This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of U.S. Civil Rights Trail. All opinions are 100% mine.
Travelling and exploring the long road to freedom has been made easier with the help of the newly introduced Civil Rights Trail, which aims to bridge the complicated past and struggle for civil liberties in America with the conscience of the present, planting seeds of progress and awareness. Over 100 attractions across 14 states make up the trail including churches, courthouses, schools, museums, and other landmarks. Pieced together through the collaboration of the National Park Service and the state tourism boards that make up Travel South, the Civil Rights trail is primarily in the Southern states where activists challenged segregation in the 1950s and 1960s to advance social justice.
Visitors from around the world are invited to share in the extraordinary tales of perseverance in the face of racism, segregation, and illegal voting practices while standing in the footsteps of those that would sacrifice life and limb in the pursuit of equality. The Civil Rights Trail pays special attention to the experiences of the protestors, foot soldiers, and community leaders by providing the first-hand stories and recollections of some the pioneers that rocked a nation and started a global dialog.
The Civil Rights Trail, full of gripping and soul-stirring history, aims to educate national and international travelers the regarding a dark, but significant period in recent American history. Careful and special emphasis has been given while compiling the list of landmarks on the newly created site, which comprises details and facts about each location and the role it played in the tapestry of the United States.
Among them is the infamous Lorraine Motel. This past summer, I had the honor of stepping into one of the most iconic locations in Memphis, TN and in U.S. History. Now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum and the most visited restored civil rights landmark in America, the Lorraine motel is best known as the location of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s assassination 50 years ago. During the segregation era, the motel was of the few overnight establishments open to both black and white patrons. It’s proximity to Stax Records, filled its rooms with musicians and legends of music, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and Otis Redding.
The tour will also take travelers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, in Selma, Alabama where marchers set out off the state’s capital in Montgomery and were met with a brutality prompting civil rights leaders to seek court protection under the First Amendment. In the nation’s capital you will find The Lincoln Memorial, the site of civil demonstrations where on its steps Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. While in D.C., stop by the Supreme Court and site of the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education which made it illegal to segregate public schools.
A little closer to my home in Charlotte, North Carolina, you’ll find Woolworth’s in Greensboro. Now the home of the International Civil Right Museum, Woolworths made civil rights history when four freshmen from the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina took vacant seats at the store’s “whites-only” lunch counter and launched a nationwide movement. The aftermath of Woolworth set off a domino effect that traveled south to Rock Hill, South Carolina, where 9 African-American men were jailed after staging a sit-in at a segregated McCrory’s lunch counter downtown.
“What happened here changed the world.” Now walk in the footsteps of the heroic women and men who changed the status quo and ushered in an era of social reform, paving the way and blazing a trail for generations to come. Experience history in person and embark on a journey of meaningful discovery and memories, where the past enriches the present and inspires the future.
Please visit U.S. Civil Rights Trail for an online guide to the compelling and historic destinations that shaped the social justice movement.