Southern Culture Tour, Day 4: Brian King

The Junior Fellows’ Southern Culture Tour made its way through Georgia and Alabama, heading back west for the second half of the trip. Leaving Savannah, Georgia, we traveled to Macon, Georgia and stopped at Market City Cafe to sit down for a light breakfast. At least it was supposed to be a light breakfast.  Taylor and I ordered the fudge cake, which was 1/8th of a three-layer chocolate cake with rich chocolate icing.

Cake “Slice” from Market City Cafe–Recommended

Cappuccinos, coffee, scones, and a variety of cookies were enjoyed by us all. In Macon, we were able to see the monument of Otis Redding Jr., a soul singer known for songs such as “Try a Little Tenderness,” “These Arms of Mine,” and of course “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay“; Redding Jr. is also known as the “King of Soul”.

Junior Fellows, “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” with Otis Redding

After enjoying some downtime in Macon, Georgia, the Junior Fellows stopped at DeKalb Market in Decatur, Georgia for lunch. I liked the market’s atmosphere, even though it was very crowded, as well as their fruit and seafood collection. The Junior Fellows spent the majority of our time at the DeKalb Farmers Market searching for peaches, mainly due to the fact that we were in Georgia; however, we fell short of obtaining the peaches. On the other hand, we all tried various chocolate-covered treats such as almonds and cherries, and coffee-flavored treats.

In Atlanta, Georgia, our first stop was at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. This was my second time visiting a presidential library (next to former president Bill Clinton’s Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas). In the Carter library, there were many visuals and documents that chronologically aligned Carter’s rise to presidency, his miscues, as well as his overwhelming amount of humanitarianism.

Annel Gonzalez and Brian King at the Carter Presidential Library

Behind the library, the skyline of downtown Atlanta rests in the distance behind the garden area of the presidential library. The trees behind the library were beautiful, emitting different shades of yellow, orange, and red which allowed us to take wonderful photos, such as the one below of Annel Gonzalez.

Annel Gonzalez on a Perfect Fall Day

We also visited the Margaret Mitchell (author of “Gone With the Wind” novel) home located near downtown Atlanta. I found it most interesting  to see Margaret Mitchell’s typewriter and desk where  she typed her manuscript for “Gone With the Wind.”

Margaret Mitchell’s Typewriter

The inside of Mitchell’s studio apartment was really nice. The Junior Fellows would have loved to take awesome pictures inside her home, however photography was not allowed inside her studio apartment. For a quick photo op, we stopped and took some pictures at the grave of Martin Luther King, Jr., including his wife, Coretta Scott King, who is buried next to him in Atlanta.

Junior Fellows at MLK’s Grave

Birmingham, Alabama was one of my favorite stops on the Junior Fellows’ Southern Culture Tour. We visited The Fish Market in Birmingham, located in what used to be a warehouse. I ordered fried tilapia with steamed broccoli and fried okra, which was very delicious, and also tried grilled tilapia and fried snapper. I really loved the atmosphere of the restaurant, combining casual diner with a sports-bar ambiance; the lighting in the restaurant was low, invoking a warm and casual feel.

The Vulcan Statue (the largest cast iron statue in the world at 56 feet) was a nice visit, providing a breath-taking view over Birmingham, Alabama.

Brian King Overlooking Birmingham

Even though the museum was closed when we visited, I told the security guard about our travels around the south and he offered to allow us to go and check out the museum for free. I really appreciate Mr. Scott’s generosity, therefore, all of us could go and learn more about the history of the Vulcan Statue, as well as the history of Birmingham, Alabama.

I would have to say one of my favorite moments on the trip would consist of the visit to Kelly Ingram Park in downtown Birmingham, located at 16th Street and 17th Street. Across the corner from Kelly Ingram Park is where the 16th Street Baptist Church resides; in 1963, this church was bombed by two individuals and took the lives of four innocent little girls. The park embodied the majority of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama by different statues erected in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, and other notable figures of the movement. Kelly Ingram Park also includes a “Freedom Walk”, which brings the visitor to a close-up portrayal of the confrontations between Blacks and Birmingham Police in the early 60s, including the memorable “racist dogs” sculpture, giving visitors the feeling of what it’s like to be attacked by dogs.

Although the images were disturbing, it was all part of a long day of learning about the south, its highs…

Birmingham At Night

…and its lows…

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