Day 3 - Monday, July 11

Hello everyone this is Nathan Caspar, one of the many passionate and excited youth here on the civil rights trip. Today was a Monday, but not just any old Monday. As the gang slowly wound up and got everything together we joined in our hotel for a grand breakfast full of laughter gourmet food and nectar of the gods. Now I should tell you, that's a lie. The food was less than average and we were all tired, but none the less it did the job. We pooled into the vans and headed over to the kings chapel where Martin Luther King jr preached, and ironically enough, just down the way was the Capitol of Montgomery where many marches and protests occurred. We walked around the Capitol for a few minutes and while beautiful in architecture and paintings and such, the whole place was a little eere and scary. Laid across the grounds were statues idolizing many so called "white hero's" who did horrific things. On top of that, to the left of the building there was a Confederate memorial which was very disturbing for many of us to see. We said enough was enough and headed down to the equal justice initiative where we were all amazed. We learned a great deal about lynchings in America as well as mass incarceration and some of the work that this group does. One of the most powerful things there was a wall of jars that were filled with various colors and textures of dirt. Each jar was comprised of earth from a place where a lynching had taken place in Alabama. As we headed back to the hotel we stopped to see the brick a day church that had housed so many key members to the movement. As the rain came pouring down the group, quite bravely if I might add, ran with all their might from the cars to the library at Alabama state university (nearly a 15 meter sprint!). Of course JD being the character that he is, he just walked and let the rain "cleanse" him. In the library we looked at a display showing many key people including mr. Gretz who we would meet along with his wife when we returned to the hotel. Bob and geanie gretz were an inspiration to us all as they talked about there experiences being white people who cared and were loving friends with black people. Next we had dinner at Jason's deli (yeah there was ice cream) and came back to hear Valda speak about her experience where her family housed many amazing people including the freedom riders and king himself grew up a few houses down and spent lots of time at valdas house. We then reflected on the day as a group and discussed what we need to do going forward from this trip. After the more serious stuff was over we headed out the pool for some good laughs and cool water. Before we knew it it was the next day.

Nathan Caspar