This isn’t for everyone…but it is a pilgrimage worth making
Just reading through the list of famous landmarks from the Civil Rights Era in the 1950s and 1960s that Travel South USA have gathered together is painful. It reminds us of things that happened that should not have happened. And yet…and yet there is a real purpose in remembering the courage of people who have gone before and acknowledging that there is still work to do.
The Civil Rights Trail launches later this month on 15 January 2018, the birthday of Martin Luther King.
Among the many places visitors can visit is the Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, North Carolina where four black college students sat down at the ‘whites only’ lunch counter and launched the sit-in movement.
The Trail also covers the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where King was murdered. This year is the 50th anniversary of his death.
It is also possible to go on a tour of the Little Rock, Arkansas high school where President Eisenhower sent thousands of federal troops to enforce a court order that allowed black students and white students to learn alongside each other. Although a toddler at the time, the images have become part of my personal history. Did they help me understand what was happening when I attended my school in Essex where Indian kids clumped together in the dinner queue and no one wanted to sit beside them in class? I don’t think so, but it was perhaps part of a growing awareness that unfairness and inequality doesn’t just happen in other places a world away, it is also on your own doorstep, your own classroom.
Travel South USA is the official go-to organisation for holiday information about the 12 states that make up The South. (And if you’re not sure you can remember all the southern states I’ve listed them below. To be honest, I only got nine…)
Here’s some more useful websites:
List of 12 states that make up The South
Alabama • Arkansas • Georgia• Kentucky • Louisiana • Mississippi• Missouri • North Carolina • South Carolina• Tennessee • Virginia, and • West Virginia.
(I always get confused about Kentucky and Missouri. I guess I think of them as being mid west…never been to either of them. Forgot all about West Virginia and I have been there!)