In March 2020 the plug got pulled and a dark cloud of pandemic pain enveloped the planet. In March 2021, with a fragile flicker of light appearing at the end of this once-in-a-century tunnel, Lori my wife of almost four decades, and I took our vaccinated selves on a two-day drive from New York City to South Carolina.

Don’t get nervous. I didn’t wake up and see Alexis DeTocqueville staring back at me in my bathroom mirror. I am just a retired 68 year old with the Moderna vaccine on board, who headed south across state lines for a week…


An unpublished letter to the NYT about former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton’s myopic comments about Black Lives Matter in his 5/30/21 Maureen Dowd interview.

To the Editor

Bill Bratton’s take away from the George Floyd murder, in his interview with Maureen Dowd (Ex-Commish with the Dish 5/30/21) , was that one cop’s actions set policing and race relations back decades and now cops are unhappy about the criticism. His comments reflect the flawed nationwide response of police and their unions to feel sorry for themselves and blame others instead of addressing the systemic training and supervision problem which has resulted in the unnecessary use of deadly force in interactions with unarmed black men that can no longer be hidden from public scrutiny thanks to citizen videos.

Robert Salzman

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/29/opinion/bill-bratton-police-reform.html


Day 7 Last day / Nashville

57 years after the Civil Rights Act -Jim Crow 2.0?

Nashville was the last stop on our tour.

In 1960 sit-ins targeted segregated Nashville lunch counters followed by arrests and large demonstrations. Nashville was the first city in the segregated South to integrate its lunch counters.

The beautiful public library downtown, designed by Robert A.M. …


Day 5 Selma

In the 1930’s Lori’s dad, who died two years ago at 102, loved his teenage summer visits to his wild cousins in Selma, Alabama. According to a family story, one of the cousins later got married but forgot to mention to his wife that he was Jewish. Turns out she was antisemitic. A few years later when she found out, they got divorced. There just might be a little more to it but that’s the story.

We spent the afternoon with members of that family. In the final stretch of the long drive from Memphis I called one of the…


Day 4 Memphis

Graceland

The Mississippi Delta
Was shining like a national guitar
I am following the river
Down the highway
Through the cradle of the Civil War

I’m going to Graceland, Graceland
Memphis, Tennessee
I’m going to Graceland
Poor boys and pilgrims with families
And we are going to Graceland . . .

Graceland /Paul Simon

Elvis was a musical giant who changed the world and blew past many boundaries including the limits of schlocky taste.


Day 3 Memphis

Sun Records

Memphis is a majority black city of 1,150,000 on the Mississippi in southwest Tennessee. In the early days of the Civil Rights movement a few hungry, broke and gifted young white musicians fell in love with the music that evolved from slavery and the black religious experience. They took the essence and spirit of that music across the Jim Crow divide, repackaged it for white America and rocketed to legendary stardom. It all began at a tiny little run-down studio in Memphis — Sun Records.

Jerry Lee Lewis (Great Balls of Fire), Carl Perkins (Blue Suede Shoes), Elvis…


Day 2 — Little Rock

When we signed up online for the Park Service Tour of the National Historic Site at Little Rock Central High School we didn’t expect to be moved to tears. Then Rebecca, a young Park Service guide with a historian’s depth of knowledge and unafraid to be passionate about racial injustice and inequality gave us a two-hour talk and tour. The talk started with the arrival of the first enslaved human beings in 1619, touched on the story of Jefferson with 200 slaves, who freed only the ones that he had fathered. She included the 13th 14th and 15th amendments and…


Day 1- Little Rock

My wanderlust tends to be limited to adjacent zip codes and places that don't require a pre-trip visit to an infectious disease doc. The pandemic modified that rule a little and today we landed at the Bill and Hillary Clinton Airport in Little Rock Arkansas to start a one week Civil Rights History Road Trip that Lori cobbled together thanks to some southern family history and suggestions from friends.

The one less annoying thing about aging is getting to watch the pendulum of history travel between darkness and light. The last election pushed back the darkness…


The NYC Democratic mayoral primary, also known as the election, is creeping up on us like a sleeping big deal as we all crawl out of the post pandemic fog. Maybe the fog comes along with the new normal of waking up each day without morning sickness over the latest presidential brain fart.

The hollow slogans of the Democratic candidates have as much to do with the reality of running New York as “Tide Knows Fabrics Best” has to do with how clothes get clean.

The Mayor of New York has power and control over this town similar to the power and control of a rodeo bull rider fighting to not get thrown into the dirt. When the new Mayor is sworn in on January 1, 2022 he or she will be gripping the reins to avoid getting tossed and trampled by this town’s roster of loud and cranky power bases, including;

  • the…

Bob Salzman

Retired attorney

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