Civil Rights Circle
6-day Tour Beginning and Ending in Atlanta
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and the American Civil Rights struggles that shaped the world are highlighted in this road trip.
Fly into Atlanta, pick up your car and drive to Alabama’s capital city, Montgomery (2:20 hours, 150 miles). On your way you should stop to see the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site and learn about the brave African Americans that broke the race barrier during WWII. The U.S. National Park Service operates the museum in Tuskegee. Later, continue to Montgomery and enjoy The Alley entertainment district of downtown Montgomery, which includes a baseball park, basement jazz club, two performance facilities, an outdoor riverfront amphitheater, several restaurants, bars, a New Orleans-style alley and a riverboat cruise. The Alley connects Commerce and Tallapoosa Streets in downtown Montgomery and is adjacent to, or just one block away from, four hotels.
Montgomery is a true southern city. It is not only the capital city of Alabama, but also a place where the southern flavor runs as deep as the nearby Alabama River. Both Civil War and Civil Rights histories were made here. It was in Montgomery that Martin Luther King came to preach and ended up starting the Civil Rights Movement in America. Tour the Rosa Parks Museum, named after the woman who refused to move to the back of a city bus. With the help of Dr. King Jr., and other civil rights activists, a yearlong boycott started the modern Civil Rights movement in America. Stand in the pulpit of the only church where Dr. King preached as a full-time minister. See the home where he and his family lived. Tour the Civil Rights Memorial. Also downtown is the Alabama State Capitol where protesters marched to demand the right to vote. The Capitol has been restored to its Civil War-era beauty and sits across from the First White House of the Confederacy. Walking along the downtown streets of Montgomery you will pass the fountain where slaves were auctioned to plantation owners. Turning the corner, the buildings still have that old southern charm but now house the museum dedicated to America ’s first country music superstar, Hank Williams. At the end of the street are the Alabama River and the Harriott II, a riverboat named after the first steamship to make the trip up the Alabama River to Montgomery.
Travel to Selma (1 hour, 50 miles) where American history was made during the Selma-to-Montgomery Civil Rights March. There are two U.S. Park Service museums on this route, one at the midpoint and another in Selma. Tour the museums dedicated to the march before travelling to Birmingham to overnight (2 hours, 100 miles).
You are now in Birmingham, Alabama ’s largest city, with a population of nearly 1 million. In the historic 4th Avenue area of downtown sit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the 16th Street Baptist Church, where four children died in a bombing, and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. Look to the mountain ridge at the edge of downtown and see the world’s largest cast iron statue, Vulcan. There is plenty of dining and entertainment in downtown Birmingham. Alabama jazz inductee Ona Watson operates his own club, Ona’s Music Room. Five Points South is the dining center of the town at one end of 20th Street and a new entertainment district at the convention center sits near the other end of this main downtown street. Other sites include Barber Motorsports Museum with the world’s largest collection of motorcycles and the oldest baseball park in America, Rickwood Field.
If you arrive in Birmingham on Saturday, check out Gips Place – on of the south’s few true juke joints and then go to 16th Street Baptist Church for Sunday service with gospel choir.
Travel to Atlanta (2:20, 150 miles), one of the top ten largest cities in America. While in Atlantasee as much of the World of Coke, the Georgia Aquarium and the King Center as possible before your flight leaves the following day.
CIVIL RIGHTS CIRCLE
6 Day / 5 Night Itinerary:
Montgomery: 2 nights
Selma-Birmingham – 2 nights
Atlanta – 1 night