2021 U.S. Civil Rights Trail Travel Guide

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Walk in the footsteps of giants! ANNISTON

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Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church

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Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site Tuskegee


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he American Civil Rights Movement was forged in the streets of Alabama towns, from Birmingham and Scottsboro to Tuskegee and Selma. Visit Montgomery where Rosa Parks took a stand by keeping her seat. Then pay your respects to Black victims of racial lynching at the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice. In Selma, walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge where voting-rights activists marched into history. Spend the night in the newly restored 1837 Saint James Hotel, now a Hilton. Other sacred places, from where Tuskegee Airmen took flight, to the Birmingham church where the Ku Klux Klan killed four little girls, to the courthouse in Harper Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, await your group. Be prepared to experience their remarkable stories. For information on Civil Rights travel experiences, tour companies contact Rosemary Judkins. Rosemary.Judkins@tourism.alabama.gov • 334-242-4493

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A Civil Rights Timeline

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Building Momentum CIVIL RIGHTS PIONEERS MADE THEIR MARK I N T H E S E I M P O R TA N T H I S T O R I C P L AC E S .

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Lifetime of Learning

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Civil Rights Museums T H E S E C O L L E G E S A N D U N I V E R S I T I E S P L AY E D A P I VO TA L R O L E I N T H E C I V I L R I G H T S M OV E M E N T.

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Community Pillars

THESE INSTITUTIONS HIGHLIGHT CIVIL RIGHTS ICONS AND UNSUNG HEROES ALIKE.

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Landmark Decisions CH U RCH E S TH RO U G H O U T TH E SO U TH R A L L IE D TH E FAITH F U L IN TH E CAU S E O F CIV I L R I G HT S.

PUBLISH E D F O R

THESE COURTHOUSES WERE SITES OF P R E C E D E N T- S E T T I N G C I V I L R I G H T S CA S E S .

ON THE COVER: 4

CIVILRIGHTSTRAIL.COM

3500 PIEDMONT RD. NE, STE. 210 ATLANTA, GA 30305 404-231-1790 WWW.CIVILRIGHTSTRAIL.COM

John Lewis fought for social justice from the early days of the civil rights movement until his death in 2020. Photo by Michael Avedon.

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NICHE TRAVEL PUBLISHERS 301 EAST HIGH STREET LEXINGTON, KY 40507 888-253-0455 WWW.GROUPTRAVELLEADER.COM

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See the birthplace of a dream. A humble testament to a mighty presence in American history, the childhood home of Martin Luther King Jr. sits at 501 Auburn Ave. in Atlanta, Georgia. As the northernmost location of Georgia’s contribution to the Civil Rights Trail, it also serves as a great starting point for a hike through history. The Civil Rights Trail spans over 100 locations across 15 states and was officially recognized as a national landmark by the National Parks Service in 2018. With Georgia arguably at the epicenter of the Civil Rights movement, heroic moments that defined a state and a nation are memorialized here. From The King Center in Atlanta, to the Albany Civil Rights Institute down south, to Midway, Georgia where thousands of Civil Rights leaders were trained, there is no shortage of enriching tributes that preserve the past and inspire the future. Visit ExploreGeorgia.org/history-heritage today to chart your course along the Civil Rights Trail and walk in the footsteps of giants.


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WA L KO U T AT RO B E R T R U S SA M OTO N HIGH SCHOOL FA R M V I LLE , V I RGI N I A

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T H E B I R M I N G H A M CA M PA I G N BI R M I NGH A M, A LA BA M A MEDGAR EVERS MURDERED JACK SON, M ISSISSI PPI M A R C H O N WA S H I N GTO N WA SH I NGTON, D.C. B O M B I N G O F 1 6 T H S TR E E T B A P TI S T C H U R C H BI R M I NGH A M, A LA BA M A

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C IV I L R I G H T S AC T O F 1 9 6 4 S I G N E D I N TO L AW BY PR E S I D E N T LY N D O N B . JOHNSON “ B L O O DY S U N DAY ” O N T H E E D M U N D PE T T U S B R I D G E SELM A, A LA BA M A VOTI N G R I G H T S AC T S I G N E D I N TO L AW BY PR E S I D E N T LY N D O N B . JOHNSON

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U.S. Civil Rights Trail rises with renewed significance Courtesy ADT

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BY BR I A N JEW ELL

he U.S. Civil Rights Trail may be more important now than ever before. After a year of disease, racial tension, political turmoil and increasing polarization throughout society, America’s civil rights museums and historic sites offer much-needed inspiration. Their stories of unity, struggle and victory over adversity position them well for success in 2021 and beyond. “I think the unrest and the politics have made civil rights destinations more relevant than ever,” said Lee Sentell, director of the Alabama Tourism Department and chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail Marketing Alliance. “People are going to come South in larger numbers because they want to understand how the United States handled race in the 1960s and learn from that.” Established in 2018, the U.S. Civil Rights Trail encompasses more than 120 historic sites and landmarks that were significant in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s. The trail stretches from Topeka, Kansas, site of the Brown v. Board of Education

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THE CHAPEL AT TUSKEGEE UNIVERSITY IS ONE OF MANY IMPORTANT SITES LISTED ON THE U.S. CIVIL RIGHTS TRAIL.

National Historic Site, to places as far east as Wilmington, Delaware, and as far south as Sarasota, Florida. The marketing alliance that oversees the trail consists of representatives from 14 state tourism departments, as well as Destination D.C.; leaders from the National Park Service; and notable civil rights historians. Now entering its fourth year, the trail seems poised for growth, despite the difficulties of the past 12 months.

‘Widespread acceptance’

When the U.S. Civil Rights Trail launched in 2018, it received wide acclaim and a flurry of positive media coverage. It has added several notable sites in the years since then and continues to garner attention in the United States and abroad. “The widespread acceptance of the concept of the trail has been a pleasant surprise,”


A HEAVYWEIGHT STOP ON THE CIVIL RIGHTS TRAIL

Civil Rights history is woven throughout the fabric of Louisville. Hear about the injustices faced by hometown heroes like Muhammad Ali or discover some of the untold stories of the Black jockeys who once dominated the the sport of horse racing. Louisville attractions offer a diverse array of experiences that uncover the city’s rich Black heritage. Learn more at GoToLouisville.com/Black-Heritage


Sentell said. “The great thing is that the Southern states were eager partners from the very beginning. We had interest from portions of other states, particularly Florida, that wanted to make sure their contributions were not overlooked. And as far west as Topeka, Kansas, is enthusiastic about being a partner.” The marketing alliance maintains an in-depth website — civilrightstrail.com — where visitors can browse an interactive map, see sites on the trail, hear oral histories from civil rights activists and plan their own trip itineraries. Much of the original photography and content from that website is also being packaged into a book. The marketing alliance is in talks with Hudson News, the airport bookstore chain, to distribute the book in airports. “We have a beautiful website, but people don’t look at websites unless they need particular details,” Sentell said, “so we’ve taken a lot of the best photos from the website and picked 14 cities that have the most civil rights destinations. We’ve summarized why those cities are significant in their own unique ways. Hudson News encouraged us to do the book, and they said it would sell very well.” Sentell also said the Alabama Tourism Department is in talks with Hudson about rebranding a bookstore at the Birmingham airport as the Civil Rights Trail Market. “It will carry Southern travel guides as well as biographies of civil rights leaders and histories of the civil rights movement from throughout the South, not just Alabama,” he said.

‘Anticipation is building’

Like travel destinations worldwide, the cities and states along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail were severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. But short-term restrictions haven’t curtailed long-term interest in civil rights tourism. “Travel has been slowed by the pandemic, but that just means anticipation is building,” Sentell said. “The New York Times Journeys department is now marketing a six-night civil rights tour into the Deep South. The Smithsonian Institution, in cooperation with the African American Museum of History and Culture, is also marketing a six-day tour. And two of the biggest international tour companies — Trafalgar Travel and Abercrombie and Kent — are planning arrivals in October. “When you have major international companies that are

Travelers planning a trip on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail can find all the latest news about civil rights sites and events at:

WWW.CIVILRIGHTSTRAIL.COM

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SOUTH CAROLINA’S BENJAMIN MAYS HISTORIC SITE TELLS THE STORY OF “THE FATHER OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.”

