As a book nerd, I was pretty excited to see the old courthouse. I read To Kill A Mockingbird years and years ago for school, but I remembered that I really enjoyed the book. One of the other girls (Cheyenne) in the group was even more excited because To Kill A Mockingbird was her all time favorite book and she even had a copy of the book with her to read during her free time.
I still, however, had no idea just how awesome it would be to be in Monroeville.
It really is amazing going into the courthouse for the first time because it truly is JUST LIKE the set in the movie. The tour guide told us that her office is right by the entrance and she loves hearing the exclamations of "Wow!" from the people who walk in and see it for the first time. She said the makers of the movie went on a tour of the town with Lee and when they saw the courthouse, they knew they had to make the set just like it. There are only a few differences that aren't very noticeable.
Apparently, Lee's father was a lawyer (like Atticus in the book/movie) and she would sit up in the balcony and watch him practice law - just like Scout did!
At the gift shop, both Cheyenne and I picked up new copies of the book that have embossed on the first page a seal which signifies the books come from Monroeville. Cheyenne also got several other souvenirs, including the movie, which we watched when we got back to where we were staying.
One of the best parts though was seeing Cheyenne's reaction to being in the building. She was completely beside herself and cried the whole time. Not that I'm happy someone cried! But the fact that it touched her so much and how much this story means to her was amazing to see. It would be like me going to the place where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter. How special that would be is beyond words. Then there are so many people like Cheyenne who love the story of To Kill A Mockingbird as well. It shows how powerful story is. It changes lives and touches hearts. This is one of those classic books that really shaped culture, so being in the place were it all began was something I'll never forget.
A few days later we took a trip to Selma, Alabama. Which, apparently has a lot of Civil War and Civil Rights history behind it. They first tried to have a march in January of 1965 from the church pictured below, but then were met with violence at the Eddmund Pettus Bridge (the third photo below). The pastor at the church where we were serving said he was a student at Concordia in Selma at the time, and the president of the school told the students he didn't want them to march. Our pastor said it was the first and only time he ever disobeyed his college president.
Then, in March, Martin Luther King Jr. led a march from Selma to Montgomery.
The Civil Rights movement hit home for me during this trip. While I know in my head that in the grand scheme of things, all of these events weren't that long ago. My parents lived through them and so did my grandparents. But hearing the stories and seeing the faces of people who really experienced it, and not just heard about it on the news, was completely different. It was so powerful and I appreciate how far we've come so much more now.
When have stories and history come alive for you?
Also - I forgot to mention yesterday that I'm participating in VEDA again! (Volg Every Day in August.) You can check out my YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/SnowWhitegrl
I also post on Twitter everyday when my video uploads!