On a breezy, beautiful first day of spring, the group (small, but enthusiastic, with a few members on their first club event – you know who you are, and we hope to see you again) departed Jemison bound for Selma. Most fun runs have an “issue” at some point, and this one was no exception as a stationary train (that turned out to be over 2 miles long) blocked the planned route at the 5 mile point. An alternate route was devised, and an entertaining drive through Autauga, Chilton, and Dallas counties ensued. Once in Selma, the (masked) group visited the Jackson Historic Home / Museum, the site of much of the planning and organizing of the Selma to Montgomery march, led by Dr. Martin Luther King in March of 1965. The home has been preserved and transformed into a museum by Ms. Jawana Jackson, the daughter of Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson, who owned the house in the 1960s and provided room and board for many participating in the civil rights movement (learn more at https://www.jacksonfoundationandmuseum.com). Ms. Jackson, 5 years old at the time of the march, gave a tour of the home and explained the significance of many of the furnishings (which are originals from 1965, including the dining room table where many planning sessions occurred and the chair where Dr. King (a.k.a., Uncle Martin) was photographed by a photographer from Life Magazine listening to President Johnson address a joint session of Congress to support the voting rights bill). She shared many stories, anecdotes, and insights from her time growing up in The House by the Side of the Road (the name given the house by Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson in her book of the same name) surrounded by numerous civil rights leaders – some stories were humorous, some not so much. She also provided an overview of her family’s history, illustrated by numerous family photographs. In about 5 minutes, the two hour tour was over. Then, it was on to The Sandbar Restaurant overlooking the Alabama River (formed by the Tallapoosa and Coosa Rivers) for some good food and conversation. The day concluded with crossing the nearby Edmund Pettus Bridge.
The group is greatly indebted to Ms. Jawana Jackson and her husband, Mr. James Richie, who now lives in Milton, FL, and travel to Selma to provide tours of the home, for investing the time and putting forth the effort to share the story and preserve the home and its history.