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Birmingham, AL

Of course we looked for a BBQ place as soon as we got to Birmingham. We had this dish that had beets greens, pulled pork, fried onions and grits.  Then we went to this place called Workplay.  It’s a creative work space geared towards musicians.  They were staging a local version of an American Idol-like show that night- three finalist were from Birmingham so that probably makes local musicians hopeful.  Our favorite act was the guy creating loops on his ukulele to create a Christmas medley.

Birmingham grew into a city because it was an iron producing town- all three components needed to make iron were all there: iron ore, limestone and coal.  But as iron production in the US fell, B’ham also stopped production.  Sloss Furnace is a remnant of that time.  It’s a very cool industrial graveyard that has most of it’s parts and buildings still intact so you can walk around and see how iron was actually made there.

Later we went to the Civil Right Institute and learned a lot about the movement in Alabama and how very delayed AL was in granting those rights. It’s crazy to think that only a decade before I was born, African Americans weren’t able to freely vote in AL.  Crazy, huh?  Speaking of crazy, we went to a Republican debate watch party hosted by Alabama Constitutional Conservatives and the Alabama Minority GOP.  It was their watch party and Christmas party.  They asked us as soon as we got there which candidate we liked and we were like… well honestly we like Bernie but we wanted to watch the debate with republicans to see how they think and just wanted to meet some different-minded people.  They were totally cool with it and really welcomed us.  There were about 20-30 people- whites and African Americans- there throughout the night and they all seemed like nice reasonable people you’d want as your neighbors.  But man…as the debate got started, I realized that most people in the room were Trump supporters!  They were curious about why I liked Bernie and also told me why they liked Trump. Well all I can say is that it was an interesting night getting a pulse on southern state republicans that night.  God help us all if they get their way.

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