The new and improved Woolworth’s sit-in lunch counter
In today’s New York Times, writer Shaila K. Dewan examines a newfound impetus among white southerners to begrudgingly reflect on their communities’ roles in the civil rights movement which occurred many decades earlier. Is this due to a changing of the guard? An effort by younger generations to atone for the sins of their parents? Nah, come on, you’re entertaining some pretty feeble guesses there…the correct incentive is, of course, greed.
It has not been easy for communities to embrace a past laced with shame and violence. “Tourism has been forced on these places,” said Jim Carrier, a writer from Montgomery, Ala., whose “Traveler’s Guide to the Civil Rights Movement” was published by Harcourt in January. “It’s not like they put out a sign one day and said, ‘Come on down and see our civil rights history.’ It’s in response to people coming down here, lugging big history books, looking for these places.”
The lure of tourism money has helped overcome the shame.
As a result, a handful of various groups in these areas have been putting forth initiatives for museums, monuments, and such that pay tribute to the era’s struggles and, oftentimes, to specific landmarks that played a prominent role in the movement, such as the bus stop where Rosa Parks famously held her ground.
Museum gift shops bring in a good business, of course, so we’re not knocking their ambitions in that regard, but think of the piles upon piles of cash that could be brought in by a goddamned Six Flags Civil Rights Memorial Park!
Included in this hypothetical RFP for a Six Flags-themed entertainment and water park spectacular:
Special “sit-in”-themed lunch counters, where you can dine on the finest in period-correct malts, shakes, and fries, so long as you drink from the properly-labeled “Colored Only” fountains
I Have a Dreamland, modeled after Disney’s giant EPCOT globe, wherein visitors are taken on a guided tour of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s notable exploits, culminating in a thrilling assassination outside a mock hotel
Ride the ‘Back of the Bus’-coaster, the wild up and down ride to freedom! And remember, they say with roller coasters, the biggest thrills are always in the back!
Experience the exploits of actual walking and talking Animatronic White Racists…for the first time ever, you, too, can feel what it’s like to be called a n*gger, or to have this term impolitely muttered under robotic breaths as you enter or leave the room
Oh, and don’t forget the water park:
Enjoy our climate controlled wave pool for the Brown vs. the Surf Board Experience!
And don’t forget to leave before getting your very own Fire Hose Blast! What a thrill!