The civil rights movement was a volatile and influential time in our nation’s history. We study it in our schools, watch movies portraying its leaders and feel its impact on today’s society. How much more powerful would it be to experience it first hand? Planning an historical student trip to Birmingham, Alabama is a compelling way to connect the past and the present.
Birmingham Civil Rights District
This historical city in the deep south hearkens back to a time of civil unrest and great change in the United States. The Birmingham Civil Rights District is an area of downtown where several significant events took place in the 1950s and 60s. It’s an easily walkable route (especially for student groups). Highlights include Kelly Ingram Park, 16th Street Baptist Church, Fourth Avenue Business District, A.G. Gaston Gardens (formerly the A.G. Gaston Motel), Carver Theater and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
The struggles and triumphs of the civil rights movement are captured beautifully at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. BCRI is dedicated to educating new generations by exploring a common past and preserving our civil and human rights history. BCRI is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and offers group pricing.
Historic Bethel Baptist Church
Just a few minutes’ drive from downtown is Historic Bethel Baptist Church. The church played a crucial part in the 1961 Freedom Ride, providing refuge for wounded or stranded riders under the guidance of Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.
Alabama Penny Savings Bank Building
Founded by William Reuben Pettiford in 1890, the Alabama Penny Savings Bank was the first black-owned bank in the state and the 2nd largest black-owned bank in the country. Its was instrumental in helping African Americans achieve home ownership and in the development of Birmingham businesses and churches.
Other Attractions of Interest
If you’re willing to go a little further, the Civil Rights Memorial Center, Rosa Parks Museum and Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site are just a bus ride away. Stops at these attractions will certainly round out your civil rights movement itinerary and thrill students.
We are living in an era that is truly reminiscent of another time in our nation’s history when the social climate was enduring growing pains. Planning a trip to historically rich Birmingham is a wonderful way to connect our past, present and future- and remember the lessons learned there!
Trust the Experts
As you plan your historical trip to Birmingham, count on the experts at Kaleidoscope Adventures to help. Kaleidoscope Adventures will help you customize an historical travel experience your students won’t soon forget. Call the KA team of experts at 407-345-4899 for travel beyond expectations!