Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Churches of Selma

Music as the engine of a movement?

My friend and I experienced sweat and goosebumps close together, on a hot Alabama July day.

Don't worry it wasn't the flu, it was the civil rights movement, and a resulting providential meeting many years later in 2012.

We were touring Selma last summer, after reading the book Marching for Freedom, by Elizabeth Partridge.

I learned two things from reading that book. One, I honestly didn't realize that white people were involved in the civil rights movement. Also, I'd never heard about the prominent role of music in the whole thing.

From the Author's Website:

Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary tells the unsettling but uplifting story of the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965, using the voices of men and women who participated as children and teenagers... Italicized lyrics to “freedom songs” are woven throughout, emphasizing the power drawn from music. Powerful duotone photographs, which range from disturbing to triumphal, showcase the determination of these civil rights pioneers. Publishers Weekly, starred review

Other reviewers comment on the extraordinary selection of photographs, and how they especially complement the text. After checking out photographers' archives and other research, and traveling to Selma to interview people who had been children and in their teens at the time they participated, the author says that when she found out what she did she wanted to "jump up on my roof and yell: have you heard about this?"

People think the civil rights movement is because of Gandhi. He gave Martin Luther King the idea of non-violent resistance, and the whole thing happened. That's not quite so.

Gandhi and King met at a strategic time certainly -- when the movement for civil rights was at a certain point. The ideas and inspiration that came from their meeting is undeniable, but Gandhi wasn't responsible for the whole thing.

Research and read King's own words and life, and you'll see that inspiration came from elsewhere. I'm not trying to convince anyone of this. It happened or it didn't. The information can be checked out. "But it's a matter of interpretation," one might say. But is it? Is history a matter of interpretation? Sure, we all bring our lens of life-perspective to history; but purposely, it can be and needs to be studied with alacrity, to define and find out what really happened. And yes, this is possible. Because it happened, and in a certain way.

King was inspired and led by God. I think in utter fact, that God of course led him to Gandhi. Their meeting was perfectly timed and propitious.

But that meeting was only one bead in a long string.

***

Why do we hesitate to give God credit for the civil rights movement? 

* Because we can't see God?

* Because if we do, it doesn't feel right because we (people) don't get (enough) credit and so then how are we important at all -- we human beings?

* Because we don't believe in God? So if we don't, then we can't acknowledge or give credit to something that doesn't exist (in our opinion).

We have wrong assumptions and understanding about our partnership with God. We think that if we give God credit, then we're worse than nothing. We (or others) get no credit and are invisible. Whereas, if our understanding of God involves that God is Love -- then it all begins to make more sense. Just as we'd be inspired by something that a friend says, that helps and guides us -- because it's true, and because we know they care for us. This is the kind of thing I'm talking about.

***

So, back to Selma.

For different reasons, for my friend and I this trip made sense and we were both excited about it.

Our arrival into Selma was less than impressive.

We stopped first at a gas station after dark, where bars on the windows and a fiberglass box completely surrounding the cashier, did not put our minds at ease. There was a little slot cut in the fiberglass where money could change hands. Standing in line with my chocolate bar, in front of me was a young boy buying a handful of candy from several plastic bins set out near the counter. This made me feel a little bit better.

The next morning, after finding a brochure in the hotel about the "Churches of Selma" we set out exploring.

At a certain time in its past, the city was prosperous. Building materials were brought in by boat to complete an impressive number of architecturally beautiful churches. We drove around in our minivan, working our way through the brochure and taking pictures.

The first church we visited was sadly in disrepair:


Photo by Ginger Davis

Photo by Ginger Davis

But each one was different from the next, with their own unique and beautiful architectural elements.


Photo by Ginger Davis
We walked down one street where two large edifices stood opposite one another. Pointing our cameras often at the sky, to capture the steeples, or at the ground because of some fascinating green stone steps, we criss-crossed and wiped the sweat. We kept trying doors, just in case. Just in case one would open, and we could get a peek inside. Politely and respectfully of course. We could see the stained glass from the outside, we could see the suggestion of the shapes of the rooms, we knew the history of the place and would've so loved to have been able to go in. 



