USA Road Trip – Civil Rights Trail

Anyone who knows me, knows I love a road trip in the USA.  There are various itineraries you can follow all over the country.  Today I’m going to look at the Civil Rights Trail.  If you love history, music and good food – this is the itinerary for you!

The Trail starts in Nashville, there are direct flights from Heathrow.  The city is mostly known for its live music, but in 1960 there were some important sit-ins here to protest segregation. Visit the sites where these happened, and view artwork depicting key events on the ‘witness walls’ by the city’s courthouse.

Next drive to Memphis – it’s a 3 hour drive, but when we did it pre-COVID, we stopped off halfway.  Here you’ll find the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968 , nearby is the National Civil Rights Museum.  Again music is an important part of the city – visit Graceland where Elvis lived.  But I’d recommend a visit to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, for a look into African-American Culture.  Definitely hit Beale Street at night for good music in every bar, weekends are very busy here.

As you head further south into Mississippi, stop off at smaller towns before arriving in the State capital of Jackson, where you’ll find the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.  The next State is Alabama, including Tuscaloosa, where black students were initially banned from entering the University of Alabama in 1963, and Selma, where right-to-vote marches were held. Montgomery, famous for being the place where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus, is just under an hour east of here.

In Georgia, head to the coast and charming Savannah, where more sit-ins took place, before travelling to state capital Atlanta. The King Center is a must-see, as the final resting place of Martin Luther King Jr, before hearing some of the pastor’s sermons at Ebenezer Baptist Church.  The King Center is very moving as it shows footage relating to his life and the times he lived through.  Other attractions in the city include the World of Coca-Cola as Dr John Pemberton first served Coca-Cola in a pharmacy downtown.  For fans of Gone with the Wind, author Margaret Mitchell also lived in Atlanta and you can visit her house, now a museum.

Then back in Alabama, stop in Birmingham, where some of the most significant marches, sit-ins and boycotts from the civil rights movement took place, before returning to Nashville.

Thanks to Visit the USA trade team for the words and the itinerary.

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