Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Moment in Time

So my Dad is BIG on road trips. He lives in Texas, but will never fly here to his hometown in Chicago. Not for Thanksgiving, Christmas, my birthday….he will drive any and everywhere. He had been looking for ways to spice up our family road trips, and our most recent trip I’d have to say he seriously out did himself!

We were on our way from Texas (I flew down to visit) to Chicago, and we decided to take a detour through Memphis, TN to check out the National Civil Rights Museum. Up until this moment I had never heard of the museum, and we were traveling with my little brothers, and let’s face it…kids and a history museum? I wasn’t feeling it. But when I say this was probably the most memorable visit in my life up until now, it really was.

From the moment we stepped into the museum, which just so happens to be the famous Lorraine Motel where Dr. King spent his last few moments, it was breathtaking. Everything in the museum was donated and passed down through generations, all on showcase for our viewing. The museum went in chronological order of the Civil Rights movement, starting from the Trans-Atlantic slave trade…up until Dr. Kings final moments of life. I took tons of pictures, but here are a few from our trip. I made them all B&W, just because this was literally a step back into time, and you truly have to visit this museum, to capture the beauty and essence that I did.

  The NCRM captured moments in history like the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person. What I liked most about this part of the exhibit, they showcased all of the other men and women who refused to give up their seats, and their stories. I'll be honest, I knew Rosa couldn't have been the only one to contribute to strides such as this, but because of what I was taught in school, and on television, I had no idea there were other men and women that were just as important as Rosa.

 Sit-Ins. The museum did a phenomenal job making sure viewers captured the moment by placing life like statues in each exhibits that demonstrated these men and women of the movement in action!

 Bus Bombings. This picture is in black and white...but this bus just so happens to be an authentic bus that carried Freedom Riders, and was bombed. In person, the bus was in fact tarnished, burned, and literally falling apart. We were not able to touch the bus, and of course no flash photography. But to see this in person, was incredible. But to see the children, especially my little brothers, so intrigued by something was very real at one point in time...was life changing.

 My loves :) We were taking a quick break, and there was benches in one of the exhibits. I looked up and caught them just like this and had to get the pic :) 

 My Papa in front of one of the many life-like photos that were on the walls of the museum.
 Another wall photo, this one of the million man march.

 In different hallways, and in places where it was most discreet we were greeted with pictures like these. That had no caption, no story...just the picture. I appreciated moments like these the most at the museum, because it forced us to stop and really look at the moment that was captured in this picture. 

 If there is something that my Daddy did right during this entire trip ( other than bring us here) was capturing this picture. We did not stage this picture, we didn't purposely pose. We were holding hands walking up a ramp, and all stopped to look at this wall. My dad just so happened to be behind us with the camera, and took this great shot :)

 The man with the dream....

 Authentic Blank Panther wardrobe and paraphernalia. Gave new meaning to the black leather moto jackets I always wear lol! La-la loved this part of the exhibit. 

And then there was this moment...

 I captured my father in tears standing in front of Dr. Kings room where he sat, drank his coffee, and read the paper before stepping out on his balcony on April 4th 1968. Since the museum is located inside the Lorraine Motel, it was decided to keep the two rooms Dr. King occupied fully intact, encased in glass. It was surreal. Mahalia Jackson played softly in the background. Viewers of all races and backgrounds silently wept, touching the glass. Some resting their faces against it, I guess trying to be as close as possible to a moment that ultimately changed the Civil Rights course in history. 

 The museum closes with a trip across the street, to an additional smaller museum, that is said to believe where Dr. King's assassin took the shot. We did not visit that part of the museum. We were so incredible overwhelmed that we stood outside, and just took everything in.  

I thank my dad everyday for taking me to see this piece of history. I learned more here at this museum, than I did in my entire 25 years of life in school, movies, and so called "black history month". Which by the way, is a joke to me. It's more than a movie, and a Grammy nominated single, or a day to celebrate in class. It's history. It's my history. And I can really truly appreciate the place that I am in now. 
I have to be honest. I was feeling some type of way before our trip. Now that I'm getting older, I'm experiencing different people, and learning more about life, and let me tell you not everyone likes me. Not everyone thinks that I should be as blessed, and privileged as I am. But oh....if I didn't know where I came from. If I didn't learn in those two hours, that I deserve to do the great things that I do, I deserve to sit at the table with kings and queens, and to hold myself at that high standard, because so many people sacrificed everything for me to do just that.

So thank you Daddy....thank you Dr. King and everyone that was apart of the movement...thank you to those who never settle, who never stop, who will always have a dream. 

That's Black History

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