rather surreal.
Lastly was the third floor. There were movies of Dr. King's speeches and so much history to take in. It was all so interesting and unbelievable at the same time. I was feeling so many different emotions by the time we arrived here. When I first started I was in awe. Then my emotions went to sorrow and even despair. At times my sister and I laughed, but not because something was necessarily funny, but because it was difficult to believe. How ignorant many of these people were. But the last emotions I felt from viewing the final part of the exhibit were anger and incredulity. This particular part of the exhibit was of the bombing of the Freedom Riders' bus. There were separate pictures of the bus in various states of distress. Each image had a caption as to what had happened. I was angry when I read how they trapped the bus and started tearing it up with metal bars and other instruments. Then they threw a bomb on the bus, so everyone had to get off. When this happened, the riders were overtaken by this mob of people and beaten. The ambulances refused to take the riders to the hospital, so kind strangers ended up taking them. That part gave me a little hope. But what really made this all incredulous is that the mob went to the hospital to have the riders ejected. They said that if the riders weren't removed from the hospital, then they would burn it down. My mouth dropped to the floor when I read that. I shook my head and wondered how could anyone be so hateful as to want to destroy a hospital because there were people with a different skin color in that hospital? I was like, "Wow." I honestly cannot fathom having that much hate in my heart. That's the kind of hate that turns cancerous and infects others.
There is no room in this world for that kind of hate, but unfortunately it has found a way to exist. Some months ago I read this story where this black man was trying to save the life of this elderly white woman who had collapsed and her husband would rather she die than be helped by this man. Really? I just don't get it nor do I want to. I don't ever want to think or feel that about anyone. We are all on this earth for a reason and I really don't think it's to hate anyone. If you are in Atlanta, I would highly suggest you visit the Center for Human and Civil Rights. Wear comfortable shoes and a have an open mind. Take in all of the information and process it. Discuss it. I know this was a lot and if you stayed until the end, I truly appreciate that. After absorbing all of that history which conjured up all of these feelings, I had to find some way to release it and TA DA, this was it. The funny thing is later that night I watched the movie "Me Before You", which I thought was amusing. Not the movie, just the juxtaposition of what I had experienced earlier and the movie. Anyway, thanks again and I hope to see you all next week! Oh, before you go...please tell me if you've visited and what you thought of it.
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