Courtesy Discover South Carolina

talking to local receptive operators about a significant number on the books for 2022 and 2023, that’s a very encouraging sign,” Sentell said. Those indications from tour operators align with other signals that tourism officials are picking up from abroad. Sentell reported that America’s civil rights history is a chief area of interest among prospective European travelers, along with American food and music. “Five years ago, civil rights would not have been on that list,” he said. Anticipation is also building around new attractions and sites that could be added to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail in the coming year or two. “There are sites in the pipeline, even places I was not familiar with,” Sentell said. “Within a year or so, the new International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, will be open.”

‘It could happen in two years’

Concurrent with the development of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail has been an effort to have some of its most important places inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This designation would bring a new level of international attention to America’s civil rights stories. UNESCO’s nomination and inscription process can be very slow, but Sentell believes things are still on track. “When we started this process, someone told me it would take 10 years,” he said. “Now, I’m starting to believe them.” The nomination, which is being spearheaded by a team at Georgia State University, will probably include about a dozen key civil rights sites. World Heritage Sites are selected by a committee of representatives from 21 nations, and each nation can make only one nomination a year. There is one other American destination ahead of the civil rights destinations on the U.S. nomination list. The pandemic has slowed the UNESCO committee’s work, but there is still potential for the inscription to take place relatively soon. “It could happen in two years,” Sentell said. “UNESCO didn’t have a meeting last year. They usually meet in July. So they’re discussing having last year’s meeting this year in June, and then the 2021 meeting would happen in July, right behind it.”


Longing to immerse yourself in history that shaped the nation? Mississippi offers a first-hand account. Infamous events that opened the eyes of the world. Courageous leaders willing to fight for freedom and justice. Marches and rallies against fear and toward equality. A trail to gain a deeper understanding of the people, places and events that fueled the movement. And a museum dedicated to encompassing it all - from tragedy to triumph. Ready to journey through Mississippi’s civil rights history? Start planning your historical adventure at visitmississippi.org.




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OPENED IN 2017, THE MUSEUM OF MISSISSIPPI HISTORY AND THE MISSISSIPPI CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM CIVILRIGHTSTRAIL.COM COVER TURBULENT TIMES FROM SLAVERY THROUGH THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA. 14


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emembering, honoring, educating, shaping the future: These are the hallmarks of today’s civil rights museums. Dotted across the country, each one immerses visitors in somber yet enlightening one-of-a-kind experiences, with treasure troves of artifacts,

oral histories and more. Illuminating this nation’s unfathomable suffering, significant individual and collective achievements, and groundbreaking legislative victories, the following five museums on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail share an unwavering commitment to documenting and shaping the continued struggle for equality and freedom. On the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, museums embody efforts to preserve all of that past — from slavery through the civil rights movement to current struggles for equal rights — and retell it for the betterment of our future.

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Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center SCOTTSBORO, ALABAMA Housed in the former home of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church of Scottsboro — built by former slaves in the late 1800s — the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center shares the story of one of America’s gravest miscarriages of justice. Here, in 1931, nine boys ages 13 to 19 were falsely accused of a raping S COTTS BO RO two white women on a train traveling through the area. In keeping with the unjust Jim Crow Laws of the South at that time, they were swiftly convicted and sentenced to death by electrocution. For the next seven years, the case dragged through the Alabama and U.S. supreme courts as people nationwide rallied against angry white mobs, the inequitable legal system and incredible odds to reverse the verdict and exonerate the boys. As one Courtesy ATD of the country’s pivotal civil rights cases, it is believed to be the inspiration behind Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.” “For the most part, this story is not taught in schools,” said Sheila Washington, founder of the museum. “[However] here in Jackson County, there is some mention of it in the city schools. National Voting Rights Museum and Institute As the museum and its story have become more SELMA, ALABAMA well-known, we’ve been getting a lot of tour groups, including college students and lots of people planning family reunions in the area.” After two centuries of oppression and disenfranchisement, the Voting The museum features exhibits, photos and Rights Act of 1965 gave African Americans sweeping voting rights at memorabilia of the old church, the nearby railroad local and state levels. station and courthouse trials, plus china, potAchieving these voting rights was the goal of the 54-mile Selma tery, glass bottles and other artifacts that once to Montgomery March in 1965, during which the initial efforts by the belonged to the African Americans who resided peaceful protestors attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge ended in the former shotgun houses behind the church. in a vicious attack by law enforcement, earning that day the nickname SCOTTSBOROBOYSMUSEUM.ORG Bloody Sunday. The story of that historic march, which culminated a few weeks later on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol, and the social, political, and cultural challenges and triumphs since that time are chronicled at Selma’s National Voting Rights Museum and Institute. Here visitors will find a wide array of state-of-the-art exhibits that feature artifacts, memorabilia and other media chronicling America’s VOTI N G R I G HTS long-standing voting rights struggle, particularly as it relates to the civil rights movement throughout the South. This includes the successful reelection defeat, sparked by close to 7,000 newly registered Dallas County African Americans, of Sheriff James Gardner Clark Jr., who was responsible for the violent attacks at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Living-history projects, community forums, first-person accounts from volunteer guides who lived through the struggle and special tours are also part of the experience. NVRMI.COM

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GEORGIA FOOTSTEPS OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. TRAIL

he Georgia Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Trail was launched in 2018 as part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of King’s death. Designed to commemorate and celebrate the life, work and legacy of this civil rights icon, the trail also aims to educate and inspire those who embark upon it to better understand the civil rights movement in the state. There are 28 stops along the trail, most of which are in Atlanta, King’s former home. Here you will find several markers at entities in the Sweet Auburn Historic District. They include the Big Bethel A.M.E. Church; Rush Memorial Congregational Church; the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change; Ebenezer Baptist Church; the Apex Museum, located in the historic Atlanta School Book Depository; and, of course, the King Birth Home, among others.

Other trail markers in Atlanta include Rush Memorial Congregational Church, South-View Cemetery, the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, and Atlanta University Center’s Robert W. Woodruff Library. Peppered across the state there’s Floyd Chapel Baptist Church in Stockbridge; Rocky Mount Baptist Church in Rex; Prince Hall Masonic Temple in Columbus; the Dorchester Academy and Museum in Midway; the Albany Civil Rights Institute and Shiloh Baptist Church in Albany; First African Baptist Church and the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum in Savannah; and the Martin Luther King Jr. Monument Park and First African Baptist Church in Dublin.

EXPLOREGEORGIA.ORG/BROCHURES/ GEORGIAS-FOOTSTEPS-OF-MLK-JR-TRAIL

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Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI In the capital city of Jackson, two sister museums help tell the story of the civil rights movement in Mississippi. The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History opened in 2017 to coincide with the state’s bicentennial. They are bookends around the turbulent times from slavery to Jim Crow to the civil rights movement and cover overall state history. “Mississippi’s story is America’s story,” said Cindy Gardner, museum division director for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. “In both museums, we present rich and complex stories that illustrate Photos courtesy MDAH how our shared past influences our future together. These museums have built credibility with all segments of a nation that is still very divided by race. To inspire conversation and consideration, museum visitors will hear the words of Mississippians from all walks of life as they discuss the progress our state has made since the civil rights era and the At the Museum of Mississippi History, visitors are immersed in challenges that remain.” state-of-the art gallery spaces, captivating oral stories from people who Focusing on the period of 1945 to 1976, the helped shape the state and educational programming that imparts a Mississippi Civil Rights Museum encompasses sense of the full story of Mississippi’s past, both inspiring and grievous. eight interactive galleries that highlight the Together the museums provide an immersive museum experience strength and sacrifices of Mississippians who gave where visitors can come curious and leave courageous, pointing the way their lives to the freedom struggle, with a closer to a future of truth and reconciliation. focus on the murders of 14-year-old Emmett Till MCRM.MDAH.MS.GOV and civil rights activist and NAACP Mississippi MMH.MDAH.MS.GOV field secretary Medgar Evers.

