Friday, December 16, 2011

Richmond Was at the Center of the Civil War

Richmond was the site of many battles in this war that defined the nation.  It was the capitol of the Confederacy, home of the iron works that produced the most cannon and ammunition in the South, and gateway to Southern territory.  There are two terrific museums on the Civil War located right next to each other at the Tredegar Iron Works, and I recommend both of them.

A cannon outside the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar Ironworks in Richmond.

This one is inside the museum, where a class was taking notes on the exhibit.

A scupture expressing the agony of brothers who fought on opposite sides of the conflict.

A mourning dress for wives of soldiers killed.

A wonderful National Park Service ranger.

More views of what's left of the Tredegar Iron Works, which supplied the Confederacy with most of its cannons (above and below).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Let's Do the Charleston

Charleston is a pretty city, though I liked Savannah better because its historic district is concentrated within one square mile, including 24 historic squares with statues, fountains, live oaks and Spanish moss.  But Charleston ain't bad.

This is one of the cannons that probably fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, starting the American Civil War.

Jermel President and his son, Jermel, Jr., at his aunt's holistic soulfood cafe, Alluette's.  My fried fish and collards were superb!  When I asked him about racism in Charleston, Jermel said, "There is no black or white, there's one situation.  And if you don’t understand that, you get caught up in that.  If it rains tomatoes, we’ll make Bloody Mary's.  Whatever goes on you just have to be effective and deal with it."  He played pro basketball and now coaches and runs a non-profit, DAE, which  works with student athletes, helping with the transition from high school to college. 
A T-shirt in a Charleston shop window that shows the Native American perspective on the Euro-American invasion from the East.

My quest to bond better with dogs on this trip was rewarded by Saatchi, who loved to hang out in the Charleston hostel.  Saatchi is part Havana Silk Dog and part Shih-Tzu.  She was independent-spirited, like a cat, which endeared her to me.

Now there's a bond!  That's Saatchi with her master, Nicole, who ran the hostel.

Multi-million-dollar homes on the waterfront of Charleston.

The front door to the Aiken-Rhett house, formerly the luxurious residence of slave-owning whites.  Behind the door is a marble staircase with wrought iron bannisters and mahogany trim.  I wasn't allowed to take pictures indoors.

This is the staircase for slaves to enter the house with food, clean laundry, and whatever else the Aiken family wanted.