Among the six or seven National Parks in Alabama, Paul & I have been to three. First on our list was the Tuskegee Institute (the only Institute to receive National Park status) with Moton Airfield, home of the Tuskegee Airmen, across town. We covered only 20 miles that day but we received a greater appreciation in our discoveries of Black History and the many prominent leaders in this area that haven’t made the history books.
Our first discovery was the intriguing and simple life of George W. Carver. Born with a desire to learn and a curiosity about nature, he became known to have a deeper relationship with the natural and agricultural world. Under Booker T. Washington’s command, Carver taught at the prestigious Institute in Tuskegee and both pioneered education that influenced national standards and practices.
All whom knew him revered at his simple life and total fascination with natural beauty. When someone would take notice of the fresh flower in his lapel (replaced daily) he would lean in and say “Let me tell you something about this flower.” He had no need for money and grew most of his own food. He found simple solutions to lifes problems with plants and their composition. He invested once in his life in a bank that failed shortly thereafter. He responded when asked what he thought about loosing all hismoney with “Well, I guess it’s with someone that needed it more than me.”
Only a few miles away is Moton Field. Many African-Americans during the civil rights movement applied for the armed services. A majority of them were rejected and only a few were allowed into an ‘experimental group’ titled The Tuskegee Airmen. These airmen fought for their country and their own rights. The National Park exhibit was closed for improvements this year, however, we received VIP status and were given a tour around the hangers. These hangers were filled with vintage aircraft and tools owned by the airmen. We truly appreciated the chance to learn the history of these men.