A mile or two away, on the same road as The Casa, mentioned in my last post, is another quiet spot for contemplation and meditation. However, I have to say, since I first became aware of this spot in 1993, I find it more sad than anything. I have only been there a few times but I have never come across anyone else visiting. I stopped by there on the way home from The Casa to get a few photos.
This sculpture, That Which Might Have Been, is located at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Phoenix. It is not visible from the road and is back in a lovely, secluded area with benches, a lot of trees, and nice views of the mountains. This is the first time I’ve been there when the pool hasn’t been full but I suppose it’s drained for the summer.
This is what the sculpture represents and why it is such a sad place. I find it a little haunting to look into their faces.
The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing was a racially motivated terrorist attack on September 15, 1963, by members of a Ku Klux Klan group in Birmingham, Alabama. The bombing of the African-American church resulted in the deaths of four girls. Although city leaders had reached a settlement in May with demonstrators and started to integrate public places, not everyone agreed with ending segregation. Other acts of violence followed the settlement. The bombing increased support for people working for civil rights. It marked a turning point in the U.S. civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century and contributed to support for passage of civil rights legislation in 1964.
Four girls: Addie Mae Collins (aged 14), Denise McNair (aged 11), Carole Robertson (aged 14), and Cynthia Wesley (aged 14) were killed in the blast, and 22 additional people were injured, one of whom was Addie Mae Collins’ younger sister, Sarah. Two more African-American youths died that day in Birmingham as a result of riots caused by this incident.
You can read more about this tragic event on Wikipedia, from where the above excerpt was taken.
John Waddell is a well-known Arizona artist, now 88 years old but still creating sculptures. You can find them all over the Phoenix area. Here is a photo of this sculpture with the pool filled with water. From his website, “In the process of creating these sculptures, Waddell began to shape the principle that would set the direction for his future works, that of ‘the beauty of individual differences.’ ”
It’s easy to look back and think that we’ve come so far since then but then, other times, it doesn’t really seem like much has changed at all.