Weeden House Museum – Huntsville, Alabama

I throughly enjoyed my visit to the Weeden House Museum.  There are a lot of interesting things to see and the tour guide did a fabulous job.

The Weeden House was built in 1819, by H.C. Bradford.  The intricate woodwork and the federal architectural style is stunning.  The Weeden family owned the home from 1845 to 1956.

Maria Howard Weeden (1846-1905) lived in this house her entire life.  She was a poet and an artist.  Maira was particularly interested in the lives of the black people she encountered on a regular basis.  She was bothered by the way they were treated and wanted to give them a voice in the world.

Maria Howard Weeden painted realistic portraits of the black people, instead of the cartoonish images that were popular during the Reconstruction period.

Maria also spent hours talking to the black people she painted, so she could learn their life stories.

Maria used poetry to expose the horrible circumstances of their lives.  The rhythm and cadence reflected the positive personalities of the people, in spite of their lifelong suffering.

Maria Howard Weeden was truly a woman ahead of her time.

Oakwood Historic Slave Cemetery

There is a monument at the Oakwood Historic Slave Cemetery in honor of the slaves buried on the property.

The slaves were viewed as sub-human, so they were placed in graves with no headstones or makers of any kind.  There is no way to know who is buried here or even the exact number of people buried on this land.

We all know about the horrible existence of many slaves.  They were traded like cattle, beaten by their owners, and had less rights than my dogs do today.

I like to go to the cemetery from time to time.  It helps me remember the past and what can happen when we start judging people based on their race, religion, ethnic group, sexual orientation, or anything else that may make that person different from us.

 

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Yellow Bluff Fort – Historic State Park

Thursday morning, Malia and I were ready hours before our scheduled time to board the ship, so we decided to do a little more exploring.

We went to Yellow Bluff Fort, which is a historic state park in Jacksonville, Florida.  The park is dedicated to the Confederate soldiers that fought and died trying to maintain control of Jacksonville.

The Union forces were able to seize control of Yellow Bluff, which was an encampment and not an actual fort.  This allowed the Union Military to access the ports in the area around Yellow Bluff and was an essential part of successfully take control of Florida.

Battle for Decatur, Alabama

Decatur is located on the banks of the Tennessee River.  During the Civil War, it was a key transportation point, because both the Memphis and Charleston railroads crossed the Tennessee River in Decatur.  Decatur also had a national road (US Highway 31) that went through the city.

The Confederates were determined to stop the Union Army from taking the city.  They knew without Decatur it would be extremely difficult for the Union to get supplies, artillery, and reinforcements to their troops.

The Confederate Army fought fiercely for four days with General Hood in command.  General Hood was confident that Decatur would not fall to the Union Army.  He said, Decatur was a “hard nut to crack.”  General Hood employed the use of mounted troops, gunboats, and a vast number of infantrymen.

General Robert Granger was in command of the Union troops, which included the 14th United States Colored Troops (USCT) led by Colonel Thomas Morgan.  The USCT was able to drive back the Confederate troops and take control of the city.

Most of Decatur was destroyed during the war and only five buildings remained.  Four of those buildings are still standing today:  the Old State Bank, the Dancy-Polk House, the Todd House, and the McEntire Home.

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Source:  Decatur Convention and Visitors Bureau