Monday, February 21, 2011

Historic Site and It Pays to Run

If you haven't had the chance to visit the Brown v Board of Education national historic site in Topeka, I would recommend the stop next time you are passing through the Capitol City. Located a couple of blocks off of I-70, the site is housed in the old, formerly all-black Monroe School Building. The permanent exhibits are inspiring, and the current temporary exhibition about school integration in South Carolina is very moving.

I had not been aware that Brown v Board was really 5 lawsuits brought by courageous individuals all over the country that had been rolled into one that was to be heard by the Supreme Court. Reading about the personal sacrifices that pretty seriously marginalized people had made to better their lives, their children's lives, and those of generations to follow, actually brought a tear to my eye. And the videos of adults screaming, pushing, and espousing vileness at little children and young adults who were simply trying to enter buildings to gain knowledge, made me ill.

I also hadn't known that in the early part of the 20th century, Asian had not been allowed to own property in the US. Japanese people were not allowed to become citizens (not forgetting that once they were granted citizenship they were subjected to being put into concentration camps in the US during WWII).

We have come a long way, but we are not more than a generation or two removed from these types of thoughts and behaviors in many parts of the country. Many people in the videos are probably still walking among us. I am hopeful that their feelings have changed with the understanding that by lifting one segment of our population, we really elevate us all.

Anyway, the site takes about an hour, is free, is open 9-5 every day, and serves as a reminder of a dark part of our history that we should not forget.


Now running... After powering though deep snow on the river trails last week with my buddy, Chris, my other buddy, Eric and I decided to try them out again on Sat. The bike clubs had requested that the two-wheeler types not hit the trails in order to avoid creating ruts. That left the trails mainly to runners. Both of us had hit the bottle a bit the night before at separate parties/gatherings, so we weren't going to set any land speed records. But the run turned out to be beautiful. The ground had that kind of moist, solid feel that is easy on the knees and leaves very little imprint on the trail. It was a lovely little jaunt.

On Sunday, I donned shorts and a t shirt (it was 73F on Feb. 20 for goodness sake) and took off running in a very strong wind. I tried to pick a course that move primarily perpendicular to the gale. The run felt good and uneventful, with Joe Jackson and Lucinda Williams blaring in my ears. On my way back, still out in the country, a $5 bill blew in front of me. Without even a slight alteration in pace, I scooped up the Lincoln and continued my run. I did look to my right to make sure no more greenbacks were wafting my direction, and alas, they weren't. So five dollars richer, I finished my Sunday run.

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