I took this trip a while back, a quick weekend with my dad and his company; the itinerary was set and all parts of the day were planned. With a tour group I visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art (where the Rocky Steps are), the Redding Terminal Market and drove through downtown. I took my own pilgrimage to see the legendary Roots mural honoring the group in street art/graffiti form.
I honestly don’t remember too much about how this trip felt but what I do remember is what one random guy told me as I was taking pictures in the heart of the city. About the series of images of columns below, he pointed it out to me (I didn’t notice the design until he showed me) and he talked about the scene. Each column represented a people – Africans Americans, Native Americans, Asians and Europeans. Each group is doing equal part to support the ceiling. All are struggling but doing their part. Without any of them, the ceiling would tilt to one side, slant downward or collapse. What a metaphor for America.
While this nation’s identity is always under question or careful reconstruction, minority, majority, whatever, the thing that remains is the historical fact that America is a country of immigrants who built it from the ground up. Made me realize I need to know my history and the varying histories of different people groups in this country.
We had a couple of option os how to spend one of the afternoons. I chose the Eastern State Penitentiary which is a former prison in Philadelphia. It was a creepy place to visit but well laid out for touring (they recommend coming during Halloween). The story is that the prison had the intention of moving the system forward, from punishment to reconciliation for the inmates, but ended up swinging in the opposite direction, involving physical and psychological torture methods to keep order. Infamous criminals like Willie Sutton and Al Capone did time there but had alternative accommodations (see Capone’s comfortable dwelling below).
Where should I go next? Perhaps Nashville.
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