The United States Civil Rights Trail was launched on New Year’s Day 2018 – a significant date because it is the anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s decree that freed slaves during the Civil War. 

map of civil rights trail locations

Map from

The Trail features well over 100 famous and lesser-known landmarks from the Civil Rights Era in the 1950s and 60s, and gives history buffs and civic-minded sightseers insight into the struggles and achievements of the activists, religious leaders, and everyday folks of the movement. So go ahead — take the first step and experience this tumultuous moment in America’s recent past.

Spend a moment or two in silence at the Birmingham church that Klansmen bombed one Sunday — a crime that tragically killed four children. Walk across the same bridge in Selma where state police violently attacked voting rights demonstrators on Bloody Sunday. Tour the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta and mark the 50th anniversary of his April 4, 1968 assassination with a tour of the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis where he was shot.

Take a look inside the Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, North Carolina, where four black college students bravely occupied the “whites only” lunch counter stools for America’s first sit-in. Tour the Little Rock, Arkansas, high school where President Eisenhower deployed thousands of federal troops to enforce court-ordered school integration.

The Trail also includes four major museums that were built to interpret the movement: the Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, and the newly opened Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Mississippi.

All in all, the United States Civil Rights Trail spans 15 states and the District of Columbia, stretching from Topeka, Kansas, to the Atlantic coast,  and Wilmington, Delaware, to New Orleans, Louisiana. The Trail’s official website offers a wealth of insights and details to help you create your own Civil Rights-oriented itinerary.

Were you or close loved ones involved in the Civil Rights Movement? We would love to hear about your experiences at any of the places that are now part of the Civil Rights Trail.


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About The Author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, curator, and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world. He’s called London home since 2001.