Tourist’s guide to Civil Rights

A two-hour car ride offers sites of the movement

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The Civil Rights Movement held the eyes of the nation, but more specifically the south. This was a time when African-Americans were fighting for their right to be equal in the eyes of their white counterpart. Many sites today are dedicated to that movement to remember how far society has come and to encourage regular discussion of how to continue diversity acceptance.

Here, we’ve gathered a list of monuments, museums and sites that were integral to the movement. We encourage those who haven’t visited these locations to do so during Black History Month as a signal of remembrance, respect and opportunity to learn something we weren’t necessarily taught in school.

Alabama

Scottsboro – The Scottsboro Boys Museum

The trial came before the Civil Rights Movement, but it still played an important role in the way the two races were viewed. Scottsboro has a museum dedicated to those nine falsely accused black men who suffered from the wrongful sexual harassment accusations.

Anniston – Freedom Riders National Monument

Anniston is the city where a mob set fire to a bus that was carrying Freedom Riders inside. A monument is set up in the town to honor those people who were on the bus.

Birmingham – 16th Street Baptist Church

This church was the site of a bombing in 1963 that led to the deaths of four young African-American girls. The church is still active today.

Birmingham – Bethel Baptist Church

Bethel Baptist was the location for the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights at one point. The church has been bombed three different times.

Birmingham – Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

The museum holds a replica of a Freedom Riders bus and the jail cell where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “Letter From Birmingham Jail.”

Birmingham – Kelly Ingram Park

The park contains statues dedicated to the struggles of civil rights. It was also once the spot for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to gather.

Selma – Brown Chapel AME Church

This was the first African Methodist Episcopal church in Alabama. This was also the location where marchers prepared to march to Montgomery, which was later dubbed Bloody Sunday.

Selma – Edmund Pettus Bridge

Bloody Sunday occurred on this bridge after marchers were brutally beaten for marching for their right to vote.

Selma – Lowndes Interpretive Center

The interpretive center serves as a site to commemorate those who marched from Selma to Washington, D.C., and is dedicated to those who lost their lives on the way.

Selma – National Voting Rights Museum and Institute

This museum is to display the stories and first-hand accounts of those who marched to Montgomery.

Selma – Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail

This trial marks the 54-mile long path those marchers walked to Montgomery over the course of five days.

Montgomery – Civil Rights Memorial Center

The center was built as a memorial for those that lost their lives between 1954 and 1968 for civil rights. Exhibits, a theatre, educational activities and the Wall of Tolerance are at the memorial.

 

Tennessee

Memphis – Clayborn Temple

This was a location for the Memphis sanitation worker strike.

Memphis – Mason Temple Church of God in Christ

Dr. King addressed the sanitation strike in this church. This would later be known as the “Mountaintop” speech. This was the last speech Dr. King gave before his assassination.

Memphis – National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel

This museum has exhibits from the 17th century to the present day that tracks the progression of the Civil Rights Movement.

Nashville – Civil Rights Room at the Nashville Public Library

The museum highlights the Nashville sit-in movement.

Nashville – Clark Memorial United Methodist Church

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was held here in 1961 by Dr. King. The church is still in use today.

Nashville – Davidson County Courthouse and Witness Walls

The Witness Walls depict the confrontation by student leaders to Nashville’s mayor months proceeding the lunch counter sit-in and boycotts protesting segregation.

Nashville – Fifth Avenue Historic District: Woolworth on 5th

This restaurant was part of the sit-ins during the 1960s and one of the original “five and dime” stores

Nashville – Fisk University

Fisk University was the first African-American university to become accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Nashville – Griggs Hall at American Baptist College

Griggs Hall was the first of the American Baptist College buildings to be built in 1923. This school was the college for many of those that participated in the sit-in movement.