A Word of Advice

3412596379_eef3ac5919Before driving 60 miles for what you believe to be a scheduled event double-check the date.  That’s right, Michaela and I drove to Richmond today for a walking tour of Lincoln’s visit to the city in April 1865 only to discover that it is actually scheduled for tomorrow.  I guess I just assumed that a walking tour would take place on Saturday.  Well, we made the best of it.  In fact, we had a great time in Richmond.  Although it was a bit windy the temperature was perfect and the downtown area was very quiet.  We walked Lincoln’s route from the area around Rockett’s Landing to the Capitol grounds.  Luckily, I had my copy of Nelson Lankford’s Richmond Burning: The Last Days of the Confederate Capital, which made it easy for us to imagine the throngs of Richmonders who came out to welcome Lincoln to the city.  Along the way we had a chance to stop at the Reconciliation Monument as well as the new Civil Rights Monument.  We also toured the capitol building for about an hour with a wonderful guide.  On the way back we walked along the canal and grabbed a bite to eat at Bookbinders.

Additional photographs can be found at my flickr site.

5 responses... add one

Thanks, Kevin, to you and Michaela for sharing your trip with your readers. I haven’t been to Richmond in years. This was a real treat! I did not even know that there was a civil rights monument in Richmond, nor did I know that there was a reconciliation monument. The city is frozen in my mind in another time period. I am very glad to see such positive change.

Looking at the pictures of the Capitol building brought back a memory. This memory is connected to Civil War Memory in the sense that the women’s movement and the civil rights movement were connected in many ways.

In the early 1970s, I ran for and was elected Speaker of the House for the statewide Model General Assembly. This was a big event for our school, so off we went to Richmond–several other students, my teachers, and our local delegate. It was also an unusual event because I was female.

There was one delegate who took an immediate dislike to me, and who disrupted the mock legislative sessions that were held with me presiding as Speaker from the moment the sessions began. I am still not sure what this delegate’s problem was. But at that time, I had to deal with him because he was creating havoc, so I consulted the actual delegate from our district, who was a delightful man and way ahead of his time, and he told me I had wide latitude as Speaker and to use my own discretion. I was barely 18, so this was a tall order. Still, I had to deal with this delegate, and the next time he interrupted me, acting on the advice I had been given and without thinking, I banged the gavel, told the delegate he was antagonizing the Speaker, and then told him to sit down or he would be removed from the Chambers. To my absolute amazement, the other delegates got to their feet and gave me a standing ovation. Apparently this delegate had been getting on their nerves, too. We never dreamed then that a woman would actually be Speaker of the House in the US Congress. That was really reaching for the moon. No matter what you think of Nancy Pelosi or her politics, the fact that she is Speaker is a major milestone in the progress women have made over the past thirty plus years.

I like, in particular, the motto on the Reconciliation statue:

“Acknowledge and forgive the past. Embrace the present. Shape a future of reconciliation and justice.” If we do this, we will succeed. President Obama said yesterday that “human destiny will be what we make of it.” Indeed. Thanks again, Kevin. The Internet does offer the capacity to collapse past and present–and to collapse them in positive ways, if we choose that path.

Sherree,

Glad to hear that you enjoyed the photographs. That’s a great story.

Thanks, Kevin. You and Michaela have a great day. (I haven’t thought about that in years!)

PS. The picture with the motto that I quoted is upside down.

It’s actually located in a very awkward spot just off of the Franklin St. Exit.

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