A MISSISSIPPI CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM PHOTO COLLAGE

A SEGREGATION EXHIBIT AT THE MISSISSIPPI CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM

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MISSISSIPPI CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM AND THE MUSEUM OF MISSISSIPPI HISTORY

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“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it’s right.” — ROSA PA R KS

CIVIL RIGHTS STORIES IN MISSISSIPPI

From connecting with history at the African American Museum and the Civil Rights Trail to feeding your cravings with delicious bites MISSISSIPPI CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM

at Black-owned restaurants, you can experience Baton Rouge through the rich culture that makes the city so great. Discover flavorful meals, historical attractions and more at

By Chris Grainger, courtesy AL Tourism Dept.

visitbatonrouge.com/explore/ black-history

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International Civil Rights Center and Museum GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA

INTERNATIONAL

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On February 1, 1960, four Black college students from the Agricultural and Mechanical College for the Colored Race, now North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University — N.C. A&T University, challenged the segregationist establishment by staging a nonviolent sit-in at a whites-only lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. This is only the beginning of the story at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. A National Historical Landmark and International Site of Conscience, the museum is inside a former F.W. Woolworth Co. building and five-anddime store. And that first sit-in was not a spur-of-the-moment incident. “It is very important in understanding the civil rights movement and the sit-in movement of that earlier day to realize how strategic the Courtesy National Trust for Historic Preservation leaders were in their planning and how disciplined they carefully practiced to be in their demonstrations for societal change,” said Will Harris, principal scholar at the International Civil Rights Center and students, their action was backed by several months of planning with Museum. “In Greensboro, even though the young women colleagues at Bennett College, and they were joined by initiation of the Woolworth’s lunch-counter hundreds of other [Black and white] protesters who persisted over a sit-ins is celebrated as the brave action of four period of six months before the lunch counter was integrated.” That persistence sparked the nationwide sit-in movement that encompassed an estimated 70,000 protesters in 14 states. The effort served as a major catalyst in the civil rights movement and resulted in the integration of all the national F.W. Woolworth Co. stores. Among other elements, visitors will see the original lunch counter seats that, according to Harris, represent not just a simple gathering of a large number of people making demands for things to be different, but also a symbol of progress toward racial inclusion. SITINMOVEMENT.ORG

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“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of

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America.” — JOHN LEW IS


VIRGINIA KENTUCKY MISSOURI

Nashville

Clinton NORTH CAROLINA

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Memphis SOUTH CAROLINA MISSISSIPPI

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The U.S. Civil Rights Trail is a collection of churches, courthouses, schools, museums and landmarks that played a pivotal role in advancing social justice in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. Tennessee’s 12 stops tell the stories of the brave people who, through peaceful protests and legal actions, fought for their civil rights.

Tennessee sites Clayborn Temple MEMPHIS

Civil Rights Room at the Nashville Public Library NASHVILLE

Historic Beale Street District MEMPHIS

Clark Memorial United Methodist Church NASHVILLE

Mason Temple Church of God in Christ MEMPHIS

Davidson County Courthouse and the Witness Walls NASHVILLE

National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel MEMPHIS

Fisk University NASHVILLE

WDIA Radio Station MEMPHIS

Griggs Hall at American Baptist College NASHVILLE

Clinton 12 Statue and Green McAdoo Cultural Center CLINTON

Woolworth on 5th NASHVILLE


National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

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Inside the former Lorraine Motel, the National Civil Rights Museum is far more than the place where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated April 4, 1968; it represents an integral part of the cultural fabric and music history of Memphis rarely told in schools or books. Originally the Windsor Hotel in 1925, it was renamed 20 years later as the Marquette Hotel. That same year, African American businessman Walter Bailey purchased it and renamed it the Lorraine Hotel, a loving tribute to his wife, Loree, and to the song “Sweet Lorraine” recorded by Nat King Cole. At that time, the hotel also housed the Baileys’ residence and a cafe. The couple added new floors, buildings By Andrea Zucker, courtesy Memphis Tourism and rooms to convert it into a motel. During segregation, it was among the few places available to Black travelers and soon became a premier, upscale lodging destination and event venue for prominent musicians, songwriters, sports legends and community leaders, Black and white. King was among the frequent guests. “The National Civil Rights Museum chronicles the American civil As one of the premier cultural museums rights movement from 1619 to the present and the world in transition in the country, the museum’s global impact because of it,” said Connie Dyson, marketing communications manis undeniable. ager at the museum. “Through interactive and immersive historic and contemporary exhibits from slavery to Black Power, from voting rights to immigration to gun violence, from Jim Crow to Dr. King’s last days at the Lorraine Motel, the museum examines civil and human rights issues then and now. Visitors also get to know some civil rights upstanders whose names and stories they did not know — men and women who recognized something was wrong and made it their life’s work to make it right.” CIVILRIGHTSMUSEUM.ORG

NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM AT THE LORRAINE MOTEL By David Meany, courtesy Memphis Tourism

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Courtesy Brand USA

SUN STUDIO IN MEMPHIS


DISCOVER AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY IN SOUTH CAROLINA Explore compelling stories of African-Americans in the Palmetto State with the Green Book of South Carolina at GreenBookofSC.com. This new online travel guide serves as a directory to more than 300 culturally and historically GreenBookofSC.com significant sites, including museums, markers, districts, churches, cemeteries schools and more. Together, these places illustrate the African-American legacy in South Carolina – from colonialism and civil rights to triumphs in the arts, science and technology. Each entry comes with a summary of its historic significance, travel directions to the site and opportunities to share your experience on social media.

B E GIN YOUR JOUR N EY AT B lackHistory SC. com


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THE SOUTH CAROLINA STATE HOUSE IN COLUMBIA WAS THE SITE OF NUMEROUS CIVIL RIGHTS LAWSUITS AND DEMONSTRATIONS.


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uring the turbulent segregationist period of our country there were two sets of laws. The first was “the rule of law,” defined by Encyclopedia Britannica as “the mechanism, process, institution, practice, or norm that supports the equality of all citizens before the law, secures a nonarbitrary form of government, and more generally prevents the arbitrary use of power.” But there was another set of laws in action: the Jim Crow laws of the South. These legalized racial, segregationist statutes set by local and state governing bodies were designed to marginalize and deny basic human rights to people of color. The latter resulted in untold fear, violence and death. Yet justice was eventually served in the hallowed halls of America’s CIVILRIGHTSTRAIL.COM historic courts and statehouses. Here are five sites on the United States Civil Rights Trail where important legal victories were won.

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Elbert P. Tuttle U.S. Court of Appeals Building ATLANTA

NASHVILLE’S WITNESS WALLS

Completed in 1910, the Elbert P. Tuttle U.S. Court of Appeals Building was originally constructed as a combination U.S. Post Office and courthouse, the latter hearing cases in the Fifth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals along with another courtroom located in New Orleans. Built in a Second Renaissance Revival style, listed in the National Register of Historic Places and part of the Fairlie-Poplar Historic District, it became the site of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in 1981. Among the things that make this site so significant is its namesake, Judge Elbert P. Tuttle, the chief judge of the 5th Circuit Court who eventually served here until his death in 1996. Tuttle and three other judges were nicknamed “The 5th Four” — a nod to their position on this court responsible for the lion’s share of the civil rights case appeals By Walter Hood, courtesy Metro Nashville Arts Commission in Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Florida. The judges earned this moniker for their commitment to honesty, racial equality and justice under the law, which bucked the segregationist political and social environments of Davidson County Courthouse and Witness Walls the day in many parts of the country, particular in the South. Their rulings encompassed job NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE discrimination, voter registration and implementation of the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. It’s perhaps fitting that the Davidson County Courthouse, now known Tuttle, who was also awarded the Presidential as the Historic Metro Courthouse, sits only a few blocks from Fifth Medal of Freedom, and the other judges have Avenue, the site of many nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins implemented gone down in history as some of the most influby Black students from the four area predominantly Black universities: ential in helping the civil rights movement retain Meharry Medical College, American Baptist Theological Seminary, its momentum, strength and impact. Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial, and Fisk University. Still an active courthouse, the building “Before the first sit-in took place in Greensboro, North Carolina, is open to the public. For information about on February 1, 1960, intensive planning was already underway in group visits, contact the Atlanta Convention Nashville,” said Anne-Leslie Owens, public art project manager for and Visitors Bureau. the Metro Nashville Arts Commission. “In 1958, following the formation DISCOVERATLANTA.COM

ELBERT P. TUTTLE

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COURTHOUSE

Courtesy Metro Nashville Arts Commission


DAVIDSON COUNTY COURTHOUSE

if you’re big

on civil rights,

you’re big on little rock.

