Old Alabama Town
First stop was the reconstructed tourist Old Alabama Town in downtown Montgomery, a series of homes and cottages to replicate the old south: an opportunity to experience six fun-filled blocks of Alabama history. My stomach turned at the notion of commercial reconstructions of the history of slavery. It was a very rainy day and a festival was on, complete with food and vendors and a blue grass music group. I was hungry for breakfast and sausages looked good. Carrie and Petra and I moved into the space between the buildings on the green, seeking solace in one another amidst the gathering crowd.
There were two buildings -- the slave (oops! servants) quarters and the Doctor's office. The servant's quarters were very nice. Beds, a hanging stand for drying some quilts and low benches. Parts of the building were roped off to prevent entry. The lines of rope seemed impenetrable to me. Here I had flown back to the cradle of slavery where the penalty for an African American breaking the law had always been death. -- Hey Petra. It's roped off. We can't go inside so we might as well see another building.
Her response: -- We'll just go inside, as she removed the rope. The shudder and the arrest for me was in realizing that we were going to trespass in the deep south where the penalty for an African American breaking the law had always been death.
--I don't think that we should do that. Then it hit me. White German woman has the privilege to access the forbidden spaces without penalty. We could go inside and the consequences might be minimal, or maybe no one would see. Once through the barrier we could experience hidden secrets and places that no one could see. We conducted experiments within the confines of the quarters, sitting on benches and photographing ourselves, inspecting the rags and containers that were strewn throughout the room. It was as fun and educational as the brochures promised.
------ Anita Gonzalez