Saturday, April 11, 2009

Highway 11 approaching Birmingham

Yesterday I walked through Bessemer and Midfield, the suburbs just southwest of Birmingham. Highway 11 spreads out into a handsome four lane boulevard with a grassy median, making me think that once upon a time it made the citizens of the city proud. Now however it's been abandoned to the folks that have a hard time making ends meet. All the photos below were taken in one mall, less than 100 feet from each other.

I walked many miles of this road, encountering few other walkers and just a handful of people waiting for the bus, which comes, one rider told me, once every hour and 20 minutes. I saw people shopping in little convenience stores, picking up their children from daycare, enjoying burgers, chicken and biscuits at fast food joints. I saw endless numbers of closed shops and abandoned homes. Folks greeted me in a friendly manner and I never felt threatened, even when walking in what could be termed as 'wastelands.' But I felt a mounting outrage as today I continued to walk into Birmingham with no relief from the decay and blight. 

(Continued below)


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Bill Ayers, former member of the Weather Underground, current Professor at University of Illinois, Chicago spoke earlier this year at an event concerning the censorship of Ward Churchill. is currently showing it. During his speech he paraphrased Rosa Luxembourg, socialist/humanist from a hundred years ago, while she was in prison for her activism. She told a friend, "Be a mensch."
Ayers summarized a mensch as, "Someone who loves her own life enough to take care of the children, take care of the elders, enjoy a good meal, have a night out with friends, look at the sunrise, bow down to the sunset...but, who also loves the world enough to put her shoulder on history's wheel when history requires it.
If you love your own life and you love the world, you'll make your way.
If you don't you will not. a mensch."
That sums up Greta for me.
You are an amazing mensch.
Bless you for inspiring us while putting your shoulder to the wheel.