Today I drove from Shreveport to Birmingham, making a stop in Jackson, Mississippi, for a quick visit to the state capital (I keep a collection) and the civil rights museum. The museum was very deep. The part that caught me off guard was the section dedicated to the lynchings. You walk around fake trees and when you move to certain locations, a loudspeaker shouts an angry southern phrase that makes you shake in your shoes (“Do you know who you’re talking to?” “I didn’t hear a ma’am in that sentence!” “You come here right now!”). It was genuinely frightening. The museum did a great job.
When I continued into Alabama, I was pleasantly surprised by Birmingham. Walking around, I saw lots of bars and clubs in the main downtown area. It was still early (only 6-8pm) but there were already plenty of people making their way around the area. I gave up finding a barbeque place and settled on a joint that had really good spicy miso ramen. I made a friend outside while I was waiting. He had lived in the city for the last decade since he went to college nearby.
Something interesting my friend taught me was that the suburban part of Birmingham is referred to as “over the mountain” since there are mountains that separate the (largely black) city from the (largely white) suburbs. According to the Brookings Institute, Birmingham is one of the cities with the most quantifiable white flight.
The last place I wanted to go to was the botanical garden, but it was already dark when I got to Birmingham so I ended up not going. Regardless, here are some pictures of it that I didn’t take!