Courtesy Metro Nashville Arts Commission

of the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference by the Kelly Miller Smith Sr. of First Baptist Church, Capitol Hill and others, Nashville’s African American leaders and students devised an attack on Jim Crow segregation, making purchases in downtown stores and staging ‘test sit-ins’ in unsuccessful attempts to desegregate the lunch counters.” Built with Indiana limestone and featuring Classical and Art Deco details, the courthouse is where city leadership was confronted about the bombing of the home of civil rights attorney Z. Alexander Looby, the desegregation of public accommodations and the overall immorality of racism and segregation across the city, state and country. ​In Public Square Park on the west side of the courthouse, Witness Walls is a moving artistic tribute to the people of Nashville who came together and took action against all forms of racism. ​Every day at 10 minutes before the hour from sunrise to sunset, music reminiscent of what one might have heard on the radio in Nashville in the 1950s and 1960s wafts through the air, providing a backdrop that connects visitors with the powerful emotions and feelings around the struggle for civil rights. METROARTSNASHVILLE.COM/WITNESS-WALLS

“What the people want is very simple — they want an America as good as its promise.” — BA R BA R A JOR DA N

.com Ad paid for with State and Heart of Arkansas funds.

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enowned African American sculptor Ed Hamilton created all 11 of the historical markers on the Louisville Downtown Civil Rights Trail. Placing the markers around downtown is significant in that it was here, primarily along the Fourth Street Corridor, that the majority of the city’s eateries, shops and department stores, entertainment venues and theaters were located. As was common during the 1950s and 1960s, Blacks were either denied entrance or horribly mistreated when patronizing these businesses. The efforts against this outright exclusion and discrimination included campaigns to unseat unscrupulous city leaders, protest marches, sit-ins, mass student demonstrations and other pushes for civil rights actions. Opened to the public in 2013, 50 years after the passage of the local public accommodations law, which made it unlawful for anyone to be refused service in a public place because of race, color, religion or national origin, the trail encompasses markers placed where there were once office build-

Shine Light on the Power of Courage.

ings, hotels, department stores, theaters and other businesses. Although some still exist, over the decades many have been relocated, closed down or demolished. The trail markers also share the story of the numerous African Americans who played significant roles in the effort to end racism and segregation in Louisville. Perhaps the most high-profile location along the trail is the Muhammad Ali Center, dedicated to the life and legacy of this global sports icon, humanitarian, philanthropist and native Louisville son.

LOUISVILLE.EDU/ARTSANDSCIENCES/ DECC/CIVIL-RIGHTS-MARKERS

Explore the movement that changed the nation—and the people behind it.

222 North Street, Jackson mscivilrightsmuseum.com

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MUHAMMAD ALI CENTER

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SEELBACH HOTEL Courtesy Louisville Tourism

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Tallahatchie County Courthouse SUMNER, MISSISSIPPI August 28, 1955, saw one of the most brutal, heinous acts in our country’s history: the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till. On that day, his body was mutilated almost beyond recognition as punishment for reportedly making a pass at a white woman, becoming another unfortunate symbol of the depth and cruelty perpetuated against people of color and supported by the segregationist laws of the South. The Tallahatchie County courtroom where the “not guilty” verdict from the all-white jury was announced after only about an hour of deliberation has been restored to how it appeared during the trial in 1955, offering visitors a glimpse into the past from various vantage points. “This trial, though brief in duration, was a clear indication of conditions in Mississippi and all over the South during the Jim Crow era,” said Photos by Ashleigh Coleman Benjamin Saulsberry, museum director at the Emmett Till Interpretive Center. “Our visitors are often engaged in dialogue concerning our past and present as it relates to race, racism and racial reconciliation, and our buildings and structures from our past draw interest from around the state, across the country and around the can be restored and reused as places for learnworld. In addition to guided or self-exploratory tours of the courthouse ing and healing. Specifically, the center uses and interpretive center, visitors can also embark on guided off-site arts and storytelling to help process past pain tours by appointment and are encouraged to download the Emmett and to imagine new ways of moving forward.” Till Memory Project app, which provides historical context for the Founded to tell the story of the Till tragedy off-site locations. and to point a way toward racial healing, the EMMETT-TILL.ORG courthouse and interpretive center continue to

EMMETT TILL INTERPRETIVE

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TALLAHATCHIE COUNTY COURTHOUSE, SITE OF THE EMMETT TILL INTERPRETIVE CENTER

EMMETT TILL INTERPRETIVE CENTER AT THE TALLAHATCHIE COUNTY COURTHOUSE

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UNION STATION, KANSAS CITY

VIEWS WORTH THE WAIT. With destinations like this, it’s no surprise Missouri is a major stop for group tours. For help planning a future trip, contact Ashley Sneed of the Missouri Division of Tourism at Ashley.Sneed@ded.mo.gov


U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals NEW ORLEANS When the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals first convened in 1891, it was located in New Orleans’ famed Customs House, serving as the home for numerous circuit courts located in six Southern states. In 1980, as a result of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Reorganization Act, the court was divided into the Fifth Circuit, encompassing Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, and the Eleventh Circuit, located in Atlanta, responsible for Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Today, the Fifth Circuit Court, located in the John Minor Wisdom U.S. Court of Appeals Building and named after one of the 5th Four, is CIRCUIT COURT OF listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can walk the halls of this stunning Italian Renaissance Revival-style structure where many noteworthy civil rights movement cases took place. Among them was the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision that opened the Photos courtesy U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals door for 6-year-old Ruby Bridges to become the first Black student to integrate New Orleans’ William Frantz Elementary in 1960. Johnson v. Stevenson and Van Orden v. Perry are just a South Carolina State House couple of the other significant cases that took place here. The building remains an active COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA courthouse and is open to the public. CA5.USCOURTS.GOV Originally completed in 1907 and extensively renovated in the late 1990s, the South Carolina State House is a historic landmark where many people employed strategies and tools to effect change and enhance democracy during the civil rights movement, not just in Columbia but “Press forward at all times, climbing across the state. Historic events here include an ultimately successful 1954 federal forward toward that higher ground lawsuit filed by Sarah Mae Flemming, who, some 17 months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus, was assaulted by a bus of the harmonious society that shapes driver who refused to allow her to sit near the “Whites Only” section. Several years later, in March 1961, scores of protestors marched to the laws of man to the laws of God.” the State House from the Zion Baptist Church, resulting in the arrest of approximately 200 people by police who overtly denied their right — A DA M CL AY TON POW ELL , JR . of assembly. “The pursuit of justice and peace has never been easy,” said Bobby Donaldson, director of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research at the University of South Carolina. “Our state’s history shows the long arc of the struggle for freedom and the full rights of citizenship by thousands of women, men and school students; from Emancipation and Reconstruction through the long decades of legal segregation in the early 20th century, the Great Depression and World War II, then landmark victories in the modern civil rights era and beyond.” Adjacent to the State House is an extraordinary monument created by renowned sculptor Ed Dwight. It chronicles the journey from West SOUTH CAROLINA Africa through the Middle Passage to the Modern Era and stands as a testament to the many contributions, actions and overall history of African Americans in South Carolina. COLUMBIASC63.COM

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Capitol Square | Richmond, Virginia

“It seemed like reaching for the moon.” Welcome to the Birthplace of the Student Civil Rights Movement. Where students led the charge for change. virginia.org/blackhistory


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ALABAMA’S TUSKEGEE AIRMEN NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE CELEBRATES COURAGEOUS AFRICAN AMERICAN PILOTS WHO TRAINED THERE DURING WORLD WAR II.


