Civil rights is one of the themes running through the American South. To follow its thread is to relive its lows and highs, and to comprehend how those lows invoked the attention and energy to power positive change. Take a trip to Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail and you’ll meet the soldiers of the movement – children, colleagues, clergy and others – in memorials, museums and historic sites along the way.
The heart of the Civil Rights Movement during the mid-20th century was founded in Alabama. Go behind the scenes of the lives of those that started a movement. From Rosa Parks’ refusal to take the back seat to the courageous Freedom Riders, Alabama is home to some of the most pivotal moments in history. Here, you can encounter an era of triumph and tragedy. You can celebrate moments that not only redefined the state but also the nation and world forever. There are many interactive exhibits and museums dedicated to the Movement allowing you to reflect on the past and look to a future where all are indeed equal.
Fly directly into Birmingham’s Shuttlesworth International Airport (named after civil rights activist Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth). Your journey will deposit you in the heart of a vibrant, heritage-rich city. The Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail winds through downtown, marking significant locations along the Civil Rights march routes. Designed as a self-guided tour, the route includes signs marking actual civil rights events that occurred on the very streets that are a part of this trail.
Make your first stop the Birmingham Civil Rights District, where you can see demonstrators’ gathering points at Kelly Ingram Park, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which holds the door and bars of the cell from which Martin Luther King, Jr. composed “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and footage of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Nearby, visit the Fourth Avenue North Historic District, the black business district during the King era, and the 16th Street Baptist Church, where lively Sunday services have changed little from the days when King was a visitor.
Source: Visit Alabama