Alabama

One of the pivotal moments of my youth was reading an article about the firebombing and beatings of a busload of black and white Freedom Riders in Anniston, Alabama. I was shocked by what had happened there, and it burned into my mind a negative image of the Deep South—particularly Alabama and Mississippi. They seemed like evil and dangerous places to which I would never, ever go. Later, through listening to Delta Blues and the “Americana” music of The Band, I became fascinated with the mythology—both white and black—of the small Southern town. I considered it the richest mythology to have ever come out of America and they ended up making me want to see the place for myself. Around ten years ago I finally toured the “Blues” Delta in northern Mississippi. I had an interesting time. It was like visiting another country. One day, outside of Greenwood, which is very near Money, Mississippi, the place where the African-American teenage visitor from Chicago, Emmett Till, was tortured and murdered by local whites, I met a black man who’d moved there from New York City. That seemed a rather extraordinary thing to do. I guessed that the situation there must have changed a lot. I hadn’t been seeing any of the dangerous looking good old boys and wondered if they’d “died out.” He assured me they were still around, that all I had to do was look. After that I did start seeing them. I have no explanation as to why I wasn’t seeing them before. I feel them getting increasingly bold now. If Roy Moore is elected to the Senate, Alabama will once again be a place I deem too dangerous to visit or even pass through.

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4 Responses to “Alabama”

  1. stiegem Says:

    It seems there are still some places in the US that are “safe”. I get e-mails about them all the time: “The safest places to live in the US…”. Do cherry-cheeked conures discriminate against suns?

    I lost my maroon-bellied Thanksgiving day, one year ago. 19 years of true love. Still can’t get over it. Grief and loss. The human species appears to be getting worse in more ways than one. You say, “I have no explanation as to why I wasn’t seeing them before.”

    All of our eyes will be opened even more in the accelerating years to come. I’m not in Saline, and you’re not on Telegraph hill. We’re all on the Internet. But I knew you then.

    Thank you so much for this post. I moved me deeply.

  2. Lynn Duvall Says:

    Luckily for you, we elected Democratic senator Doug Jones. So, as a stereotypical good ole boy might say, “ Ya’ll come back now.” I assure you it’s safe.

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