10+ Moments From Toyota’s Black History Tour That I’ll Take With Me
This past December, Toyota and PRecise Communications invited me and several other Black journalists and media professionals on a Black History Tour, stopping in several historic and memorable cities in the south. Beginning in Atlanta, Georgia, we drove (or in my case, I rode shotgun) in Toyota vehicles to Montgomery and Selma, Alabama, Meridian and Jackson, Mississippi to attend the grand opening of The Mississippi Civil Right’s Museum. The entire trip was memorable and educational, on various levels. There is no way I can detail every moment that meant something to be, but I’ll share a few.
This is the group of journalists and media professionals standing in front of Dr. King’s last residence in Atlanta, Georgia with our tour guide Tom Houck and a freedom singer.
After working for years with Dr. King in the movement, Houck served as Dr. King’s driver for a few years. As his driver, he was very close to the family. I was tickled to learn that Dr. King’s children affectionately called him Uncle Tom.
Mr. Slack worked at Paschal’s Restaurant with the original founders James and Robert Paschal who started the business with just $.75 cents. Not only would they go on to become millionaires, they used their resources to give back to the community and specifically helped advance the Civil Rights movement. Mr. Slack spoke about their impact and influence in the audio clip below. (Excuse the noises, we were eating as he spoke.)
Lexi Felder in front of the Toyota cars that got us safely from place to place.
Directly in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge where Dr. King and other Civil Rights leaders, including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and others held two marches from Selma to Montgomery, fighting for Voting Rights.
This was, by far, my favorite stop on the tour. The Dexter Parsonage Museum is the actual home where Dr. King lived as he pastored the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. It also served as a seminal place for King’s personal development.
Our excellent tour guide, Shirley Cherry shared the story.
The basement of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where Dr. King served as the pastor from 1954-1960. This is also the basement where he organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
We culminated our tour with the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
There were plenty of impactful images and interactive exhibits in the museum. But one of the most memorable was these towering pillars containing the names of lynching victims, from top to bottom. There are three pictured here but there were many more in this space.
Mylerie Evers at the funeral for her slain husband, activist Medgar Evers.
To see Mylerie overcome the pain and anger she held in her heart for the people and the state of Mississippi is truly remarkable and inspiring.