Today marked day four of the Junior Fellows Southern Culture Tour.
The day began with a short stop at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market, just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Inside we found a massive space occupied by rows of fresh produce, aisles of nutritious sweets, and coolers of fresh seafood and other meats. It was a food lover’s delight. Unfortunately for us, the ride home was over a day away, so any food purchase with a short shelf life wouldn’t stand a chance. I personally picked up a bag of fresh cranberries, a favorite of mine that I figured won’t ruin on the way back.
Moving right along we drove further into Atlanta territory to The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. Here we had the chance to understand visually Carter’s presidency and life as a whole.
Carter’s foreign policy and peace efforts were primary accomplishments emphasized by the library, as well as his wife’s humanitarian efforts.
After our tour of the library itself, we took a stroll out back among the beautifully landscaped pond, trees, hills, and flowers and took some photographs.
From here we continued with the a sense of peacefulness to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s grave, a serene scene to say the least. A quaint fountain took up most of the area, with Dr. King’s grave resting above ground in the center. Families strolled beneath the colorful trees, and the utmost respect was paid to such a noble hero. The site was powerful yet simple.
To supplement such a great stop, we later journeyed to Freedom Park on 16th street in Birmingham, Alabama. Here stood a series of sculptures and statues commemorating the bold lives of the oppressed African Americans of the civil rights movement, particularly in Birmingham. I feel as though the spotlights upon the sculptures against night sky increased the solemnity of the area; the park of awesome in the true sense of the word: invoking awe.
To follow up the theme of civil rights, our trip to The Vulcan also inspired me. Standing atop a mountain of sorts, the 56 foot tall statue and lokout tower provided us with a nighttime view of the city:
Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and forge, represents the industry that dominated Birmingham’s past. Iron and steel workers closely tied into the civil rights movement, and the depiction of African American struggle of the time was augmented throughout the Vulcan’s museum tour.
A great view of the city atop the tower and within the museum gave us a throughout understanding of what Birmingham has endeavored the years.
To top off the night, the Fellows and I dined at the Fish Market, a restaurant designed with the simple goal of providing customers with the freshest fish around. We all had the chance to try various forms of Tilapia, Salmon, Catfish, Snapper, and other fish baked, grilled, and fried. We stuffed ourselves completely, and made our way to the exit with belts loosened a loop or two (a procedure we should all be accustomed to by now on such a trip).
Another great day of interstate travel, coupled with great food and historic sites concluded another day in the life of the SHSU Junior Fellows.