Great North Music Tour | Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston
Itinerary: The Civil Rights History Trail
Regional Experiences Nashville | Memphis | Jackson
Tuscaloosa | Montgomery | Albany
Savannah | Atlanta | Birmingham


About this itinerary

Driving distance: 1668 miles
Recommended travelling time: 13 days
Recommended travel season: Year round
The Civil Rights Trail stretches across 14 U.S. states and encompasses more than 100 locations. Follow the rich and shocking history of the struggle for equal rights in the USA as you enjoy America's Southern culture, starting in Nashville, going across Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, before returning to Tennessee.

Nashville, Tennessee

 

Start your journey through civil rights history at Woolworth, a restaurant that pays homage to the Nashville sit-ins – non-violent protests against segregated public places in 1960. Learn more about the era by sitting at a symbolic lunch counter to read the sit-in protesters' Ten Rules of Conduct and other historical accounts. Next to the courthouse are the Witness Walls, concrete murals featuring events which spurred desegregation in Nashville.
To next stop: 212 miles| Total driven: 0 miles


Memphis, Tennessee

Continue to reach downtown Memphis, set on the Mississippi River. Start at the National Civil Rights Museum, learn about key milestones in civil rights history, including Rosa Parks' efforts and marches in Selma, Alabama. Appropriately, the final exhibit is Lorraine Motel's room 306, where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is a celebration of the music that accompanied the movement.
To next stop: 209 miles | Total driven: 212 miles

 


Jackson, Mississippi

Ninety minutes south, stop at the University of Mississippi and seek out the monument portraying James Meredith, the first African-American student to be admitted to the university. Start at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, see archive film of protests and demonstrations, as well as learn about the deaths of Medgar Evans and Emmett Till.
To next stop: 186 miles | Total driven: 421 miles

 


Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Drive to Tuscaloosa, where then-Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace stood at the entrance of the University of Alabama in 1963 to block the admission of two black students, determined to keep his promise for the university to remain segregated. President John F. Kennedy intervened, dispatching troops to protect the students, allowing them to enrol and sending a message to segregationists across the South.
To next stop: 103 miles | Total driven: 598 miles



Montgomery, Alabama

Drive 90 minutes south to reach Selma, the starting point of three 1965 right-to-vote marches. The path became a National Historic Trail in 1966. Montgomery had been thrust into the public conscience in 1955 by one African-American woman's refusal to give up her seat on a segregated bus, and visitors can see a 1955 city bus at the Rosa Parks Museum.
To next stop: 156 miles | Total driven: 701 miles


Albany, Georgia

Travel 40 minutes east to the home of the Tuskegee Airmen, the country's first African-American military aviators. The Tuskegee History Center traces the region's civil rights crusade. Continue southeast about two and a half hours to reach Albany, home of the Albany Movement, a group fighting for voters' rights and desegregation, and the first mass movement in the civil rights era to fight for the desegregation of an entire community.
To next stop: 224 | Total driven: 857 miles

 


Savannah, Georgia

Enjoy views of the Georgia countryside on the drive to the Atlantic coast. Stop in Midway to visit the museum at Historic Dorchester Academy, a key site where the Southern Christian Leadership Conference trained its teachers and leader. Finally arrive in Savannah, home of the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, which tells the story of local African-American history, and stroll its cobblestone streets, pretty parks and trendy restaurants.
To next stop: 248 miles | Total driven: 1081 miles



Atlanta, Georgia

Arrive in Atlanta, home to The King Center, birthplace of Martin Luther King and Fire Station No. 6, which was one of the first firehouses in the South to be desegregated. Visit the Eternal Flame and, while you're downtown, see attractions like the World of Coca-Cola and Centennial Olympic Park. This cosmopolitan city brims with great restaurants and lively nightlife hotspots.
To next stop: 147 miles | Total driven: 1329 miles

 


Birmingham, Alabama

Depart Atlanta to stop at the Freedom Riders National Monument. Drive to the next stop, Birmingham, a key battleground in the fight. Peaceful lunch counter sit-ins, boycotts and marches were met with such violence that they're widely accepted as key turning points in the civil rights; fire hoses and dogs were turned on peaceful protesters; it's now a site honouring leaders of the civil rights movement with statues and monuments.
To next stop: 192 miles | Total driven: 1476 miles


Nashville, Tennessee

The next stop, Scottsboro, is a two-hour drive north. Visit the Scottsboro Boys Museum & Cultural Center in the 133-year-old former Joyce Chapel United Methodist Church. Finally, return to Nashville.
Total driven: 1668 miles

 

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