As we met up to determine our next move, walking briskly along the sidewalk came a trim, petite lady with short white hair, listening to a portable CD player. I think my friend with her friendly face must've caught Sarah's eye (as we came to know her name). Before we knew it, we were all chatting about why we were in town, the Marching for Freedom book, the connection between music and God and the civil rights movement -- and then Sarah invited us in. 

She was the organist for the Presbyterian church we were standing in front of. We felt so thankful. The heat, the travel to get there, the locked doors up until that point. So she unlocked, and led us into the cool sanctuary. While we were glancing around appreciatively, she thought of her other organist friend who might be across the street practicing at the Episcopal church. She gave him a quick call and he was there. He was there, and willing to let us in to see that building as well. But briefly because he had to leave for a doctor's appointment.

So we hustled down and met Mr. Quentin Lane -- who it turns out played for Dr. King and the others, during the civil rights movement. 
We were speechless for a minute - standing awed and looking around the sanctuary - dim compared to the outside, and blessedly cold. Glowing stained glass curved around the walls of the central room. Pews stretched out in a semi-circle from where we stood at the front. 




Hoping that Mr. Lane was still practicing, I asked if we could hear him play. He gracefully obliged, quickly changed his shoes (I didn't know organist's did this, it's so they can feel the pedals) and began. 



I told a friend later, "I thought all the atoms in my body would sink through the floor." 

Let me say at this point, I hadn't previously gotten into organ music. In my experience, I thought it sounded sort of fuzzy to me, and too loud.

Not this. 

Maybe it was the parts of songs he chose, maybe it was the particular musician, maybe it was the effect of the environment. 

Maybe it was our focus on the price, the cost of the marching ... the faithfulness and guidance of God ... to freedom. 

Because that's exactly what I've personally experienced: knowing, unequivocally and outside of myself, that God cares for and loves me, that he paid the price to set me free -- and that gives courage. There's nothing to lose, and love to share and souls to gain. Yes, it's politically incorrect, but I'm going to say it: Souls to Gain. 

"How dare you say to someone that their soul is lost?!" Well isn't it? Mine was.

I didn't know who I was, how I mattered, what my purpose was. And that wasn't because of bad parents either. 

It was because as a created being, I needed to know my Creator. I needed to know that I mattered because I was created by a loving One. 

Use the Parent analogy if need be. Each person is precious, but we don't realize that fully unless we know the One who is so much bigger than us, who knows that we are precious.

This all ties in with the courage, resolve and almost insane fortitude that was required of those walking, step-by-step from Selma to Montgomery during that time in 1965.

Many of those people, if not most, knew their worth in Christ, as we say. This deep, thorough knowledge counteracted the taunts, the insults, the physical violence. It was the only thing that could.

The civil rights movement wasn't a protest movement. Because one can't protest something, and expect someone else to be convinced of anything. People thought color of skin meant some things it didn't. It wasn't like people knew what they were doing was wrong, and needed someone to wave a placard in their face and they'd change their mind. 

Instead, it was a demonstration of the truth. Quietly singing. Walking, to bring attention. There was enough violence and anger already. More of that wasn't needed or powerful. Yes, anger at injustice is different. I imagine how hard it would've been, to resist wanting to beat up on someone who was beating up on yourself, your friend, sister, mother, father, neighbor. How EASY to hate them, to want to kill them, to feel the anger surge up and give you energy to harm.

How do you explain someone in this environment, being able to keep calmly walking, or even wanting to?!

A different perspective, and a different Spirit.

So, Quentin played a bit of an Easter song, a bit of [something else], and then a few bars of "We Shall Overcome."



I'd never heard that music before.

I'd heard of it, and vaguely but certainly (the way those things happen in your mind without you realizing), thought it was march music. Something along the lines of "Onward, Christian Soldier" (Marching as to War).

Nope.

It flows and surges. Like a deep, strong river. Ineffable, inexorable as huge volumes of water.

This.

This - was where the strength came from. The wisdom, the patience.

