11 June 2005

the tour: to the best of my memory

NOTE: What follows is a back-dated daily account of the 2005 civil rights tour, a tour I've been on the last 2 years. The purpose of this is to give people a sense of what the tour entails, as well as some insight as to the mindset behind being a one-man crew hundreds of miles from the rest of your equipment. I'm essentially on board to document the trip on film. No promises on the quality of writing. You can read newspaper accounts of the trip here

The buses--2 of them this year--leave Beaver Falls, PA at 5.30am on this Saturday morning. Because this is normally when I go to bed, the early morning doesn't bother me all that much, and I've got too much caffeine in my system to notice anyway. It's an odd tradition for this trip that I have to skip something important the day we leave, and this year is no different. Levi and Frankie's wedding is later today, but I'll have to console myself with the $25 I won playing poker during the bachelor party.
Anyway, the buses roll and several hours later we're in Greensboro, NC, standing in front of the Woolworths where 4 college students desegregated the lunch counter. Then it's across town to talk to some people who's names I don't remember off-hand as they talk about racial reconciliation in Greensboro and there's some haunting clips of a peaceful march in the 70's that ended in violence when the Klan showed up.
The main speaker is supposed to be wearing a lapel mic, but he's holding it, then he's twirling it around. I have to switch over to the wild mic and watch him out of my one eye as I'm filming, terrified as to what sort of damage he's doing. When he's done, the mic is still in one piece and we head to our first hotel, in Greenville, SC. Normally in Greenville I get a chance to hang out with my friend Matt from back home, but sadly he's away for the weekend. Oh well.

Pat & Cliff
Cliff, Pat, and others view the site of the old Woolworths

The Woolworths facade. They are in the process of turning this site into an interactive museum

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