Monday, August 21, 2006


I bypassed the wigwam and buffalo outside the Confederate antiques mall, and the giant shark’s jaw as entry to a T-shirt job. Then I became entirely transfixed by roadside kitsch, stopping at every giant metal bird and cow along the road. This gave way to murals painted on the walls of historic downtowns … a trend from Durham, N.C. to Bend, Ore. Something tells me I’ll be stopping to photograph dozens of those between here and Seattle.

And though it didn’t make today’s top vote getter, I felt compelled to detour into downtown Montgomery for a quick peek at the Civil Rights Memorial designed by Maya Lin. Like her Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., the Civil Rights commemoration is stark and artful, simple shapes in black granite etched with a timeline of key events in the struggle for racial equality. What makes the memorial even more striking is its juxtaposition with Montgomery’s shimmering white marble capital and government buildings just a block away. There, too, sits the first Confederate White House. Cause and effect.

A city well worth a return visit.

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