"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, [clear and] bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb..." (Revelation 22.1 ESV)

Photo by Ginger Davis

When asked about experiencing that time, Mr. Lane said something to the effect that it was part of a whole. A few days in the context of a year, and then the many following years. There were defining moments in those few days, certainly, but it wasn't everything. Growing up in Selma and now living back there, he mentioned that he's always had friends from different backgrounds. Also in the music world, art and vocation unify. A woman who wanted to help in some way, after seeing the shocking, sad collection of incidents on Bloody Sunday, eventually paid for Mr. Lane's music school tuition.


Photo by Ginger Davis

Opening a wide, low, hobbit-like door, we left from a small hall behind the floor-to-ceiling organ.

Deeply thankful and appreciative.

Read more about Mr. Lane's life here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fandangle - Albany, Texas

If the name "Fandangle" doesn't already stir your imagination, then you should probably stay home from this whip-crackin', bronco-gallopin', cowboy singin', historical extravaganza.

On our way in, we got to hear Louann tooting away on the Calliope, a sort of steam-whistle organ (we got there early specifically for this, at the website's recommendation). A large, red, wooden instrument, the calliope is set up outside in a spot between the parking lot and the outdoor amphitheater.


Albany is a small city, with a population of around 2,000 not including horses - and every single thing and person about this production is from the town. While people were being seated the "stars at night, are big and bright" song played, and I happened to be videotaping when many in the audience did the appropriate clapping almost reflexively -- **** "Deep in the heart ... of Texas."


The bulletin provided stated, "The Fort Griffin FANDANGLE ... is theatrical history written, directed, lighted, costumed, sung and danced by Albany people."

Parts included actors playing roles like, "Tall Grass" and "Prairie Schooner." Songs ran the gamut from "Drunk & Disorderly" to "Croonin' in June."

The newspaper-style program also had this quote across the top, "Other states were made or born -- Texas grew from hide and horn." Adapted from the poem "Cattle" by Berta Hart Nance.



The longhorns were awe-inspiring. guest starring as an ensemble. They trotted in and stopped within a startlingly few feet of the crowd, with their curved, sharp horns just a few feet from the front row of folding chairs. The herders stayed tight around them in a semi-circle, and the cattle remained still, seemingly cowed.

At one point in the show, featuring "The Buffalo" several barefoot children dressed as animals of the plains (as in, "scores of prairie dogs") ran across the grass stage. I noticed the 'Eagle' and the 'Possum' couldn't see well to run, unless they held up the large, stuffed heads of their costumes with one free hand. Then they performed beautifully.

All participants seemed well-rehearsed and there were some with very good singing voices.

Definitely a humorous element was a part of this production as well. Sample words from one song:

A cowboy ain't no hero / In life he is... Zero! / Ain't it sad?!

The actors on horseback were my favorite. It was very obviously not their first time on a horse. Several raced across the stage, criss-crossing close to one another. It was impressive. They were going fast and smoothly in a relatively small space.

Locally homemade ice cream is available for sale onsite. As well, you can buy cushions for $1 each, benefitting the local high school. The folks below contributed a bit more to the cause, indicating that it was not their first Fandangle, I don't think. We will do the same next time.



Fun to be had.

Next year is the 75th anniversary of the performance, and we hear it's going to be big.

We are a people's theater, a dramatic interpretation of ourselves on our home ground. If we please those who come to see us, we are deeply gratified. Yet we keep remembering that the show grew out of us and is principally for us.

Robert E. Nail, original writer & director
[Quoted in the show program]

(We didn't get to see the entire show, having to leave early.)


"Cattle"

Other states were carved or born,

Texas grew from hide and horn.




Other states are long or wide,

Texas is a shaggy hide.




Dripping blood and crumpled hair;

Some gory giant flung it there,




Laid the head where valleys drain,

Stretched its rump along the plain.




Other soil is full of stones,

Texas plow up cattle-bones.




Herds are buried on the trail

Underneath the powdered shale;




Herds that stiffened like the snow,

Where the icy northers go.




