Embark on a journey of discovery and understanding when you and your family travel to the destinations and landmarks that play a part in the American civil rights story. Here are five places to visit.
1. ROSA PARKS MUSEUM, MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA
Set in front of the bus stop where Parks was arrested in 1955 after refusing to sit in the back of the bus, the Rosa Parks Museum features a video re-enactment of her refusal to give up her seat to a white man and other interactive presentations. A children’s wing provides age-appropriate history lessons for youngsters.
2. ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA
Visit the city to seek an understanding of civil rights from Colonial times to the Civil War, illuminated by a compelling collection of sites. Originally the segregated library for Alexandria’s African-American residents, the Alexandria Black History Museum documents the local and national African-American experience through exhibits, speakers and interactive programs. At the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center, learn about those enslaved at nearby Mount Vernon.
3. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. MEMORIAL, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Families can seek ongoing inspiration from the words and work of King through a visit to this monument in Potomac Park. Sixteen quotes extracted from his eloquent messages of love and tolerance can be found along the granite wall facing the Tidal Basin. Site tours and Junior Ranger badge activities are available and can help extend the experience for children.
4. NATCHEZ, MISSISSIPPI
Delve into the city’s past — specifically the history of slavery — at the Museum of African American History & Culture on Main Street. A double-decker bus tour passes by many of Natchez’s most significant landmarks. Narration is provided from the point of view of two slaves who lived during the difficult era when slave trading at local markets was a part of daily life.
5. THE NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, MEMPHIS
The museum complex includes the Lorraine Motel, where King was assassinated, as well as the building where James Earl Ray fired the shot. The museum seeks to open a dialogue about a history that spans the era of slavery through the modern civil rights movement.