Barricades gave way as social justice prevailed BY LYSA A LLM A N-BA LDW IN

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or any society to thrive, all its citizens must have fair access to housing, employment, health care, political representation and other necessities of life. During the civil rights movement, leaders fought for African Americans to enjoy the same rights as others in these critical areas of public life. The following are five sites on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail that honor major achievements in social justice and some of the prominent figures who helped bring them to pass. Social justice is demanded through coordinated campaigns and passionate protests, but it is also accomplished in small deeds and everyday goodness. Numerous sites on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail tell the stories of people who took a stand for justice in the face of opposition. CIVILRIGHTSTRAIL.COM By Art Meripol, courtesy ADT

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Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Preservation District TUSKEGEE, ALABAMA

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Located at historic Moton Field, which is named after Robert R. Moton, the second president of Tuskegee University, formerly Tuskegee Institute, the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site celebrates the more than 1,000 courageous African American pilots who received basic flight instruction there. After World War I, African Americans were denied the right to enlist as military pilots. The decision was based on a study by the U.S. Army War College that concluded that African Americans were physically and mentally inferior in the ability to master the skills and aptitudes needed. “As World War II brewed in Europe, this study was challenged and proven completely wrong when the Civilian Pilot Training Program By Art Meripol, courtesy ADT began training pilots for military service at Moton Field,” said Ron Grissom, supervisory park ranger. “The first African American military pilots emerged from this experiment, battling not only Nazis and fighting for and supporting a nation that did not consider them equals, fascists in Europe in a hot war, but also segreputting their lives in jeopardy for a largely unappreciative country.” gation and racism in the Jim Crow South and Two hangars on this historic site house exhibits of training aircraft audio America as a whole. It was ironic that they were interviews with Tuskegee Airmen, interpretive text and video, and other memorabilia. Through these exhibits and daily Tarmac Talks, visitors learn that those involved in what was called the Tuskegee Experience were more than pilots. They included hundreds of men and women of many races who served as technicians, parachute riggers, meteorologists, mechanics, radio operators, dispatchers, bombardiers, medical personnel, MARTIN LUTHER KING and cooks and in other positions. All told, an estimated 15,000-plus individuals made significant contributions to the war effort there, together solidifying the Tuskegee Airmen legacy forever in the annals of history. NPS.GOV/TUAI

HISTORIC SITE

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Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park ATLANTA

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Attracting approximately 800,000 visitors a year, the 70-acre Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park is like none other, encompassing numerous structures and entities that played pivotal roles in the history of African Americans in Atlanta and the rest of Georgia during the civil rights movement. “The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park preserves and protects and interprets for the benefit, inspiration and education of present and future generations the places where Martin Luther King Jr. was born, where he lived, worked and worshiped, and where he is buried,” said Rebecca Karcher, chief of interpretation and education. The guest experience begins at the visitor center, which features an array of exhibits that detail significant moments of the civil rights movement. Next comes a ranger-led tour of King’s birth home, where he lived until age 12.


A MONUMENT AT TUSKEGEE UNIVERSITY

Courtesy ATD

“Excellence knows no color. Excellence knows no religion. Excellence is what you’re able to do with your skills that you have. And the more we recognize that, the better we are as a country.” — ROSCOE BROW N, T USK EGEE A IR M A N

E X P LO R E

MUHAMMAD ALI’S

PLACE IN HISTORY The Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky is proud to join the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, a collection of notable landmarks in the Southern states that played a pivotal role in advancing social justice during the Civil Rights Movement.

2½ levels of award-winning exhibits! For more information go to: alicenter.org or civilrightstrail.com

502.584.9254 | 144 N. 6th St. | Louisville, KY Courtesy NPS

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. BIRTHPLACE

#AliCenter

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ALABAMA STATE CAPITOL

By Tim Goode, courtesy ADT

Self-guided experiences include the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where King was baptized and spent his first church-going and co-pastoral years with his father; the Prince Hall Masonic Temple and Tabor Building, the headquarters of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and where King served as president; and the Fire Station No. 6 Museum, which imparts the history of the desegregation of the Atlanta Fire Department. The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change carries on King’s legacy of nonviolent movement for justice, equality and peace and is also the final resting place of King and his wife. There is also the “I Have a Dream” World Peace Rose Garden; the Behold Monument created in honor of King’s moral courage and nobility of spirit; and the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame, which features the footprints of various warriors of the civil rights movement such as Ralph Abernathy, Julian Bond, Thurgood Marshall, Medgar Evers, Hosea Williams and Rosa Parks. NPS.GOV/MALU

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any people are aware of the historic 1965 march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery led by a fiery 25-year-old activist and future U.S. congressman named John Lewis. When the peaceful protestors attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, they were viciously attacked by law enforcement. That day earned the nickname Bloody Sunday. What the history books don’t often reveal are the stories behind the pivotal stops along the 54-mile journey that began once again on March 21. Those stories are highlighted on Alabama’s Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. Along the way were four campsites. The David Hall Farm, the first stop, approximately seven miles in, provided tents, medical attention, volunteer security guards and meals for the marchers. The Rosie Steele Property belonged to its namesake, a Black filling station and grocery store owner who offered her property as a place of respite for the night. Upon arrival at the Robert Gardner Farm, the marchers ate meals provided by students from Tuskegee Institute.

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And by the time they reached the City of St. Jude campsite, the group of 600 protestors had swelled to well over 12,000 people. On March 25, the marchers arrived in Montgomery at the Alabama State Capitol. Here, the crowd, estimated at somewhere between 25,000 and 50,000 people, heard speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other influential civil rights leaders. As a result of the extraordinary efforts, time and energy of a great many people — Blacks, whites and others — the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law a few months later.

WWW.NPS.GOV/PLACES/ SELMA-TO-MONTGOMERY-NATIONALHISTORIC-TRAIL.HTM

travel a trail that changed the path of our entire country.

North Carolina is filled with many paths but only one U.S. Civil Rights Trail. Immerse your next group in the historical significance NC played in the fight for American civil rights. Visit F.W. Woolworth’s lunch counter, the catalyst for the sit-in movement, and other historical locations in our state.

CIVILRIGHTSTRAIL.COM Photo Credits: Keenan Hairston and Visit Raleigh

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Whitney M. Young Birthplace LINCOLN RIDGE, KENTUCKY From meager beginnings in a small Kentucky town to being honored with the Medal of Freedom, the story of civil rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr. is one of passion, determination and unwavering dedication to furthering the rights of people of color. On the campus of today’s Whitney M. Young Jr. Job Corps Center, which began as the Lincoln Institute, the Whitney M. Young Birthplace comprises two entities. The wooden, two-story home where Young was born and lived until age 15 serves as an interpretative center; it features photographs and memorabilia detailing his life and legacy. The Lincoln Institute Alumni Center depicts the history of the former, prominent WHITNEY YOUNG MEETING WITH PRESIDENT KENNEDY boarding school for African American high school students founded by Berea College that Courtesy the Lincoln Foundation operated until 1966. Whitney Young Sr. spent nearly 50 years on campus as a student, instructor and the institute’s first Black president. The junior Young graduated as valedictorian in 1937. “Shelby County and the state of Kentucky are extremely proud of their native son,” said the Lincoln Foundation. “As one of the Big Six leaders of the civil rights Paula Campbell, director of development for movement, Whitney Young Jr. spent his life fighting to end employment

WHITNEY M.

YOUNG Courtesy the Lincoln Foundation

BIRTHPLACE

Shelley House ST. LOUIS

“Every man is our brother, and every

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poverty exists, all are poorer. Where

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hate flourishes, all are corrupted.

