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Sunday, September 13, 2009

After Labor Day excursion

I was in Mississippi from Wednesday until Friday night. This was more or less an excursion to record some of my roots, well family roots.

In fact most of my grandparents had some roots in Mississippi, but both of my parents were from Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Basically I took video footage of the rural areas where my dad's family resided. There's no one there now and no structures that I would have recognized from the times that we have been out there in the past. Also those lands had been sold off a few years ago.

Apparently my mother and grandmother found a significant part of their family roots. Further East along Mound Bayou Road which is paved to a certain point and then unpaved towards the Sunflower River is a road, Lombardy go north, and you will find evidences of woodenshacks (quarters for either slaves or workers) then a big mansion that may have been a focal point for a significant plantation. I got it all on video tape even the name of a previous owner made of metal and stuck in the dirt (to be sure I'm not sure what you would call it, but it had the man's name on it).

This man my grandmother often referred to as a nice man. Another man who her father (my great-grandfather) had to deal with she referred to as nasty. The name I saw in front of that "plantation" rang a bell as it seemed that she only knew his last name, but there was a first name as well now and that rang a bell as well. Apparently this area (again across the Sunflower River) was where my grandmother was born so many years ago.

Also before we left on Friday night we arrived back in Memphis where we waited to take a train back to Chicago. We saw a gentrifying area of town that apparently once upon a time was home to a significant low income population. Mostly black at that, but these days it's home to new condo development and boutiques and home to Memphis' trolleys.

The station, Central Station was once a significant rail terminal but since the days of major rail traffic has passed it's home to condos, retail, Amtrak, a city bus terminal, and a police station. This could have been the terminal where people could have taken a train directly to Mound Bayou had there been not only demand for service, but if there were actually still train tracks into town.

Also in the immediate area was the National Civil Rights Museum. It seems to me that most of the facade of the former Lorraine Motel was razed and around it was a musuem with exhibits within the structure of the hotel. In addition to that there are old signs all around this place, signs that are hard to come by these days. Across the street the buildings where the shots that killed Dr. Martin Luther King was fired. Today you can go up and visit one of those buildings where the shots were allegedly fired there is a museum exhibit up that way as well.

BTW, there is a protester there. She apparently was upset about being forced out of the motel years ago. She believes this monument to Dr. King is a disgrace to his memory. There is even a count of how long she has been out there, approximately 21 years.

Well I'll talk more about her later, I never talked to her but I should have. At that there were others who were interested in what she was demonstrating against, but at the same time decided that she was a nut not worth talking to.

Certainly there are several posts to be issued here that includes pictures and video(s) so stay tuned for the sharing here!

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