The city of Montgomery, Alabama has a rich heritage when it comes to the American Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The famous 54-mile right to vote march from Selma to the state capital in 1965 made Montgomery “The Birthplace of Civil Rights.”
The centerpiece of Montgomery’s civil rights landmarks is the Rosa Parks Library and Museum located on Montgomery Street. The bottom floor of the Museum contains permanent exhibits that chronicle the first twenty years of the civil rights struggle, beginning with the arrest of Rosa Parks.
Civil Rights Memorial, located in downtown Montgomery, is an outdoor venue. The memorial allows for quiet reflection of the struggles of people that were an integral part of the movement during the American Civil Rights era. Students will be able to read short descriptions of key events and brief biographies of persons who sacrificed a great deal in the name of racial equality.
The Dexter Baptist Church was the site of the first major gathering that led to the Bus Boycott of 1955-56. This church was also the first pulpit occupied full-time by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was in the sanctuary of this church that plans for a boycott of Montgomery’s bus system was first announced to the general public in response to the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her seat on a city bus in 1955. The church features murals that depict the events of those days and Dr. King’s ministry while in Montgomery.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, formed in 1969, continues to fight for the rights of persons that have little or no resources to protect their legal rights. Within the walls of the building are histories of the Center’s creation during the American civil rights era, as well as some of the landmark cases it has won over the years. The SPLC provides the grounds for the Civil Rights Memorial and also supports the further development of civil rights landmarks throughout the downtown and midtown sections of Montgomery.
Alabama State University was one of the first institutions of higher learning created for African Americans in the Reconstruction period after Civil War. The University maintains an excellent collection of civil rights records, pictures, books, newswires, and television footage. Here students can see live footage of such important events as the Freedom March bus tours of the early 1960s as they stopped in Montgomery, as well as the historic March from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.
Another civil rights landmark under development is the Martin Luther King home, where Dr. King and his family lived during their time in Montgomery from 1954 to 1959. As the city continues to seek ways to honor the rich contributions made in the name of equality, more of these hallowed places will take their rightful places as civil rights landmarks that are open to teach a new generation valuable lessons.
For more information on the American Civil Rights Tour, please call us.