Where injustice reins, all areOFunequal.” A GRADUATION PHOTO MEMPHIS TENNESSEE GARRISON

— W HI TN EY M. YOUNG Courtesy Marshall University

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and educational inequality, had the ear of three presidents and was instrumental in ensuring the success of the historic March on Washington and for creating [President Lyndon] Johnson’s domestic Marshall Plan. Unfortunately, he is one of the unsung heroes of the civil rights movement and, as such, is not a household name like Martin Luther King Jr. Nor is he taught in schools, even in Kentucky. Visitors leave realizing his importance and the significant contributions he made in support of the movement.” March 11, 2021, marks the 50th anniversary of Young’s death, and July 31, 2021, is the 100th anniversary of his birth. NPS.GOV/PLACES/ KENTUCKY-WHITNEY-M-YOUNG-JR-BIRTHPLACE.HTM

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From the time the first African slaves were brought to the American Colonies, brutal, segregationist, unlawful and politically motivated practices were used against them and their descendants. Among them was a restrictive racial covenant whereby property owners agreed to sell only to Caucasians. In St. Louis, J.D. and Ethel Shelley and their children, who had previously left the segregated South in search of a better life, wanted to secure a home of their own. They found one and challenged the racial covenant, and the property owner ultimately agreed to sell to them. After the purchase was made, a nearby owner sued in state court to prevent finalization of the sale and lost the case. On appeal, the ruling was reversed by the Missouri Supreme Court.


A C i v i l Wa r b at t l e g r o u n d. N o w a p e a c e f u l r e t r e at.

Stroll Harpers Ferry and hear the echoes of a town with a fascinating living history. This quaint retreat in eastern West Virginia is an official destination along the Civil Rights Trail. Feel free to explore every part of its small-town charm when the time is right.

WVtourism.com

Harpers Ferry


Not willing to accept being denied the right to live wherever they choose, the Shelleys filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in Shelley v. Kraemer. There, on May 3, 1948, the initial state ruling was upheld on the grounds of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, and they won the right to keep their home. Although the home is now a private residence and not open for tours, it still stands as a decades-old symbol and strong beacon of hope that African Americans can indeed prevail in a court of law against systematic racial inequality and injustices. NPS.GOV/PLACES/MISSOURI-THE-SHELLEY-HOUSE-L.HTM

THE SHELLEY

HOUSE

“The way I see it, it was a good thing that we done this

Courtesy MO Historical Society

case. We was the first ones to live where they said colored Elizabeth Harden Gilmore House

couldn’t live.”

CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA — J.D. SHELLEY

ELIZABETH HARDEN GILMORE

HOUSE Courtesy WVCAAAC

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In a time when the contributions of Black women were devalued, Elizabeth Harden Gilmore did more than break through the glass ceiling. Her life and legacy are honored at the namesake National Park Service Elizabeth Harden Gilmore House in Charleston, West Virginia. Born in in 1909, Gilmore was a savvy business leader, a staunch civil rights advocate and an overall champion of the disenfranchised. Her list of accomplishments is impressive: She co-founded the local chapter of the Congress for Racial Equality, played a significant role in the upholding of the Fair Housing Act, formed a women’s club responsible for opening Charleston’s first integrated day care center, spearheaded a successful lunch counter sit-in campaign and served on a higher education board of regents, among other accomplishments. Gilmore spent almost four decades in this home until her death in 1986. This 1900 home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Harden and Harden Funeral Home once operated there, as well as the J.E. Scott Funeral Home until the mid-1990s. It is currently unoccupied, and the property has been for sale for many years, yet its history is still significant. “I believe the home attracted public viewing because of its historic style — a two-and-a-half-story structure with four two-story columns and five bays [and] said to be of the Classical Revival period,” said Anthony Kinzer Sr. of the West Virginia Center for African American Art and Culture. “The future use of the Harden Gilmore Home will depend upon new ownership.” NPS.GOV/PLACES/ WEST-VIRGINIA-ELIZABETH-HARDEN-GILMORE.HTM


Ordinary People. Extraordinary Courage. A Singular Focus. The Civil Rights Movement was a lightning bolt in the history of our nation forged through the efforts and sacrifice of thousands of individuals, many of whom we’ll never know. But with the U.S. Civil Rights Trail in Kentucky, we’re shining a light on a number of the stories, people and events that not only changed Kentucky, but forever changed the country. We invite you to explore Whitney Young’s birthplace, Lincoln Hall at Berea College, Louisville’s downtown Civil Rights Trail and the Muhammad Ali Center, and to visit the SEEK Museum in Russellville.

kentuckytourism.com

SEEK Museum, Russellville


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DELAWARE’S HOWARD HIGH SCHOOL OF TECHNOLOGY WAS THE FIRST SCHOOL IN THE REGION TO OFFER BLACK STUDENTS A FULL HIGH-SCHOOL EDUCATION.


Education was the wellspring for equality BY LYSA A LLM A N-BA LDW IN

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rom the Deep South to our nation’s Northern borders, Western shores, middle plains and former Eastern settlements, Segregation has had a profound effect on the education of Black and brown children for centuries. “Separate but not equal” was not just a catchphrase; it was an agonizing, daily way of life. Despite this, the efforts of many courageous students, parents, educators, legislators and ordinary citizens contributed to the end of this unjust division, reshaping future learning opportunities for all children for decades to follow. These six educational institutions on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail were among those that helped pave the way.

CIVILRIGHTSTRAIL.COM Courtesy NCCVTSD

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Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS

LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL

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In Little Rock, Arkansas, the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site is where the Little Rock Nine became the first African American students to integrate the school amidst a yearlong turbulent backdrop of angry protests, verbal harassment, physical threats and daily armed protection from federal troops. But those nationally broadcast events were only part of the story. “So much more happened after the 1958-59 school year,” said David Kilton, chief of interpretation at the historic site. “There is something called the Lost Year, where the governor put out to vote whether to continue with integration or close the schools. Those that could voted for the latter, so for an entire year all of the high schools within the district were closed.” Although the students’ admission was called an integration, it was really Courtesy NPS a desegregation. “Full integration,” Kilton said, “where there was a balanced ratio of student body, educators and administrators within the district, didn’t happen until the 1970s.” Howard High School of Technology Built in 1927, the school features a stunning combination of Collegiate Gothic and Art Deco WILMINGTON, DELAWARE styles extending nearly two city blocks and holds the distinction as the only National Park Service Originally founded in 1867 as Public School No. 16 and later renamed site with an active public school as the main in honor of Civil War Gen. Oliver Otis Howard, Howard High School of feature. Visitors will see a replica of the bench Technology has been at its current location since 1927. It was the only where one of the Little Rock Nine sought shelinstitution in the Delaware, southeast Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey ter when initially turned away by the National and northeastern Maryland areas to offer Black students a full high school Guard; a commemorative garden dedicated to the education. school’s alumni; and across the street, seven priIn the 1952 lawsuit Belton v. Gebhart, the parents of 12 students were vately owned homes where protestors, the media represented as the former in pursuit of the right to enroll their children and others congregated on the lawns during the in a local all-white high school instead of at Howard, nine miles away. unrest. These homes will soon be restored to Not often taught in schools today, this is important because the lawsuit appear as they did in the 1950s. was one of five under the umbrella of the landmark Brown v. Board of NPS.GOV/CHSC Education U.S. Supreme Court decision that found racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. “Howard has rightfully earned its place in our nation’s Civil Rights history for more than 150 years,” said Joseph Jones, superintendent of the New Castle County Vocational Technical School District. “By telling the full story of the combined cases that led to the decision, we uncover the true struggle of our nation’s civil rights journey community by community.” Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2005, Howard High is still an active school and is currently not open for tours. However, there is legislation underway to include it as a National Park Service-affiliated area, after which efforts will begin in earnest to create visitor and special programming experiences. HOWARD.NCCVT.K12.DE.US

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everal locations in North Carolina became major launching pads in the fight for racial equality and justice for women and people of color throughout the civil rights movement. From large cities to small rural towns, a great many citizens stepped up to the plate, creating their own place in history for generations to follow. Excitement abounds around the North Carolina Civil Rights Trail, which is now in the midst of a rollout that will last until 2023. During this time, 50 historical markers will be placed across the state to commemorate the groundbreaking events that took place, as well as the people involved in the movement. Leading the initiative is the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, in partnership with the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, and Visit North Carolina.