Other states have built their halls,

Humming tunes along the walls.




Texans watched the mortar stirred,

While they kept the lowing herd.




Stamped on Texan wall and roof

Gleams the sharp and crescent hoof.




High above the hum and stir

Jingle bridle rein and spur.




Other states were made or born,

Texas grew from hide and horn.
Berta Hart Nance from The Road to Texas, 1940
[From the Fort Griffin Fandangle program, 2012]

Atlanta - Ebenezer Baptist Church




"New" Ebenezer Baptist Church - follow the fenceline

Ebenezer Baptist Church, down the street from M.L.K.'s birth home

I'd never seen a light-up cross in a church sanctuary before, but this one didn't impress me as garish instead seeming to match the rest of the dignified architecture of its surroundings - maybe fitting as well. because of the history of the place. Martin Luther King Jr.'s voice was playing into the space on a recording.

The words below, an excerpt from one of his sermons, reveal a few different things. For one, they show an incredibly intelligent and educated man. To be perfectly honest, I didn't know this. Until recently I thought Martin Luther King, Jr. was a charismatic man; a symbol, maybe an object of people’s worship; a convincing person; a tragic figure. This sermon and others of his however, reveal a deep, abiding revelationary, personal relationship with God. They also show that he was brilliant and extremely educated. In terms of what civil rights demonstrators had to face at that time, these words offer clues as to where they got their strength and determination.

It wasn’t from a quaint, emotionalism-heavy “Black church” experience. It wasn’t pumping one another up to go out and, "fight to win." It was calm wisdom and powerful truth, enabling them to put one foot in front of the other down an ordinary street, for miles. Knowing fully that they might die, be spit on, injured, or maimed, for walking. Knowing that they would not defend themselves.

They weren't protesting, the way we think of it now. They weren't taking a political stand one side or another, risking being derided or insulted for their opinions. They weren't shouting. Dignified, they were marching for voting rights, or sitting at a counter simply to be served. With each step, they were establishing and declaring their personhood. Their value. 

They weren’t self-righteous, full of hateful anger or revenge – those would’ve been counter-productive.

[Note: yes, these were ordinary people and I know they felt fear, anger, everything, but their behavior demonstrated restrained courage.]

In the sermon below, Martin Luther King, Junior mentions Highway 80 and alludes to the march from Selma to Montgomery.

Titled “Unfulfilled Dreams," [an excerpt] it was preached back at Ebenezer Baptist, his growing-up church down the street from the house where he grew up, a month before he was killed: 

(I love that the text includes the verbal responses from the congregation, an integral part of the message.)

[From the book, “A Knock at Midnight,” edited by Clayborne Carson & Peter Holloran.]

So many of us in life start out building temples: temples of character, temples of justice, temples of peace. And so often we don’t finish them. Because life is like Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony.” At so many points we start, we try, we set out to build our various temples. And I guess one of the great agonies of life is that we are constantly trying to finish that which is unfinishable. We are commanded to do that. And so we, like David, find ourselves in so many instances having to face the fact that our dreams are not fulfilled …

And each of you this morning in some way is building some kind of temple. The struggle is always there. It gets discouraging sometimes. It gets very disenchanting sometimes. Some of us are trying to build a temple of peace. We speak out against war, we protest but it seems that your head is going against a concrete wall. It seems to mean nothing. (Glory to God) And so often as you set out to build the temple of peace you are left lonesome; you are left discouraged; you are left bewildered.

Well, that is the story of life…

Now, let me bring out another point. Whenever you set out to build a creative temple, whatever it may be, you must face the fact that there is a tension at the heart of the universe between good and evil. It’s there: a tension at the heart of the universe between good and evil. (Yes, sir) Hinduism refers to this as a struggle between illusion and reality. Platonic philosophy used to refer to it as a tension between the body and soul. Zoroastrianism, a religion of old, used to refer to it as tension between the god of light and the god of darkness. Traditional Judaism and Christianity refer to it as a tension between God and Satan. Whatever you call it, there is a struggle in the universe between good and evil…

