OH to FL – Lincoln Birthplace NHP, Medgar Evers NM, National Lynching Memorial, De Soto N MEM

January 31, 2019

12/31/2018 M – New Year’s Eve! Four hours of driving through heavy rain brought us to Hodgenville KY and Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park.

A President Trump imposed partial government shutdown again, just like last January, prevented us from going inside the Memorial and Visitor Center

However, we were able to tour the park. The “First Lincoln Memorial” was dedicated by President William Howard Taft on 11/9/1911.

A wood cabin, originally thought to be the home of the Lincoln family, is inside the Memorial. Abraham Lincoln was born on 2/12/1809 in a log cabin here at Sinking Springs Farm.

Sinking Springs is located just to the left of the steps leading up to the Memorial

Hiked the Boundary Oak Trail to the Visitor Center

We then drove 10 miles north to the Lincoln Knob Creek Farm where Abe lived from age 2 to 7.

The Lincoln Tavern was built as a tourist destination in 1933

Recreated Lincoln family log cabin (1811-1816)

The Lincoln family then moved again in 1816 crossing the Ohio River into IN. The Lincoln Boyhood Home National Memorial tells the story of Lincoln’s life from age 7 until 21 (1830), when the family moved to IL.

An additional 3hrs driving took us to Peter and Heather’s home in Franklin TN. We ate home-made chili and watched the ball drop in NYC on TV (ET). Then these two old folks went to bed at 11pm CT!!!


1/1/2019 Tu – Happy New Year! Walked the dogs with Peter, watched football (e.g. Ohio State 28, Washington 23, in the Rose Bowl), had BBQ ribs, and P & H did a Pre-Birthday Birthday celebration for Helen (cake, presents, etc.).


1/2 W – Long drive to Money MS and Bryant’s Grocery – the dilapidated building center-right

The Story of the torture and killing of Emmett Till

The children of unrepentant juror Ray Tribble own it and obtained a MS state historic-preservation grant for civil rights-related projects but used the money instead to restore a 1950s service station next door, which was basically empty during our visit.

One-hour north is Sumner MS and the Tallahatchie County Courthouse where the 1955 trial of Emmett Till’s killers took place – note the Confederate monument

Hopefully, this site will become part of a NPS Civil Rights National Historic Park

Across the street from the Courthouse is the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, which was not open during our visit

Inside the window was a bullet riddled sign that had recently been removed from the spot on the Tallahatchie River where Till’s body was found. The new sign outside of Glendora MS already has bullet holes in it!


We then drove into Jackson MS to the newly authorized Medgar Evers National Monument. Medgar Evers’s home, the site of his assassination in 1963, is owned by Tougaloo College. It is in the process of being transferred to the NPS.

Medgar Evers Bio

Window and signs under carport

“Site of Tragedy”

National Historic Landmark

I called a few weeks in advance and arranged for a personal 1.5hr tour from Minnie Watson who oversees the house museum

The assassination bullet went through Evers body, the front window, and inside wall (this photo), ricocheted off the refrigerator and ended up in a watermelon that was sitting on the kitchen counter

One room of the house is devoted to the life of Medgar Evers

The side window in the children’s room was purposely raised and beds were kept on the floor to guard against a drive by shooting

Evers statue at library a few blocks away

It continued raining and was dark when we arrived in Selma AL. We then continued to Montgomery AL along the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail


1/3 Th – We arrived at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, also known as the National Lynching Memorial, just after it opened at 9am. This is a memorial to the more than 4400 African American men, women, and children who were hanged, burned alive, shot, drowned, and beaten to death by white mobs between 1877 and 1950. Mind you, there were many, many, more – these are the ones that have been documented! AND the number does not include those killed since 1950.

“The Raw Truth” – which, in general, has not been recognized

The structure contains over 800 steel monuments, one for each county in the U.S. where one or more racially related killings took place. The name(s) of the victim(s) is/are “engraved,” i.e. cut-through the steel. As you enter, the first side of the rectangle has the steel monuments hanging with the bottom just off the floor.

