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December 15, 2022 / Jim Fenton

Civil Rights Journey Day 10: Montgomery to Home

Thursday, October 27, 2022

With the other members of our group having already departed, we joined our friends Liz and Peter to explore a few more places in Montgomery. We started our day at the Civil Rights Memorial Center, part of the Southern Poverty Law Center headquarters. The Memorial Center wasn’t large, but had some excellent multimedia presentations on the civil rights struggle, both historical and ongoing.

From there we walked over to the former Greyhound bus station associated with the Freedom Riders. The station is now a small museum, the Freedom Rides Museum, and has signs on the outside with a detailed history. While there, a Black woman drove up to take some video of the bus station and we had a somewhat surprising conversation with her. She was not entirely pleased with the placement of all of the civil rights museums and displays in Montgomery — she thought that the Black community needed to strengthen themselves and didn’t need to be constantly reminded of their struggles.

Freedom Rides Museum

From there we walked to the Rosa Parks Museum a few blocks away. The museum tour consisted of a couple of multimedia presentations describing the background and events of the day she refused to give up her seat on a city bus, which gave us a much more detailed understanding of the events of that day and the questionable legality of her arrest. This was followed by a short self-guided tour of artifacts relating to the tension between the Black community and the police.

It was then about time to make our way to the airport for our flights home. We returned to our hotel to retrieve our bags and got a Lyft ride to the airport. The Montgomery Regional Airport is a fairly small airport consisting of about five gates located only about 15 minutes from downtown. TSA inspection was quick and we had a small lunch in the airport’s one restaurant. Co-located with the airport is an Alabama Air National Guard base, which surprised us as several pairs of fighter planes — F-16s I think — took off with considerable noise and speed.


This article is the final installment in a series about our recent travels to the US South. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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