But you know some of us feel that it’s a tension between God and man. And in every one of us this morning, there’s a war going on. (Yes, sir) It’s a civil war. (Yes, sir) I don’t care who you are, I don’t care where you live, there is a civil war going on in your life. (Yes it is) And every time you set out to be good, there’s something pulling on you, telling you to be evil. It’s going on in your life. (Preach it) Every time you set out to love, something keeps pulling on you, trying to get you to hate. (Yes, Yes, sir) Every time you set out to be kind and say nice things about people, something is pulling on you to be jealous and envious and to spread evil gossip about them. (Yes. Preach it.) There’s a civil war going on. There is a schizophrenia, as the psychologists or the psychiatrists would call it, going on within all of us. And there are times that all of us know somehow that there is a Mr. Hyde and a Dr. Jekyll in us. And we end up having to cry out with Ovid, the Latin poet, “I see and approve the better things in life, but the evil things I do.” We end up having to agree with Plato that the human personality is like a charioteer with two strong horses, each wanting to go in different directions. Or sometimes we even have to end up crying out with Saint Augustine as he said in his Confessions, “Lord, make me pure, but not yet.” (Amen) We end up crying out with the Apostle Paul, (Preach it) “The good that I would I do not: And the evil that I would not, that I do.” Or we end up having to say with Goethe that “there’s enough stuff in me tomake both a gentleman and a rogue.” (All right. Amen) There’s a tension at the heart of human nature. (Oh yeah) And whenever we set out to dream our dreams and to build our temples, we must be honest enough to recognize it.

And this brings me to the basic point of the text (the eighth chapter of First Kings). In the final analysis, God does not judge us by the separate incidents or the separate mistakes that we make, but by the total bent of our lives. In the final analysis, God knows (Yes) that his children are weak and they are frail. (Yes, he does) In the final analysis, what God requires is that your heart is right. (Amen. Yes) Salvation isn’t reaching the destination of absolute morality, but it’s being in the process and on the right road. (Yes)
           
There’s a highway called Highway 80. I’ve marched on that highway from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery. But I will never forget my first experience with Highway 80 was driving … to California.

… Salvation is being on the right road, not having reached a destination.
           
… Now, the terrible thing in life is to be trying to get to Los Angeles on Highway 78. That’s when you are lost. (Yes) That sheep was lost, not merely because he was doing something wrong in that parable, but he was on the wrong road. (Yes) And he didn’t even know where he was going; he became so involved in what he was doing, nibbling sweet grass, (Make it plain) that he got on the wrong road. (Amen)

And the question I want to raise this morning with you: Is your heart right? (Yes. Preach) If your heart isn’t right, fix it up today; get God to fix it up. (Go ahead) … And I can hear a voice saying, crying out through the eternities, “I accept you. (Preach it) You are a recipient of my grace because it was in your heart.

… I don’t know this morning about you, but I can make a testimony. (Yes, sir. That’s my life) you don’t need to go out this morning saying that Martin Luther King is a saint. Oh, no. (Yes) I want you to know this morning that I’m a sinner like all of God’s children.

… It will be dark sometimes, and it will be dismal and trying, and tribulations will come. But if you have faith in the God that I’m talking about this morning, it doesn’t matter. (Yes) I’ve felt sin-breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul. But I heard the voice of Jesus, saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, (Yes, sir) never to leave me alone. (Thank you, Jesus) No, never alone. No, never alone. He promised never to leave me. Never to leave me alone. (Glory to God)

And when you get this faith, you can walk with your feet solid to the ground and your head to the air, and you fear no man. (Go ahead) And you fear nothing that comes before you. (Yes, sir) Because you know that God is even in Crete. (Amen) If you ascend to the heavens, God is there. If you descend to hell, God is even there. If you take the wings of the morning and fly out to the uttermost parts of the sea, even God is there. Everywhere we turn we find him. We can never escape him.

Delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, 3 March 1968

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Children's Art & Literary Festival - First Annual, Featuring Dr. Seuss

Fans meet "the Lorax," after a multimedia reading of the book
Tentative fans approach after hearing the story
Horton sculpture at the Main library branch
Dr. Seuss-themed headgear after a C.A.L.F. event


Visiting the first annual Children's Art & Literary Festival, a friend and I began at the "nickel" (National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature) to view an exhibit of original rough sketches, preliminary crayon drawings, and final pen-and-ink line art for the book The Lorax, by Theodor ("Ted") Seuss Geisel a.k.a. Dr. Seuss. The accompanying brochure mentions Geisel quoted in Parenting magazine in 1987 saying about The Lorax, "It's one of the few things I ever set out to do that was straight propaganda...it was the hardest thing I have ever done..." It also tells about how he made a trip to Africa to find inspiration for the characters and landscape in the book. The look of the Umbrella Thorn Acacia Tree inspired the "truffula trees."
Acacia tortilis, (Umbrella Thorn Acacia Tree), Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
http://goafrica.about.com/od/tanzaniaparksandreserves/ig/Serengeti-National-Park/Acacia-tortilis---Umbrella-Thorn-Acacia-Tree--.htm

http://www.upatreeseuss.blogspot.com/
My favorite things about Dr. Seuss books are the words he makes up, the rhyme, and the humor. See all these in the below quotes from The Lorax:

"I'm being quite useful. This thing is a Thneed.
A Thneed's a Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need!"

Oh! Baby! Oh!
How my business did grow!
Now, chopping one tree
at a time was too slow.
So I quickly invented my Super-Axe-Hacker
which whacked off four Tuffula Trees at one smacker.
We were making Thneeds
four times as fast as before!
And that Lorax?...
He didn't show up anymore.

http://quotes.livejournal.com/4819497.html

I am the Lorax! I speak for the trees,
Which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please;
But I also speak for the
brown Barbaloots,
Who frolicked and played in their Barbaloot suits,
Happily eating Truffula
fruits.
Now, since you've chopped the trees to the ground
There's not enough Truffula fruit to go 'round!
And my poor Barbaloots are all feeling the crummies
Because they have gas, and no food, in their tummies.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Dr._Seuss


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Atlanta - Porches






These photos are mostly of homes along Auburn Avenue. Called "Sweet Auburn" because of it's historic significance: commercial and social success of those who were forced to live there before civil rights. It was a vibrant, supportive community.

These homes are glorious examples of the whole wonderful "porch concept!" I know porches in the South were for cooling off before air conditioning, but they are so very social and I love them and the idea of them.

One can sit out there and read and rock ... or talk and snap beans. Waving to whomever is walking by, or stopping for a chat or some lemonade.

From what the National Park Service Ranger said on the tour of M.L. King's house, in the Auburn neighborhood families were constantly interacting. People tending backyard gardens, kids playing in the street or on the grass throughout the neighborhood. People walking back and forth along Auburn Avenue to visit or borrow or lend things like sugar.

Another interesting thing: all classes were mixed, because of segregation. A curse - followed by an unexpected blessing. The way the streets and blocks are laid out lends itself to enjoying one's neighbors. The roads wind and the houses are relatively close together - but not packed.

It's informative to think about Martin Luther, Jr. growing up in such a community. With extended family very much contributing to his everyday life. Which very much centered around the church.

I wonder how early experience of this kind of solidarity, not to mention being steeped in the words of the Bible - evidently the children prepared memorized verses to recite at the dinner table, and they were preacher's kids, preacher's grandkids and preacher's great-grandkids, after all - affected his outlook on the civil rights war a few short years later.

There was also a story (evidently told by his older sister who is still alive and  in her 80's) about M.L. launching himself off the upstairs porch while playing Superman ... more than once.

Picturing him living in the neighborhood as a young, mischievous (normal) boy was enlightening.

See the King home here.

Atlanta - MLK Birthplace & Memorial


The "walking" exhibit

"Walkers" looking out on the Rose Garden


The drinking fountains at the Visitor's Center
Folks sitting next to the reflecting pool

Notice how the reflecting pool looks flat but is stair-stepped.



