|Photography / Travel|
On the south side of Mobile, near the Gulf of Mexico, is the founder of Coca-Cola's 70-acre Bellingrath Gardens. They were nice,
but I was disappointed not to find any coca plants hidden in the back.
I bought some film in Mobile and drove around the bay looking for the USS Alabama which was supposedly there, but I couldn't find it. However, I did finally learn the origins of Tom Petty's cryptically-titled album, Damn the Torpedos. In 1864 in Mobile Bay, Confederate troops sunk the Union battleship Tecumseh with torpedos and the Union commander yelled "Damn the torpedos! Full speed ahead!" and the Union army pushed on, forcing the Confederates to surrender.
I found out later that my grandfather was awarded his Air Force wings in Mobile on May 18th, 1940- almost 51 years earlier to the day. The coincidence is a little spooky considering he was British and fought in WWII for the RAF (he was only trained in the US).
Montgomery doesn't seem to attract many tourists. This may be because there's not much to do there if you're just visiting and don't know
the city well. When my swamp tour guide in N.O.'s asked me where the next stop on my trip was, he laughed when I told him. "Montgomery?", he
said, "what's there?" True, it's not a city that boasts all-night street parties, 650-foot feats of engineering, or any sacred grounds to
rock and roll (that I know of). But its place in 20th century American history is unparalleled, having been the city that started the
Civil Rights Movement. (If Tennessee changes their state motto to the 'parallelogram state', perhaps neighbouring Alabama should consider
'the unparalleled state'?..)
(Photo is the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where MLK first preached and many of the Montgomery boycotts were arranged. On the right is the Civil Rights Memorial a couple of blocks away.)
|A few years later, I read Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail and saw the quote that appears on the memorial in Montgomery, "[Let] justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream". In the letter, he correctly attributed the quote to Amos (Amos 5:24 from the Bible). In the memorial, though, the quote is incorrectly attributed to him. The most famous instance of the quote was from his "I Have a Dream" speech a few months after the letter was written.|
The very southern tip of the Appalachian Mountains lies between Montgomery and Atlanta. But don't assume that means they fade into the flat lands
without a fight! The green hills that I hadn't seen since West Virginia reappeared on my way to Georgia's Providence Canyon,
which is a couple hours' drive south of Atlanta.
The CNN headquarters seemed to be the popular place for Atlantites who worked nearby to eat lunch. On a tour of the studios, you can see
the live filming of the network's 24-hour news channel, but unfortunately, photographs are not allowed.
The state capitol, with its gold roof.