While most are familiar with the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., other events and key figures in the civil rights movement don't necessarily receive as much attention. If you are interested in furthering your own education or teaching your children more about the civil rights movement in an effort to have deeper family conversations about the "Black Lives Matter" protests of today, the opportunity to visit the U.S. Civil Rights Trail is currently virtual and free — here's what to know.
U.S. Civil Rights Trail (USCRT), which was launched two years ago, is a collection of churches, courthouses, schools, and museums significant to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Since the trail spans 15 states and the District of Columbia, it may be impractical for your family to visit all of these important sites in person. Thankfully, these virtual tours, along with our list of books about race written for kids, are a great way to facilitate a conversation about race and anti-racism at home.
What constitutes a 'virtual tour' differs from museum to museum — on USCRT's website, you'll find some background, from a timeline of the movement and interactive map showing you where historically significant events took place. You'll also be able to access 10 different experiences, which explain key figures, struggles, and victories during the civil rights movement, including:
"Sitting Down to Take a Stand" — A look at non-violent, student-led sit-ins that took place at segregated businesses like the Woolworth’s department store lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.
"Risking It All and Riding for Freedom" — Activists known as Freedom Riders challenged southern state's failure to enforce desegregated public buses by riding interstate buses across the South. This online exhibit highlights important stops, and violence perpetuated against the Freedom Riders.
"Representative John Lewis" — U.S. Representative John Lewis of Georgia has dedicated more than 60 years to the fight for Civil Rights, learn more about this Medal of Freedom-awarded activist.
"Remembering Emmett Till" — The murder of Emmett Hill, the trial of his accusers, and the long-lasting influence of his death are explored in this online experience.
If you'd like to plan an in-person tour of these sites for yourself, the USCRT website has more information on how to visit the 100+ destinations on its trail.
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