House where M.L. King and his father were both born. He lived here with immediate and extended family members until he was twelve years old.

Tours of the house are free but one has to get a ticket at the Visitor's Center down the street - it's the building behind the fountain and reflecting pool.

I signed up for a 2 o'clock ticket which I walk-in reserved at 1:00 - and was told to come back and pick up at 1:30. Uh-huh. So I did it.

There is another, newer Visitor's Center across and further down the street - where the drinking fountains work. It's more updated and has an interactive museum with modern exhibits and a film featuring children.

The older Visitor's Center section (where you get the tour tickets) has a few rooms with things like a pair of Gandhi's sandals in a case.

An eternal flame burns across from the tomb where Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King are buried. The tomb sits on an island in the water.

The old Ebenezer Baptist Church is open to walk right in. I'm not sure if the cross and the stained glass window at the front were there since it's beginning, but they're a rather touching combination. I would've thought - to be honest - that I wouldn't have liked either of these. An electric cross? And a modern stained glass window of Jesus? Usually I like more impressionistic things, I guess. But they're thought-provoking as worship emblems set before real congregants in this historic church.

The new Ebenezer Baptist Church building is opposite, and is an active church versus a museum.

I liked the exhibit inside the building across the street, with statues of people walking down an ordinary street with its dashed line painted down the middle. The figures are placed as if they are walking towards the light and freedom of a large plate-glass window which looks out onto the rose garden. I found the arrangement powerful. The simplicity of the walking. The earth-shaking meaning of that simple action at that time.

Atlanta - Inman Park

Converted warehouse - Loft offices/studios

Old lock-up box for paddy wagon pick up!

Porches galore


CHURCH (it's a bar!)
Such a cool, walkable vibe here.

We enjoyed Irwin Street Market around the corner from our B&B -- it's 3 or 4 (or more!) little stores in one: a bakery (homemade bagels) & coffee shop; a soup & sandwich shop; an ice cream/sorbet counter. All surrounded by ingeniously arranged couches and armchairs, with accents like old cupboards and a few pieces of funky china. Decor was great - a simple and eclectic combination of burlap and chintz, Victorian and cottage-y. Delicious hot chocolate and strawberry mojito sorbet.

There's Lotta Frutta where you can buy deluxe fruit cups and fresh, in-season smoothies.

Both locales have chairs and tables outside.

I took a guided city tour with ATL-Cruzers, after trying to find a similar kind of trolley (they no longer exist) or bus tour. This little 6-seater electric car was a fun option. With the plastic sides rolled up because of the nice weather, the views were perfect. Stephen our guide, had animated, informed city history and trivia to tell us during the ride.

The tour highlighted the Inman Park neighborhood. So several of these photos were taken en route.

The open car and driver invited waves and shouted conversations throughout the tour.

At one point a man also with some kind of electric sports car pulled up alongside us and exclaimed about our similar modes of transportation. His license plate : SHOCKING.

Stephen was good-natured and accomodating when I couldn't easily find the point of departure above the Underground Atlanta station downtown.

The reservations young woman had given me an emergency number in case I had trouble and so I was able to call and get help with directions.

After ... asking a man at a bus stop; then several people on the bus chipping in to try and help (I'm afraid it was a commotion, yes - my kids would have been mortified - I did not have exact change). Then the kind and friendly Rebecca (sp) -- thank you again, Rebecca! -- helped me onto the MARTA going the right way. That is, after I "tapped my (newly acquired) Breeze card."


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Comic Book Artist

Steve Rude "The Dude," famous comic book artist, listens as one of those present introduces themselves at a workshop/lecture coordinated by Mike Jones, Dean of the Art Department at Hardin-Simmons University.

Boots & Boot Pullers



Here's whatcha do: put your heel into the u-shaped groove of the puller, and then ease your foot out of the boot. You know, kind of like when you step on the back of one shoe with the other one, to help get it off. Nice, eh? "Saves your back." Who knew?

Check out all the designs and colors of the boots. Different kinds of leather, heights of the tops, shapes of the toes - I guess square is popular right now. Crosses are common icons for decoration.