Av’s been inside a couple of times; once in the ’90s when he was there with a group of black, and Jewish teens with the program Operation Understanding. The idea is that they learn about each other during the year, and during the summer, do a tour of Jewish and civil rights sites in the South.
Here, the Maya Lin-designed monument:
The SPLC describes it this way:
A circular black granite table records the names of the martyrs and chronicles the history of the movement in lines that radiate like the hands of a clock. Water emerges from the table’s center and flows evenly across the top. On a curved black granite wall behind the table is engraved Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s well-known paraphrase of Amos 5:24 – We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
This cousin was on duty at the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma. And he investigated the synagogue bombing in Gadsden. The list goes on and on; he was everywhere.
But I came along much after that, and I only knew him as my PawPaw’s cousin and best friend. And when my sweet PawPaw was in the hospital, this cousin held Av and me in rapt attention for hours, telling as you can imagine the *most* interesting stories as an Alabama State Trooper in those days…being as how he had witnessed so many of these events first-hand.
We haven’t gone since we had the boys, but for years Av and I attended the annual memorial service at Mt. Zion for Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman in Philadelphia MS.
We also attended the trial of Edgar Ray Killen in 2005. That’s an interesting story for another day.
I think that the nearest other Maya Lin-designed work is at the Haley Farm — once owned by Alex Haley and now owned by the Children’s Defense Fund — in Clinton TN where she was responsible for the Langston Hughes Library and the Riggio-Lynch Chapel.