Proceeding down the next side of the rectangle (width) you descend an incline and now the hanging monuments become more representative of lynchings

The descent continues down the third side of the rectangle and now the state and county names engraved under the monuments become more obvious

Here are just a few of the many short statements that are found along the walls

There is no hint of retribution in this memorial. This history, these facts, are to educate and move the observer to consider his/her moral compass. This is a slice of American History – America, the “Home of the Free and the Brave.”

Water cascades down the outside wall of the last side of the rectangle, while the steel monuments seem to be lifted toward the sky

There is an opening at the end leading into the center courtyard of the memorial

Just outside the memorial are duplicate steel monuments that can be taken and erected in the states/counties where these tragedies occurred.

OHIO – Richard Dixon, third name from the bottom, was lynched in Clark County OH on March 7, 1904 – that is where we live!

There is a generic monument to the thousands of victims whose names will never be known. In a way, it is like the monument to the Unknown Soldier(s) in Arlington Cemetery VA

Importance of black women during the initial phases of the Civil Rights Movement –

“Hands Up – Don’t Shot”

A Peace and Justice Memorial Center across the street from the Memorial is near completion and will open in early 2019

We walked 0.7mi into downtown Montgomery passing the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University

Court Square Fountain, state capitol in background center at the end of Dexter Ave, one of several locations in Montgomery where thousands of slaves were bought and sold

Frank, a 55-year-old diabetic ex-marine, said he wanted to work but couldn’t find a job. He selected chicken wings, a salad, and hot tea for lunch.

The Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March (54 miles) took place March 21-25, 1965. It began at Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma and ended at the AL State Capitol. The first March attempt took place on March 7th and became known as “Bloody Sunday.” When the marchers reached the end of the Edmund Pettus bridge over the Alabama River in Selma, they were met by a wall of state troopers blocking US 80. The marchers stopped and asked to speak to their leader. They were given two minutes to return to their homes or church. When they did not move, troopers advanced with nightsticks, horses, tear gas, whips, and rubber tubes driving the marchers back through the streets of Selma. Enraged onlookers called for retaliation – the principle of nonviolence was being tested. Leaders convinced them that retaliation would only hurt the movement. US and international news outlets showed the troopers attacking and beating unresisting marchers blinded and gagging from the tear gas.

The Legacy Museum is in downtown Montgomery midway between a slave market and the river dock and train station where tens of thousands of enslaved people were trafficked during our Domestic Slave Trade. It utilizes the latest technology in telling the story of racial injustice in the US. A combined senior ticket for the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum is $7.

Montgomery was the capitol of the Confederate States of America from 2/4 to 5/29/1861 before it was moved to Richmond VA


Had a bowl of Cream of Crab Soup at Wintzell’s Oyster House and headed to Tallahassee FL for the night


1/4/19 F – It took about 2hrs to get to Crystal River State Park on the Gulf Coast. We happened upon a Friends of Crystal River State Park 10am pontoon boat tour at the Visitor Center and signed up.

This is Temple Mound the biggest of six pre-Columbian burial mounds in Crystal River Archaeological State Park

Crystal River is one of the world’s rare spring-fed estuaries

We powered out to the Gulf of Mexico with our volunteer guide pointing out various birds along the way

Kayakers fishing on Shell Island

Manatees are one of the big draws to Crystal River, however, they were still out in the Gulf of Mexico. They come into shore as the Gulf cools in the winter.

Another 2hrs got us to our River Strand condo in Bradenton FL – our home away from home for four weeks. Our friend Nancy allowed us to use her condo for the month of January.

Our brakes were grinding and getting progressively worse to the point that I felt I should not drive the Sequoia. The good news was that there was a Toyota dealer 1.5-miles from our condo. The bad news was that I couldn’t get an appointment until Monday. That meant we were “stranded” for our first weekend. But it was OK because it was only a 3-mile roundtrip walk to Walmart, which allowed us to get provisions for our stay!


1/5 Sat – 1/6 Sun – explored the River Strand condo complex, which is on the Manatee River. It is big, about 1 x 2 miles. There are three nine-hole golf courses, club house, two fitness centers, many tennis/pickle ball courts, two large pools as well as our own heated local pool a short walk away. There is a concrete golf cart path that also provides for miles of comfortable/scenic walking around the complex. Our condo is at ground level overlooking one of numerous large ponds. Lots of wildlife out there, a variety of birds, jumping fish and a family of small furry animals we have not yet identified.


