Scars

Let Freedom Ring 2013_19_0208

Let Freedom Ring

This past Saturday a small group of us participated in the Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk. If you aren’t familiar with it, it is a day when people across the globe come together in small groups and take photographs. If you haven’t participated, you are really missing a great time. Our group drove to Selma, Alabama. Selma is a small town that is very rich in history, and played a very important role in the Voting Act of 1965.

 

Edmund Pettus Bridge 2013_19_0158

Edmund Pettus Bridge

Voting rights were a complicated issue in 1965. In Selma where the population was 99% white, African Americans had little chance of being able to vote.  During one demonstration a fight broke out between some locals, state troopers, and some 400 demonstrators, and in the process a man was shot in the stomach. Jimmie Lee Jackson died eight days later. After this happened a plan was made for a peaceful march from Selma to the state capital in Montgomery, roughly 50 miles away.

 

Reflections in the Alabama  2013_19_0209

Reflections in the Alabama

The days before the march were very chaotic and stressful as some people were targeted by others as they continued to register to vote. Some of those who successfully registered were beaten. Others were refused Federal aid for food, and others were refused credit at local banks and stores. Some people even lost their jobs, just for simply wanting to vote.

 

 Historical Trail phillip m burrow 2013_19_0162

 

On the day of the march, Sunday March 7, 1965, Alabama governor George Wallace ordered state and local police to stop the 600 demonstrators on the grounds of Public Safety. The group was confronted by authorities armed with billy clubs and tear gas as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in what is today known as “Bloody Sunday.”

 

Crossing the Alabama 2013_19_0235

Crossing the Alabama

 

I remember my mother telling me a story from when she was a child. For some reason her father or brothers were burning something, probably leaves, in their yard. Her parents had warned her not to play around the fire. However, the flames were captivating and she began dancing around it getting closer to the blaze each time she circled. Before long the dress that she was wearing came in contact with the flames and they began running up her side. Someone quickly came to her rescue and extinguished the fire. Had they not she would have certainly would have been burned more severely. There are few comparisons to the pain of a burn, but with the passing of time she was able to heal. However, though hidden by her clothes most of the time, she carried the scars the rest of her life.

 

 

Faded Reminder 2013_19_0054

Faded Reminder

We Southerners have had some moments in our history that are a source of much pride, and then there are others that are not. Like my Mother’s burns, many wounds have healed over time, but the scars still remain. They are hidden beneath our clothes most of the time, but they are still there as a reminder of how easy it is for people to allow the end to justify their means. George Santayana is credited for saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Maybe this is the reason for scars.

 

 

8 Comments

  1. Farrell Kenimer October 12, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Phil, I could hug you for that. I had never heard the whole story about Hazel’s burns although I knew they were there. How you can have so much feeling about those days when you were so young is a comfort to my soul. I have never seen “scars” written down that way before but many of us bear those scars. Most of us can not express ourselves so eloquently. I seldom discuss the “old” days but when I do my emotions take hold and the words don’t come out right.
    It is truly sad that the whole country can not read your words with the beautiful pictures like in the New Yorker or some similar media.
    I know that Cindy must be so proud that she can hardly contain herself because I’m certain your blog brought tears to the forefront as it has here.

    • Phillip October 13, 2013 at 10:34 am #

      Ken, thank you for your wonderful comment, I am really touched by it and appreciate the perspective that you bring.

  2. Andrew Graeme Gould October 12, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    A beautiful series of images, Phillip. Your presentation is as impeccable as always. As already said, you have a great way with words in the way you’ve woven the story together. All countries have things to be proud of, but dig beneath the surface, and the “scars” are there, as you put it. Here’s hoping this post will play a part in spreading awareness and goodwill, wherever it’s read…

    • Phillip October 13, 2013 at 10:44 am #

      Thank you so much Andrew, I agree we all have our own scars. They just might be a little different.

  3. Otto von Münchow October 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    I watched the movie “George Wallace” not long ago which showed that event you are referring to. It’s indeed a sad part of the history in this part of the world. But slowly by slowly the world is moving forward. The way you describe this event is both with passion, compassion and understand. I particularly like the quote by George Santayana which I believe is so true. As always you have captured some stunning images. The first one with the bridge and part of stars and stripes stands out.

    • Phillip October 15, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

      Thank you Otto for visiting and the wonderful comment.

  4. DaniLew October 20, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    Phillip,

    you certainly made an ugly piece of our history beautiful with your imagery and words. I loved the tie-in with your mother’s scars; very touching.

    Danielle

    • Phillip October 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

      Thank you so much Danielle. I really appreciate your words. It was an ugly peice of history.

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