For this blog category, “Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks,” each day between December 1 and 25, I take a pic of a state park ornament on our Travel Tree and briefly highlight that park
Located in northeast Georgia near Elberton, Richard B. Russell State Park borders 26,650 acre Lake Russell.
Lake Russell served as the practice site for rowing during the 1996 Summer Olympics.
A meandering lakeside nature trail leads to one of Georgia’s oldest steel pin bridges. Come on, I’ll show you.
One thing that gets on my last nerve about Robert is that when we are on our daily walks, he will often stop to take yet another picture and forget (?) to tell me that he has stopped. He thinks I should “pay more attention” (uh huh, right) and notice! Isn’t that foolish? As I am often in a blissful world of my own, I continue walking until either A: I hear him yelling somewhere behind me in the distance, “Neal, where ARE you going?” (like it’s odd that I’m actually walking on my walk) or B: I forget that he is with me and have a jolly solo saunter.
I can’t remember when or where we found each other after the above separation at Richard B. Russell. But I do remember what a cool state park it is.
I hear a few of you asking, “Who the heck is/was Richard B. Russell? Well, the story darkens considerably with that question. But it needs to be asked and answered.
Russell served as Georgia’s 66th governor, followed by nearly forty years in the U.S. Senate. He was also “a founder and leader of the conservative coalition that that dominated Congress from 1937 to 1963. He was for decades a leader of Southern opposition to the civil rights movement.” [Wikipedia]
Several questions come to me:
* Why does this juxtaposition frustrate me so very much: that I can have such a fun time at this beautiful state park and then be bamboozled by the racist legacy of its name?
* Should Robert and I even hang this named ornament on our Travel Tree?
* Is it possible to love the park yet find its name both negative and problematic?
* How/why on earth do difficult issues of race, equity and historical documentation find their way even onto our Travel Tree?
Such hanging questions.