It is Black History Month and the perfect time to honor the Civil Rights heroes by planning a trip through the South. Today we talk to Mia Henry from Freedom Lifted about which civil rights sites to visit, how to plan a trip, and what to expect along the way. If this type of trip isn’t on your radar, be sure to listen to hear why it should be and the powerful impact it can have on you and your kids.
ON THE PODCAST
00:32 – Talking with Tamara about her Civil Rights road trip
08:08 – Talking with Mia Henry
12:03 – Top Civil Rights destinations
20:47 – Sample Itinerary
22:30 – Combining your trip
28:52 – Touring on your own vs. with a guide
36:27 – What age to take your kids
38:30 – Books and Documentaries
44:25 – Mia’s favorite travel gear
47:30 – Thank You!!!
ABOUT MIA HENRY
Freedom Lifted hosts customized Civil Rights tours for groups through the Deep South. They work with students, teachers, and large family groups to plan and lead educational experiences to Alabama, Mississippi and more places connected to the movement. For more information, see www.freedomlifted.com.
TIPS FOR VISITING CIVIL RIGHTS SITES
- If you are thinking about visiting some civil rights sites, here are six must visit places to add to your itinerary.
- National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel may be the first item on many lists, but you may think about making this a last stop on your tour of civil rights sites. This site really pulls moments of the Civil Rights movement together.
- Equal Justice Initiative has opened some new sites in Montgomery, Alabama, like the Peace and Justice Memorial which honors more than four thousand documented lynchings across the country, along with the thousands more that are undocumented. There is also the Legacy Museum that really lays out the context of the black freedom struggle.
- Edmund Pettus Bridge is a national monument that symbolizes the pain of Bloody Sunday but also the triumph and beginning of the Selma to Montgomery March (or the 5-Day March).
- The Rosa Parks Museum is fantastic for families to visit. With the guided tour you will learn facts about how collective action was at the core of the Montgomery bus boycott.
- The Fannie Lou Hamer gravesite in Mississippi is a favorite. She was a leader in the Mississippi Democratic Party. She famously testified at the Democratic National Convention in 1964.
- The Whitney Plantation is a great site to visit so that you understand the long freedom struggle in the country and the history of slavery.
- If you are planning your trip around civil rights sites, you should make sure to have at least four days to spend exploring and visiting these national sites.
- You may think about making a trip to Alabama or maybe just starting there. You could spend a day in Birmingham, a half a day in Selma, a day and a half to two days in Montgomery. All of these areas are within an hour and a half of each other so you could easily visit them without changing where you are staying.
- Unless you have at least a week you shouldn’t try to combine Memphis and Alabama. Due to the distance, you will be spending a lot of time of your trip driving if you did combine them. You could combine Memphis with Mississippi by spending some time in Memphis first and explore some music related places first, like the Stax Museum. Then move onto some site in the Mississippi Delta like the BB KIng Museum or the Fannie Lou Hamer gravesite. Then you could head to the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum which is a massive museum and the first Civil Rights museum in Mississippi.
- If you would like to get a first hand account of the Civil Rights Movement, you can look into Civil Rights Movement Veterans which is a website that has a list of all the people of the movement that have registered with them. These people are willing to meet and talk to groups or you can just click through the list and read their stories.
- You may want to think about visiting some of these historic sites in a tour group rather than alone because there are some places like the 16th Street Baptist Church which usually only opens for groups.
- If you are traveling with children you may want to think about whether they are old enough to really understand and respect the events of history they will be learning about. Though you may decide your child needs to be older to visit these sites, around 12 years old is a good age for some. This is an age they may be starting to learn about this in school so it would be great for them to get more in depth information and see the historic sites first hand rather in photos.
- Depending on the age of your kids you should look into having them read some books on Civil Rights or even watching some documentaries as a family so that you all can get a little more informed before taking your trip.
FAVORITE TRAVEL GEAR
Mia loves to wear Eileen Fisher Crepe pants and a pair of Crocs in the summertime. Since she the temperature is constantly changing and the bus temp can fluctuate she like to make sure she has layers including scarves.
MENTIONED ON THE PODCAST
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