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Reflections in the South

Thanks to a friend's wedding, Lauren, Grayson, Vivian, and I packed our bags and headed to Atlanta, Georgia to celebrate this wonderful occasion. 

We stopped briefly to visit our close family friends and traveled to Eufaula, Alabama- a population of about  13,000 residents! Our stay was a relaxing retreat in a beautifully restored house, complete with a stunning pool.

While the water was a bit too cold for the adults to enjoy, the kids had no problem diving in and taking full advantage of this recreational gem. As adults, we found joy in watching them burn off their Zoom Zooms!  

As I sat beside the pool, Eufaula's history, particularly the state of Alabama, was not lost on me.  Eufaula weaves a tale deeply connected to its cotton-centric economy and the dark legacy of slavery, with wealth built on the backbreaking labor of enslaved African Americans in the rich "Black Belt" soil. As the Civil War concluded, peanuts emerged as beacons of resilience and change in Southern agriculture, including in Eufaula. This pivot to peanut cultivation rejuvenated the depleted land and diversified the post-slavery economy, marking a significant shift in the region's path to recovery and transformation. The stately homes and structures, funded by the cotton economy, now stand as silent witnesses to Eufaula's evolution from a history steeped in slavery to a present embracing change and resilience.

Sitting atop these steps, watching the cars buzz by, my thoughts drifted through the layers of history surrounding me. At this moment, I felt a profound sense of gratitude and honor to live as a Black man in 2024.  

After soaking up Eufaula for a few days, we hit Route 431 north to Atlanta. Our journey led us to Morehouse College, a prestigious historically Black college known for molding leaders since 1867. A visit to Morehouse wouldn't be complete without honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hearing Grayson recite "The Greatest Speech of the 20th Century - I Have a Dream" was a highlight.

The trip could not be completed without also visiting Spelman University.  Founded in 1881 in Atlanta, Spelman College is a leading institution for Black women, known for its high standards and commitment to creating leaders. It's where countless women are shaped into change-makers across various industries.  Vivian wanted to see where all of the pretty Black girls attended college.

Watching Grayson and Vivian explore Atlanta, Lauren and I were struck by how our journey through Virginia and the South had enriched our family's bonds.

We reminisced about the friendships we've built in Washington, DC, and beyond. Yet, as we made our way to the Atlanta Airport, the kids' excitement over their Atlanta escapades quickly faded, replaced by eager anticipation of returning to their own beds, friends, and the familiar comforts of home in the Pacific Northwest. For Lauren and me, this trip served as a precious pause for recharging, reflecting, and reconnecting, readying us for our routine life back in Seattle, WA.

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