The trail is much more than a general tracing of notable civil rights movement locations, events and activists. It is being designed to provide extensive and comprehensive insights into and between both well-known and unsung communities across the state, as well as to those connected to the overall history of the movement nationally. When the trail is completed, in addition to the 50 historical markers, it will also encompass approximately 150 notable sites, an interactive web portal and a Digital Geographic Information System map.

AAHC.NC.GOV/PROGRAMS/CIVIL-RIGHTS-TRAIL

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Estey Hall at Shaw University RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA Before the Civil War, African Americans were systematically prevented from learning to read and write, and denied access to any type of formal educational settings. But as the years passed, in part because of protest movements, lawsuits and other actions, the tide began to change, leading to the establishment of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). It was at these institutions that African Americans received primary, secondary and, in some cases, postsecondary education. Among them was Shaw University, the first HBCU in the South. “Shaw University is a landmark for civil rights, education and the First Amendment,” said a university spokesperson. “Shaw accepted its first women students in 1866. It first began boarding women in 1870, and as a result, Estey Hall was erected in 1873.” By Keenan Hairston, courtesy VisitRaleigh.com Named in honor of business leader and philanthropist Jacob Estey, who underwrote funding for the building, Estey Hall is the first building in the U.S. designated for the higher education of women of color, the first dormitory for women on a coeducational campus and Shaw University’s oldest surviving building. Robert Russa Moton High School and Museum In the 1960s, student and young civil FARMVILLE, VIRGINIA rights activist Ella Jo Baker made one of her most indelible marks on this country here by helping to establish the Student Nonviolent In 1951, 450 Black students staged a walkout to protest the deplorCoordinating Committee. able overcrowding and structural conditions at Robert Russa Moton Estey Hall remained a women’s dorm until High School. With guidance from the NAACP, the event grew from a 1968, when it became a dormitory for men, later local protest into the only student-initiated case among the five lawsuits closing in 1970. Today it serves as the university’s under the umbrella of Brown v. Board of Education. main administration building. The general public In Farmville, the battle lasted 13 years: Upon losing the lawsuit, can visit the campus, and special arrangements Prince Edward County decided to close all of its schools for five years can be made to tour the Estey Hall building. — 1959 to 1964 — rather than desegregate. As such, those Black stuSHAWU.EDU dents also suffered as “The Walk-Out Generation” and “The Lock-Out Generation.” In 1964, the Griffin v. Prince Edward Supreme Court decision eventually reopened the schools. “The Moton School story is one of young citizens using the tools of a constitutional democracy to help bring about change,” said Cameron Patterson, executive director of the museum. “The immediate site surrounding the museum has changed little since 1951, [and] the development of the visitor experience has been planned to restore and preserve the historic views of the building and grounds from the site’s period of significance. The auditorium is the site of the student strike and, therefore, a very important place for us to introduce visitors to this piece of American history.” Now a National Historic Landmark, the school and museum are also featured on the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. Downtown, visitors can embark upon a two-mile Farmville Civil Rights Walking Tour that features 17 places of civil rights significance between 1951 and 1964. MOTONMUSEUM.ORG

ESTEY HALL

AT SHAW UNIVERSITY

ROBERT RUSSA MOTON

HIGH SCHOOL Courtesy Robert Russa Moton High School & Museum

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DISCOVER OUR

visitjackson.com/safertravel

#SafelyExploreJXN #VisitMSResponsibly


Sumner Elementary School TOPEKA, KANSAS May 2021 marks the 67th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision that found racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. Sumner Elementary School — originally built in the late 1800s as a school for Blacks, then later operated as a white school — was one of five schools across the country involved in the case. The school is no longer open to the public; however, its story lives on at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. The building is significant in that it is the home of the former Monroe Elementary, where Black students denied enrollment at Sumner were forced to attend, even though it was farther from their homes and an Courtesy HBCU Library Alliance unsafe walk to get there. “Aspects of the historic court case really strike visitors as they learn the in-depth history and begin to piece together the impact it made on the country,” said park interpreter Dexter Armstrong. “Our Southern University and A&M College visitors are also taken back by the multiple exhibits showcasing the timeline of African BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA American history. One exhibit in particular is the Hall of Courage, where individuals walk down a hall with film of protestors, spectators Since its founding in 1880, Southern University and A&M College and governors exhibiting unkindly behavior in Baton Rouge has risen as one of the nation’s premier HBCUs. The towards African Americans as a result of the school played a significant role in the civil rights movement. victory of Brown v. Board of Education.” Among the successful nonviolent protests for equal rights and access This site challenges visitors mentally, said to public facilities launched by the students were sit-ins at the local Armstrong, causing them to maneuver through Greyhound bus station and Sitman’s Drug Store. the morally gray areas of policy using strategy “While students at North Carolina A&T [in Greensboro] may legitito combat the law of segregation and not just mately be credited with initiating the sit-in movement in 1960, it was at the idea of it. Southern University where the largest demonstrations against Jim Crow NPS.GOV/BRVB segregation occurred,” said Albert Samuels, chair of the university’s

SOUTHERN

UNIVERSITY

SUMNER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Courtesy NPS

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department of political science and history. “Inspired by the example of college students elsewhere, Southern students began to sit in at local establishments. Soon after, a throng of 3,500 Southernites marched to the state Capitol. The size and breadth of the protest was made possible by an academic climate at Southern University that encouraged students to critically analyze American society and to critique the racial status quo in the South.” Many alumni and students also participated in the bus boycott of 1953 that is said to have served as a model for the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1957. Their demonstrations led to Tennessee v. Garner, the 1985 Supreme Court case that challenged the use of deadly force by law enforcement in the apprehension of fleeing, unarmed, nonviolent felony suspects. SUBR.EDU


This courthouse

CHANGED

A NATION. Make history meaningful with a visit to the Bay County Courthouse, site of a 1963 landmark case that changed our nation’s court system. In Gideon v. Wainwright, the Supreme Court ruled that states are required under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to provide an attorney to defendants in criminal cases who are unable to afford their own lawyers.

After stopping at the courthouse, explore the history of the St. Andrews neighborhood and downtown Panama City with self-guided walking tours. Find out more at destinationpanamacity.com/walkingtour

PA N A M A C I T Y FLORIDA

Where Life Sets Sail


U N IT E D STAT E S

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MONTGOMERY’S DEXTER AVENUE BAPTIST CHURCH WAS THE ONLY HOUSE OF WORSHIP PASTORED BY MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.


Congregations coalesced to address civil rights BY LYSA A LLM A N-BA LDW IN

F

By Art Meripol, courtesy ADT

or centuries, African American churches have been the backbone of the Black community. At one time, religious gatherings were held in homes and fields away from the white plantation slave masters that forbid such meetings. After the Civil War, freed Black people came together to build formal sanctuaries in the shadow of racism. Today, some of those structures still stand. Likewise, African American churches have played an integral role in the civil rights movement. For decades, religious and civic icons and leaders have gone there to speak out against segregation, to organize with the community and to plan nonviolent protests. But perhaps most of all, the church has served as a safe place for spiritual and religious practice and connection, and as a shelter from the harsh realities of the outside world. Here are five churches listed on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail CIVILRIGHTSTRAIL.COM that represent vital pillars to the African American community.

