Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Theresa Burroughs - A Cry for Help

(photo taken by Robert Laramie, http://www.rjlphoto.com/RJLPhoto/Welcome.html)
Theresa burroughs is a fascinating individual. I met her in 2011 as a member of the Ultimate Black Belt Test while doing community work for the H.E.R.O. organization. Tom Callos, coach of the UBBT, was working with Pam Dorr, Excutive Director of H.E.R.O. building homes for Greensboro residents in need. I decided to make a short documentary about Mrs. Theresa Burroughs in the spirit of the Wisdom of the Elders series. Mrs. Burroughs runs the Safe House Black History Museum in Greensboro, Alabama. the Safe House is dedicated to Alabama black history, specifically the civil rights movement, of which, Mrs. Burroughs was a fierce participant.

(photo taken by Theresa Burroughs of Dr. King arriving in Greensboro, Alabama)

The Safe House is a place where Martin Luther King Jr. rested one night after speaking in Greensboro. The Klan knew he'd be there, so they rode around town in pickup trucks wearing hood and cloak. It was night time and the Klan members had the cab lights on in the trucks so everyone could see the shotguns they carried. Mrs. Burroughs said it was pretty intimidating, but "the night was black and so were we." The black citizens of Greensboro had hidden in the shadows and brush surrounding the house and weren't going to let anything happen to Dr. King. Obviously, they prevailed that night or the museum wouldn't be called the Safe House, but to hear the details you should take a short trip down to Greensboro and let her tell the story. Her stories are alluring and she's about as charismatic as people come. It's one thing to be in an historical place, but it's an entirely different thing to have a living part of that history take you back into those moments in time. Mrs. Burroughs started organizing for the movement at 17, was arrested a total of 6 times, and was one of the first to cross Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, which means, she was one of the first to be beaten down by Alabama state troopers. she has an abundance of stories attached to her badges of honor. She'd love for you to come visit and share - that's why the Safe House Museum is open. The museum is being renovated by three young architects from the Rural Studio. To give you a preview, here's a recording by story corps of Mrs. Burroughs telling her daughter about registering to vote.

...and here is the location of the safe house:

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