What made me want to visit Alabama

Martin Luther King Jr. / AP file photo

I’ve never wanted to go to Alabama. Until now.

I started reading “A march into history” by Scott Vogel of The Washington Post because of the subhead, believe it or not:

“Alabama women who lived it help give a 21st-century spirit to the civil rights struggle.”

The black-and-white photo showed only males, so I was intrigued by the idea of a story about strong women previously unrecognized by history.

It’s an article about why you should visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute museum and research center. But in several strokes of pure genius, Vogel treats it like a feature story.

Instead of, “The museum features the desk at which Martin Luther King wrote his plans for the bus boycott,” you read, “She shows King’s office in the basement, then allows me a peek – not part of the public tour – at the blond wood desk on which he planned the Montgomery bus boycott.”

You’re there, taking “a gut-wrenching trip” through history that the writer makes personal.

Think about Vogel’s approach the next time you write a press release or newsletter article.

Here are three links to the same story, in case one doesn’t work:

Indianapolis Star

Seattle Times

Miami Herald