Alabama and 13 other states, along with the District of Columbia, joined together to debut the U.S. Civil Rights Trail on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Stretching from the Topeka, Kan. schools known for the Brown v. Board of Education case against school segregation in 1954 to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. where thousands rallied in 1963., the Civil Rights Trail is a tourism website and campaign that highlights more than 130 historic sites — museums, churches, courthouses and other civil rights landmarks — linked to the modern civil rights movement.
Visitors can explore the website through its interactive map, search by state or experience the movement by selecting from a number of civil rights topics. The website also features a timeline of significant dates and a photo gallery.
Nearly 30 sites in eight Alabama cities are included in the trail. Ten in Montgomery, seven in Selma, and four in both Birmingham and Tuskegee. Tuscaloosa, Scottsboro, Monroeville and Anniston each have one.
Gov. Kay Ivey made the official announcement of the Civil Rights trail on MLK Day at King’s former church.
“Today, I was pleased to announce the State of Alabama’s Tourism Department has partnered with other state tourism departments across the Southeast to launch the United States Civil Rights Trail which will link more than 130 landmarks across the nation. I want to encourage everyone to visit the website CivilRightsTrail.com to learn more about these landmarks that played significant roles in the Civil Rights Movement,” Ivey posted on Facebook after the announcement.”
“There’s a lot to see and it’s impossible for somebody to see and do it all in one trip so the goal is to encourage people to cross state lines and to see other parts of the south that they haven’t seen before,” said Lee Sentell, Alabama’s tourism director.
Individual Southern states have promoted civil rights tourist destinations for year, according to Sentell this is the first time states have banded together in a single push to bolster civil rights tourism.
“There’s some nice itineraries because you can’t learn everything about civil rights by just going to one site,” Sentell added. “Everyone wants to showcase their landmarks. For the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, we’re saying ‘What happened here changed the world.”
Below the 29 sites in Alabama:
- Freedom Riders National Monument
- 16th Street Baptist Church
- Bethel Baptist Church
- Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
- Kelly Ingram Park
- Old Courthouse Museum
- Alabama State Capitol
- City of St. Jude
- Civil Rights Memorial Center
- Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church
- Dexter Parsonage Museum
- First Baptist Church on Riley Street
- Frank M. Johnson Jr. Federal Building and United States Courthouse
- Freedom Rides Museum
- Holt Street Baptist Church
- Rosa Parks Museum
- The Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center
- Brown Chapel AME Church
- Edmund Pettus Bridge
- Lowndes Interpretive Center
- National Voting Rights Museum and Institute
- Selma Interpretive Center
- Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail
- The Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Foundation and Museum
- Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama
- Butler Chapel AME Zion Church
- Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
- Tuskegee History Center
- Tuskegee University