We began our story yesterday. The family of Mother Goose traveled from northern Minnesota to Montgomery, Alabama in the autumn of 1960 to visit my uncle. Besides touring the obvious historical sites, they also paid their respects at the Oakwood cemetery where legendary country western singer Hank Williams had been laid to rest only seven years earlier.
People and places change over the years. Buildings age, monuments rust and molder. Trees grow, people die. Times change. Families change.
All of my dear family who went on this trip are gone now — Grandma and Uncle Fred, Mom and both of her brothers, Warnie and Geney…
Mr. Dylan taught us to sing “the times, they are a’changing…”
Montgomery, Alabama in 1960 was smack dab in the center of the civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King had been arrested and jailed earlier that year. Students at Alabama State College had followed his example of non-violent protest with a lunch counter sit-in. From our modern perspective, can we even begin to imagine a time when it was illegal for black people to eat at the same table as white people? Can we even remember 1960?
Montgomery was the scene of extreme violence in 1960. This famous photograph was taken by Charles Moore.
This final picture, taken by my mom with her Brownie camera, easily and horribly illustrates the community’s acceptance of the Ku Klux Klan in the capital city of Montgomery in 1960. Just like those welcome signs posted by the local Lions club, or the Rotary Club or the American Legion, just another civic organization…
Fortunately, some things change. God bless America.