Thursday, January 12, 2012

Drive to Pensacola, FL - Day 10

After our time in Chattanooga and environs, we planned on a few days in New Orleans, LA to celebrate the new year. However, yours truly being yours truly, we couldn't simply drive straight to New Orleans. That would just be plain boring. Here's what we did on Day 10.

First stop = Atlanta, GA, a reasonably short bus ride away. After picking up the rental car, we met my girlfriend's good friend and her husband at Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles restaurant near downtown. Mmmm mmmm good.

These two are destined to have photogenic progeny.

Don't ask me why, but of the 6 states I hadn't seen before this trip, I was most fascinated with Alabama. Surprisingly, the Lynyrd Skynyrd song reverberating through my brain didn't drive me nuts.

On the way to Pensacola, our ultimate stop that day, we passed through Tuskegee, AL, home of the world-famous Tuskegee Airmen and the subsequent National Historic Site, located at the airstrip.

The chain of command = seven white men at the top, two black men at the bottom. Sigh...

Contrary to popular belief, you were a "Tuskegee Airmen" if you worked there in some capacity, not just if you were a pilot. Here's a map of the distribution of origins of the Airmen.

The N.H.S. is being refurbished, so a compilation of the exhibits is inside one of the hangars (which is part of the permanent exhibit).

Two planes (possibly a test plane here, I'm the worst person to ask) are inside of the hangar.

Gotta give a shout out to this Bay Area Airman.

The exterior, with the door to the Tea Room (below).

This simple dining room was one of the only integrated dining rooms in America; it's been preserved as it originally looked, in its original location.

A short drive from the airstrip lies Tuskegee University, the successor to the famous Tuskegee Institute. On the campus is the home of Booker T. Washington, The Oaks (now managed by the National Park Service as part of Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site).

Beautiful campus.

The modern chapel, with the school's graveyard in the foreground.

Booker T.'s gravesite.

George Washington Carver's gravesite; I teach third grade, and I distinctly remember being fascinated by a biography of him when I was in third grade myself.

We spent a surprising amount of time in Tuskegee, so it was nearing dark when we rolled into Montgomery, just 40-some miles away. This is the state capitol.

Almost directly across the street, facing the capitol, lies the First White House of the Confederacy. I'm no fan of the southern states' secession, but I love preserved history no matter how controversial.

As the sign indicates, the building was originally located elsewhere in the city before being moved to its present location 90 years ago.

Down the street we briefly stopped by the Southern Poverty Law Center to see the Civil Rights Memorial. On account of winter (I think) the waterfall wasn't working.

The centerpiece is a sundial-looking structure with important dates in the civil rights movement.

The last event listed needs no introduction.

Final destination for the evening = Pensacola, Florida. Crossing this state line was fairly surreal = I don't think of Florida as being a state to which one drives. This was only my third time in my father's birth-state, making the visit even more strange for me.

Coming soon = beach photos, followed by NOLA photos!

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