1/7 M – Serbian Christmas, got our wheels back ($500 for rear brakes)! Did further shopping so we could prepare our own meals in the condo. Relaxing at the condo –

Don’t go in the pond!


1/8 Tu – It took about 45min to drive to Bean Point on the northern tip of Anna Maria Island. Walked for 1.5hrs on the beach with Helen collecting shells as usual.

This place is for the birds! Actually, we really liked it. There were relatively few people and it was a laid-back atmosphere. Had a good fish lunch on the Rod and Reel Pier and bought some veggies at the Farmers Market at the Anna Maria City Pier. We will return –


1/9 W – Checked out Cortez Beach, too many people; then drove a short distance to Coquina Beach for a 1.5mi walk and more shells. We browsed the tent craft market that is there every Wednesday.

Drove Rt 789 down the length of Longboat Key (east side of Sarasota Bay) to Lido Key and then returned home


1/10 Th – Condo day, walking, swimming, and fitness center


1/11 F – 44 degrees this morning! Drove a half-hour to De Soto National Memorial, which was closed due to the government shutdown. However, we were able to walk through the grounds and hike about a mile on the trails around the memorial and along the Manatee River. We came prepared to pick up trash, but others had already done a good job. I toured this National Park Unit in 2009 but this was Helen’s first visit. The following pics tell the story –


1/12 Sat – First stop Red Barn Flea Mkt in Bradenton. Next stop Siesta Key.

This guy is for the birds –

Bay Watch meets Golden Girls


1/13 Sun – 9am mass at St Joseph’s, changed and did the Riverwalk in Bradenton

Nice 3mi round-trip walk, thus far, these are the only manatees we have seen

Bradenton is the Spring training site for the Pittsburgh Pirates

Then drove to Emerson Point Preserve on the north side of the Manatee River where we hiked over the Point Replica Mound and then along the beach/mangroves for another mile – trail obstacle


1/14 M – Drove back to Emerson Point Preserve to hike the 1mi Portavant Temple Mound Trail.

Description of early inhabitants

We then did part of the North Restoration Trail, the Observation Tower Trail, part of the Terra Ceia Trail, and the South Restoration Trail for an additional 2mi


1/15 Tu – Spent the day at the John and Mable Ringling Art and Circus Museums, Gardens, and Ca’D’Zan (Ringling home).

We started our visit by doing a self-tour of the first floor of Ca’D’Zan (House of John), the home on Sarasota Bay

Circus Museum – the Ringling and Barnum and Bailey Circuses developed separately and later joined

“Oddities” Billboards

Human Cannon Ball Truck

“Greatest Show on Earth” Mural – 42 x 22 feet, 45 specific performers, 45 animals, and 7 banners

Tibbals Learning Center contains a “HUGE” re-creation of a circus set-up in Knoxville TN – a 42,000-piece circus model, the world’s largest.  This is a partial view from the second floor –

We rushed through the Art Museum,

in order to get back and meet Jan and Dick at the Walmart near our condo


1/16 W – Went back to Emerson Point Preserve with Dick and Jan

Hiked about 2 miles


Hanging out in the preserve


1/17 Th – Lots of thrift stores today. It was a little cool, so Helen bought a coat

Returned to De Soto National Memorial to do the mile hike with Dick and Jan

Then did a short hike to the 40’ observation tower in Robinson Preserve and stopped by the Palma Sola Botanical Park before going to the Rod & Real Pier near Bean Point on Anna Marie Island for lunch


1/18 F – 10am kayaking with I Kayak; launched on South Lido Key and did the Mangrove Tunnel guided 2.5hr tour in Sarasota Bay

Helen launching kayak



Dick entering mangrove tunnel

Jan and Helen

Kayaks allow you to get close to wild life, however, I got water on my lens

Walked around Armand’s Circle, checked out Lido Beach and then searched for sea shells at Turtle Beach on Siesta Key

Jimmy Buffet Condo?