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16th Street Baptist Church BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA

16TH STREET

BAPTIST

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church was “one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity.” On that day, bombs placed by the Ku Klux Klan injured more than 20 people and instantly cut short the lives of four young girls — Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carol Robertson and Cynthia Wesley — as they were preparing for the annual Youth Day program. “It is important to teach our history to promote deep understanding of how cultural, social and societal values develop over time,” said Theodore Debro, chairman of the church’s board of trustees. “It is important to face our history to learn from past mistakes and to guide the development of the future. The events that took place at this locaCourtesy USCRT tion played a key role in placing a worldwide spotlight on the injustices taking place in the South and in spurring the passage of the Voting Rights Act.” Although the bombing brought worldwide attention to the church, it’s the unwavering Dexter Avenue King Memorial community connection and support since its Baptist Church and Parsonage founding in 1873 as the First Colored Church of Birmingham — originally located a few blocks MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA away — that has sustained it. The current modified Romanesque and Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and Parsonage have Byzantine-style building and parsonage built always been central to the civil rights movement. Completed in 1889 in 1911 has hosted numerous Black activists and still maintaining much of its original architecture, the church holds and leaders, including Paul Robeson, Rev. the distinction as the only house of worship pastored by King, the place Fred Shuttlesworth, King, and Mary McLeod from which he led the 1955-56 Montgomery Bus Boycott and the endBethune, among others. Tours include a point of the historic 1965 Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March. 15-minute documentary film, a docent-led “These events changed the world,” said Wanda Howard Battle, walk through the impressive sanctuary and tour director at the church. “In the 1950s and ’60s, Dr. King and the a visit to the Experience Room. Here visipeople of the South made history by challenging the social, political and tors encounter first-person accounts of the economic disparities and injustice based on racial bias. They marched, bombing, as well as photos, artifacts and pews bled and died to change policies, laws and practices that denied human from the original sanctuary, and the clock that dignity and civil rights.” stopped at 10:22 a.m. the day of the bombing. These stories are told through tours of the still-active church that 16THSTREETBAPTIST.ORG highlight King’s pastoral office and the podium he used to address the Selma-to-Montgomery marchers. There’s also a beautiful civil rights mural that takes visitors on a journey from Rosa Parks’ arrest to King’s assassination. A fascinating, largely unknown fact is that former Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace, reviled by many for his decades-long staunch segregationist actions, atoned for his views during a visit here in 1979. “He apologized to the congregation for his cruel acts of discrimination to enforce segregation,” Battle said. “This surprises most visitors and moves many to accept that like Wallace, every person can choose to change their beliefs and practices to be respectful, kind and just. When we embrace and model these practices, we ensure a place at the table of humanity for all people worldwide.” DEXTERKINGMEMORIAL.ORG

CHURCH

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DEXTER AVENUE

“Peaceful means

KING MEMORIAL

BAPTIST

will have to be

CHURCH

used to bring about peaceful ends. If you use destructive means, you’re going to

By Art Meripol, courtesy ADT

bring about destructive ends.”

— COR ET TA SCOT T K ING

— M A RTIN LU THER K ING JR .

. C I S U M E TH TS.

Logan Young

N E M U N O M E H T . P O T N I A T N THE MOU

CLAYBORN TEMPLE,

ONE OF FIVE MEMPHIS SITES ON THE U.S. CIVIL RIGHTS TRAIL

Come hear our stories: memphistravel.com/civil-rights-trail

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Shiloh Baptist Church ALBANY, GEORGIA Throughout the civil rights movement, many cities were fortunate to have been visited by King; in Albany, Georgia, he came to Shiloh Baptist Church. Here, he not only spoke to the congregation but also met with community leaders and activists from organizations including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Together they were successful in launching and coordinating several major campaigns against racism and segregation across the state and further afield. “Shiloh Baptist Church was the epicenter of the Albany Movement,” said W. Frank Wilson, former executive director of the Albany Civil Rights Institute and vice chairman of deacon ministry at Shiloh Baptist Church. “The Albany Movement was key for King having success in Courtesy Shiloh Baptist Church Birmingham and other places, and was the catalyst for civil rights activity in Americus, Sylvester and other southwest Georgia locations.” In addition to its place on the Civil Rights Trail, the historic building, which is still home to Emanuel AME Church an active congregation, is also part of the Georgia Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Trail. CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA Tours of the sanctuary, which remains much as it was during the civil rights movement, can Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church has experienced more than its be arranged through the Albany Civil Rights share of hardships: segregationist legislation, raids, vicious harassment, Institute, located across the street. fire, the Civil War, an earthquake and a devastating hurricane. Yet it still VISITALBANYGA.COM/ATTRACTION/ stands today as the oldest African Methodist Episcopal church in the ALBANY-CIVIL-RIGHTS-INSTITUTE southern U.S. and the country’s first independent Black congregation. Founded in 1816 in the Methodist tradition and associated with the nonsectarian Free African Society, the church still maintains much of its original Gothic Revival grandeur, with beautiful brick and wood, marble panels, eye-catching murals, original wooden pews, a massive pipe organ and an extensive library. In addition to serving the African American community for over 200 years, the church has also hosted numerous notable Black leaders and civil rights movement icons. Among them was educator, author and orator Booker T. Washington; theologian, cultural historian, national civil rights leader and SCLC member Wyatt Tee Walker; and King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, both of whom came in the 1960s to encourage voter registration and to lead a crucial hospital workers strike. In 2015, a white supremacist brutally murdered nine church members here, and a few years later the church became part of the Mother Emanuel Way Memorial District, created and named in honor of those fallen parishioners. The church, which is open for tours, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. MOTHEREMANUEL.COM

SHILOH

BAPTIST CHURCH

EMANUEL AME CHURCH

Courtesy Emanuel AME Church

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Clayborn Temple MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE Purchased in 1949 from the Presbyterian Church and renamed in honor of a local AME bishop, Clayborn Temple has always been an integral part of Memphis’ Black community. This once-majestic Romanesque Revival church was a central location during one of the most important events in the history of the civil rights movement: the 1968 Sanitation Workers Strike. The strike was in response to the deaths of two sanitation workers who, after attempting to seek shelter from a torrential rainstorm inside a company office, were forced to wait it out in the back of their truck. The truck was struck by lightning, igniting the starter and crushing them to death. Over a thousand people met, organized and marched from Clayborn Temple in the fight for equal working conditions and higher pay, their efforts memorialized in photographs and other media of the now famous “I Am a Man” signs they carried. King was scheduled to speak here; however, he was assassinated a few days before at the Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968. The church, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is currently undergoing extensive renovations, and a projected opening date for its congregation and the visiting public has not yet been announced. Nevertheless, visitors can meander through the adjacent “I Am a Man Plaza” created to honor the striking sanitation workers and featuring a moving sculpture and wall filled with the names of those who participated in the ultimately successful strike. CLAYBORN.ORG

STATE &

CLAYBORN

TEMPLE

By Raphael Tenschert

MISSISSIPPI FREEDOM TRAIL

LOCAL TRAI LS

F

reedom Rides. From the Capital/River area to the Delta, Hills and Coast, this trail features some of the most pivotal people, sites and events in the fight for racial equality and justice. For example, in downtown Jackson, there is the Greyhound Bus Station Marker that commemorates where the third group of Freedom Riders arrived in town. On the grounds of the courthouse in Canton, the Madison County Movement Marker shares the story of three activists that opened an office to register Black voters, created Freedom Schools and staged a boycott. The Marks Mule Train and Poor People’s Campaign Marker stands in tribute to when Martin Luther King Jr. visited that city in March 1968 to organize a march in support of anti-poverty projects. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference continued the work a month after King’s assassination. In April 1960, 125 people waded into the water along segregated Biloxi Beach to protest the exclusion of Blacks. Their peaceful defiance

is memorialized on the Biloxi Beach Wade-In Marker. And in Ruleville, there’s the Fannie Lou Hamer Marker in the park by the same name — a lifesize statue and her gravesite are also there — celebrating the life of this civil rights activist and delegate of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party at the 1964 Democratic National Convention

MISSISSIPPITOURGUIDE.COM/ FREEDOM-TRAIL MISSISSIPPI FREEDOM TRAIL

Courtesy Visit Mississippi

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ALABAMA | ARKANSAS | FLORIDA | GEORGIA | KANSAS | KENTUCKY | LOUISIANA | MISSISSIPPI MISSOURI | NORTH CAROLINA | SOUTH CAROLINA | TENNESSEE | VIRGINIA | WEST VIRGINIA

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