Montgomery, Alabama

English: Capitol building, Montgomery, Alabama .

Image via Wikipedia

Today is the 47th anniversary of the first Selma to Montgomery march. Seeing pictures of those recreating the march and of the state capitol in Montgomery brought back memories of a trip I took with my family in 1958 or 1959, can’t remember exactly, from Chicago to Florida and return. We drove south on US41 which has been replaced by Interstate 65. We went through Nashville, Birmingham, Montgomery, Dothan and Tallahassee. Somewhere near the Alabama-Florida border, I saw my first palm tree. It was a short squib, no taller than me.

I particularly recall the steps of the state capitol in Montgomery because I was greeted as “governor” by an elderly African-American sweeping the steps. I was just a gawky, white teenager and I was surprised by his servility. I thought that it was unnecessary, but that was my first trip to the South, and it was 6 or 7 years before the Selma to Montgomery march. Times have changed, how much I do not know. I have not passed that way again.