We slept in this morning and then headed up to Birmingham. The first thing we noticed after getting off the highway is that the streets were almost deserted on Sunday at 11:30 am. It was hot and humid and a few people were sitting in the park, but all of the businesses were closed and there were very few cars on the road. We started with a brief visit to Kelly Ingram Park. On this site, many of the boycotts and protests were held here in 1963. There were many statues commemorating events such as the "Children's March" and other demonstrations held by black citizens during the Civil Rights Movement.
Then it was time for lunch! We ate at Mrs. B's on 4th, an authentic "Southern" restaurant. The Fried Chicken and the Banana pudding were big hits!
The highlight of our afternoon was our visit to the Civil Right's Institute. We watched a short film about the history of the City of Birmingham, Alabama and the context and events leading up to the Civil Rights movement. From their website: "The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute documents the struggle of African-American citizens in Birmingham to becoming full participants in the city's government and business community." We spent about two hours looking through the exhibits, watching videos, listening to music and reading about this tumultuous period of American history. It was extremely moving and informative. If you're ever in Birmingham, do not miss a visit to the CRI!
After our day in Birmingham, we returned to our hotel for a quick break, dinner and then an evening of practice in preparation for competition, which will begin tomorrow.