1/19 Sat – Jan and Helen walked the condo complex and I walked 3 miles in nearby Tom Bennett Manatee County Park. The park along I75 and the Manatee River is quite large and has many ponds. I liked the walk around one of the ponds that had about 15 signs with pages from a children’s book that told the story of bees. Also, I saw a few additional types of birds –

Went to Bayfront Park in Sarasota – there was an interesting project illustrated by a series of large signs

Had dinner at Owen’s Fish Camp


1/20 Sun – Church at St. Joseph’s, breakfast at Theresa’s; hung-out at the condo and played games


1/21 M – It took a half hour to drive to the north entrance to Myakka River State Park. The river flows through park wetlands, prairies, hammocks, pinelands, and two shallow lakes.  Note alligator on right

The Myakka Outpost, which is in the middle of the park, is a great place for viewing wildlife. You can also rent canoes there. We saw many birds and some alligators. We saw a flock of rosette spoonbills land and two egrets doing a mating dance, but they were too far away to get good photos. Hiked the Boylston Nature Trail through a hammock along the Myakka River.

Then climbed the Canopy Towers (the taller of the two is 74 feet high)

And did the walkway between them


1/22 Tu – Dick and Jan left this morning and we stayed at the condo for a nice relaxing day


1/23 W – a little food shopping, camera questions answered, sunbathing, walking, . . .


1/24 Th – Bev and Mike arrived about 9:30am, brought apple pie and Champaign!  We played Skip-Bo and Farkle, Helen prepared a salmon salad for lunch, did the Bradenton Riverwalk, aces to kings, Scallop dinner at the condo, they left for home at 6:30


1/25 F – food shopping and thrift shops


1/26 Sat – Helen’s Birthday (74), she did her laps in the heated pool, Tom walked and fitness center, dinner at Edelweiss German restaurant, and “A Star is Born” at the movies


1/27 Sun – church, Theresa’s for breakfast.  It rained all day.  We had hors d’oeuvres at Howard (Nancy’s brother) and Linda’s home, then dinner at the “Old Florida” Linger Lodge – alligator, frog legs, fried green tomatoes for appetizer; blackened catfish and crab cake sandwich for dinner.


1/28 M – Lake Manatee State Park (not worth it); OK hiking at Rye Preserve, Red and Yellow trail about 2 miles; checked out Fort Hamer Park, it is as launch site on the Manatee River.


1/29 Tu – rented a canoe from Ray’s Canoe Hideaway on the Manatee River and paddled upstream for about 5 miles to the dam

We were the only ones on the river today

About 54 degrees when we started at 11:30am and 64 degrees when we returned at 3pm

Lunch stop (Moussaka, baguette, and a coke) on a pristine sand bar – on our 5 mile trip back to the canoe livery


1/30 W – President Trump temporarily ended his Government Shutdown for 3 weeks – so, we returned to De Soto National Memorial.  We were now able to go through the Visitor Center and watch the documentary film of De Soto’s 4,000-mile exploration through what is now the Southeastern US.  Helen said I was a “metal head” – go figure

De Soto arrived at this location from Cuba in 1539 with 622 soldiers, 200 horses, a large herd of pigs, and fierce war dogs. He left 100 men at this location (Camp Ucita) and started on his trail of destruction looking for gold.

He died in 1542 and was buried in the Mississippi River. Sixteen months later his second in command was able to get to a Spanish settlement at the Panuco River in Mexico with only half his original men and no animals. De Soto was ruthless and typical of celebrated conquistadores.

Drove to Perico Island Preserve just W of Bradenton for a nice 1.5-mile hike in 57-degree weather

We then did the 0.5-mile hike and tower in the Neal Preserve on the south side of the island across Manatee Ave

I like the contrast of bird, tree, and sky

I saw what I think was an osprey fly in with its catch of the day.  This pic shows it eating it’s lunch!

Helen swam, I exercised in the Fitness Ctr and helped Nathan (15) with his exercise program. He is a bus boy at Theresa’s Restaurant on Sat and Sun. He served our table each of the last three Sundays for breakfast – surprised him with a $50 tip last Sunday.


1/31 Th – last day of January, packing day (including Thrift Shop treasures), cleaning condo, and shells!  Also, last day for pool and Fitness Ctr.

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