Atlanta 2016, Part 2: Civil Rights & Coke

August 28, 2016

Part 1 – Part 2

I got up a little after 8am, packed my little bag, and headed on down to check out of the hotel, as I wouldn’t be able to come by again later.

I wandered down Peachtree Street some ways to the stop, and soon enough here came the Atlanta streetcar. I had my MARTA card ready to pay, but there did not seem to be anything to tap nor did anyone ask. I got to my destination, for which I decided against walking as even at now around 9am it was already like 95 degrees, after what ended up being a free ride. Hmm.


Respect. *salute*

In front of which is some kind of sacred gas leak.

Along the other side of the pool was a series of images about campaigning for the Voting Rights Act.

Inside the building was an exhibit in a couple of rooms about him and Coretta. Across the street was the MLK National Historic Site, with more civil rights movement exhibits.

Even this.

Anyway, it was getting to be time to move on, so back to the street car. This time when I boarded, I was asked for payment, so I presented my MARTA card. Operator says “that’s MARTA, this is the street car”. I say “I know that, but aren’t they the same system?” He directed me and a couple other people to a machine under the shelter at the stop for producing a street car ticket, which was not at the other stop earlier, and said I could get a ticket using funds off my MARTA card. So I did. It was only a dollar anyway, but not the clearest system for sure. So we were going back to downtown.

Hey, John Lewis mural.

So back in downtown, and time to eat. I call this my “Yup, I’m in the South” brunch. There’s chicken and waffles, and on the right there are some of Manjula Nahasapeemapetilan’s favorite movie, book, and food.

That was good. Got a little stuffed and couldn’t finish my waffle, so I wrapped it in a napkin and put it in my bag for later.

Now on back to Centennial Olympic Park. After all that chicken, I sure am thirsty- Ah, thanks, Pemberton!

Ah, there must be more in here.

Come with me
And you’ll be
In a world of pure carbonation…



Ah, here’s where the Olympic torches get tossed after the games.


Taste various Coke products sold around the world? Don’t mind if I do!


Coke Santas, of course!

Anyway, after some bizarre show in a theater thing and another theater thing showing various Coke ads from around the world, I had to get going, being already after 3pm. I was offered a free bottle of room temperature Coke on the way out to take home with me, but I had to decline because TSA. So I checked out the big gift shop briefly, bought a keychain, and finally got on out, as I had another place to visit.

At least it was next door.

I began at the Center for Civil and Human Rights in a room similar to exhibits I saw that morning at the King Center about the civil rights movement. With some notable additions…

Claudette Colvin!

That text reads:

By 1955 the contours of the emerging civil rights movement had begun to take shape as the Brown case showed that laws could change and bring about an end to unjust traditions. Events in Alabama would confirm the power of grassroots activism. The target would be the segregated bus system of the state capital of Montgomery, where African Americans were the majority of riders but were only allowed to sit in the back – and only if white riders did not need the seats. Two women would bravely refuse to follow the city’s rules of segregation, but with very different results.

In March 1955 Claudette Colvin, a 15-year-old high school student, was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. She recalled her inspiration in refusing – “It just so happens they picked me at the wrong time – it was Negro History Month, and I was filled up like a computer.” Colvin screamed “it is my constitutional right” as she was pulled from the bus in handcuffs. Although her arrest would be included in the eventual Supreme Court case, her youthfulness, strong will, and a later out-of-wedlock pregnancy caused disapproval and fear that her personal details might overshadow the case itself. Colvin served as a star witness in the case that would end bus discrimination but faced hostility from many sources in Montgomery and in 1958 was forced to leave for New York.

Rosa Parks’s public image contrasted sharply with Colvin’s – Parks was 42 and employed as a seamstress. Additionally, Parks was active in the local NAACP chapter and had recently attended the Highlander Folk School for training in equality and activism. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus, and her individual act of conscience became a call for community action. She was arrested and quickly emerged as the face of the protest against segregation, her picture and story garnering wide coverage in national newspapers. Her gentle demeanor, impeccable reputation, and connections to the activist community meant she had credibility with the community and with the press.

“My mother told me to be quiet about what I did,” Ms. Colvin recalled. “She told me: ‘Let Rosa be the one. White people aren’t going to bother Rosa – her skin is lighter than yours and they like her.'” In the public’s mind, Rosa Parks became what Colvin could not become – an example of a law gone too far.

There was also a lunch counter protest simulator. You sit at a replica of a segregated lunch counter, and they put these headphones on you, and for two minutes you sit there and listen to a menacing racial epithet-heavy voice threatening you right in your ear and the sound of your fellow protester being beaten up.

I actually turned my head a couple of times because I felt like someone was actually behind me. When it was done, I was still clutching the counter until the museum person running that exhibit said that it’s okay and I can let go now.

Anyway, then there was more about MLK and the Birmingham church bombing. Awww…

And more stuff upstairs. Including some audio of various civil rights speeches. Including the “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington. It was at this point I realized I totally unintentionally visited this place and the tomb in the morning on the anniversary of the March on Washington! 🙂

Yes. The answer is yes, damn it!

Then a lot about genocide and recognizing its warning signs. Also a neat audio exhibit about people who were persecuted in certain places for their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, speech, and more.

Civil rights map. How well are civil rights respected in your country? Yellow is good. Orange is meh. Red is you’re fucked.

At this point, I was really running short on time, so after glancing quickly at some other MLK exhibit they had, I’d been through the whole place and made my way back out to Centennial Olympic Park. First, I had to run back over to the CNN Center. I didn’t buy anything at the Turner store the day before, so now was my only opportunity. Quickly I got me a Cartoon Network coffee mug and a few other items with the channel logo and some characters. I think I got an Adventure Time drinking glass, too. Then finally back out across the way in the hot afternoon to the MARTA stop and another annoyingly long wait for a train as I gave my starving phone a bit more charge from an outlet by a giant fan that was marginally alleviating the swelteringness which is totally a word now, because it was time to get back to the airport.

When I got to the airport, I had to charge my phone a bit more before TSA line because my boarding pass was on it, and the battery going dead before I got to the part where I present my boarding pass seemed like something to avoid. For such a massive airport, TSA line wasn’t bad really. And, again, despite the massive airport, my gate was like right past security. Then it was a matter of debating whether to explore the concourse a bit while waiting for my flight or park by an outlet to feed my still starving phone. I did a little of both, so I did neither justice.

Boarded the small plane a little before 8pm. No, really, there were only two seats on each side of the aisle, and I was like three rows from the back but I could see into the cockpit. No electrical outlet at the seat. I finally just turned my damn phone off and stared out the window for the hour and a half back to Dulles.

We deplaned at the gate right by the illegal immigrant kinder egg. I then sat at a nearby chair and plugged my phone into an outlet. I reached into my bag and wondered what on earth was this mysterious thing wrapped in napkins.

Oh, it’s my waffle! I forgot all about it!

It’d been in my bag for the past like ten hours in all that summer warmth and- Okay, I ate it.

Then I rode in the quintessentially Dulles mobile lounge back to the main terminal, with no need for baggage claim as I just had my little tote bag as well as a shopping bag from the Cartoon Network store that I was more than a little happy to be carrying around, and onto the parking shuttle and back to my car and on back home.

Now where’s that ice cream?

This has been Day 97 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 16.