1. First African Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa
Using this church as their demonstration headquarters, pastor Rev. T.Y. Rogers, Jr. and the local community came together to protest segregation in Tuscaloosa.
Tensions came to a head on June 9th when a rally testing the local ban on protests forced federal courts to confront the local segregation issue.
The Tuscaloosa police commissioner arrested Rev. Rogers once he refused to cancel the rally. The police charged and pushed the crowd into the church, and later used fire hoses and threw tear gas into the church windows to force protestors outside to arrest them. Police arrested 91 protesters that day.
On June 26, a federal judge ordered Tuscaloosa County to remove offensive courthouse signs, citing the 14th Amendment.
2. Brown Chapel AME Church, Selma
Brown Chapel and its members played major roles in the Selma marches that lead to the enactment of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Brown Chapel acted as the beginning of the Selma-to-Montgomery marches and hosted the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) for three months in 1965.
3. First Baptist Church, Selma
Like Brown Chapel, First Baptist Church was a key player in passing the 1965 Voting Rights Act by allowing the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to use the church as their Selma headquarters.
4. The City of St. Jude Historic District, Montgomery
St. Jude’s Catholic Hospital opened in 1951, becoming the first integrated hospital in the Southeast. They offered equal health, education, and social services. St. Jude’s Church hosted an integrated prayer group.
In 1965, St. Jude’s Church offered Martin Luter King, Jr. and the 2,000 participants of the Selma-to-Montgomery march shelter in its 36 acres on the night before the final march.
It was on these fields that stars such as Pete Seeger, Odetta, and Joan Baez performed at the “Stars of Freedom Rally.”
The hospital staff tried to save the life of Viola Liuzzo, a homemaker from Detroit who was shot by members of the KKK as she drove marchers back to Selma.
5. The Frank M. Johnson, Jr. Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse (formerly the U.S. Post Office & Courthouse), Montgomery
Frank M. Johnson, Jr. was a federal judge known for his revolutionary rulings that helped bring the visions of the civil rights movement to life.
He ruled against segregated city buses, ordered the names of black voters to county voting rolls, and wrote the first school segregation decree for the state of Alabama. Johnson eliminated literacy tests when he ruled voting registers must follow consistent standards.
He also opened U.S. Route 80 for the Selma-to-Montgomery March after watching footage of “Bloody Sunday” on the news, declaring the right of assembly outweighed the right to unobstructed sidewalks and highways.
These rulings, of course, were controversial, and Johnson and his family endured cross burnings and a bombing. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award, from President Clinton in 1995.
6. Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery
This church was a gathering place for those involved in the Montgomery bus boycott. This boycott was the first mass protest against racial discrimination and served as a model for future grassroots community organizing.
Montgomery city buses were relatively empty for almost a full year. Supporters of the boycott walked to work, carpooled with volunteers, or used station wagons donated by churches called “rolling taxis.” The bus line lost between 30,000-40,000 bus fares daily, but it wasn’t until the Supreme Court ruled the bus segregation unconstitutional in November 1956 that the company finally desegregated its buses.
7. Dexter Avenue Baptist Church Pastorium, Montgomery
Martin Luter King, Jr. lived here from 1954 and 1960. On January 31, 1956, after the success of the Montgomery bus boycott, King’s home was bombed by segregationists. In 1957, the parsonage was bombed again, destroying the front of the house. Despite their confessions, the men who committed the 1957 bombing were acquitted by a jury.
8. Butler Chapel AME Zion Church, Tuskegee
Butler Chapel served as a meeting place for black residents of Tuskegee as they faced unfair gerrymandering from the state legislature. Over 3,000 residents came to the small Butler Chapel to listen to Professor Charles Gomillion as he urged residents to boycott local white merchants through the “Trade with Friends” grassroots movement.
He stated, “We are going to buy goods and services from those who help us, from those who make no effort to hinder us, from those who recognize us as first-class citizens.” The boycott began on June 25, 1957, and didn’t end until early 1961 when city boundaries were returned to the original positions.
9. West Park (Kelly Ingram Park), Birmingham
West Park is known as the site where Birmingham police and fireman attacked civil rights demonstrators and children, bringing this violence in Birmingham into national attention.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), with leadership from Martin Luther King, Jr., organized various boycotts and marches from this park.
10. 16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham
The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church is the location the KKK bombed on September 15, 1963, killing four girls: Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley.
These four deaths, coupled with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy two months later, focused the momentum that ultimately lead to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
11. Oscar Stanton De Priest House, Chicago
“This eight-flat apartment building, constructed in 1920, is associated with Oscar Stanton De Priest, the first African American elected to Congress in the 20th century. De Priest bought the building in 1929 and lived in one of its apartments until his death in 1951.”
12. Ida B. Wells-Barnett House, Chicago
“Ida Bell Wells-Barnett lived in Chicago in this late-19th-century Romanesque Revival style stone residence while fighting to end lynching, segregation and the economic oppression of African Americans. She and her husband bought the building in 1919 and lived there until 1929.”
13. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, Atlanta
“Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birth home, church, and grave site comprise this National Historic Site and Preservation District along with the previously National Register-listed Martin Luther King, Jr., Historic District and the historic black commercial area, the Sweet Auburn Historic District. All of these properties are important in understanding both the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the civil rights movement.”
14. Atlanta Center University Historic District, Atlanta
“This sprawling six-campus university boasts four institutions prominent in the civil rights movement: Morehouse College (“the black Harvard”), Spelman College, Atlanta University, and West Hunter Street Baptist Church. Martin Luther King, Jr., graduated from Morehouse College, and Morehouse students Lonnie King and Julian Bond organized sit-ins, boycotts, and marches throughout the city. Spelman student Ruby Doris Smith helped lead freedom rides, sit-ins, jail-ins, and voter registration drives. Civil rights leaders W.E.B. Du Bois and Whitney Young, Jr., taught and chaired departments at Atlanta University. Rev. Ralph Abernathy pastored West Hunter when he was head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.”
15. Mount Zion Baptist Church
“The a cappella singing that became the trademark and the unifying force of the civil rights movement was introduced at this church by three student “Freedom Singers”–Ruth A. Harris, Bernice Johnson, and Cordell Reagon.”
16. Dorchester Academy Boys’ Dormitory, Midway
“Dorchester Academy, an abandoned Congregationalist missionary school not far from Savannah, Georgia, was one of two sites where the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) held its citizenship education workshops during the 1960s. In less than two years, the SCLC trained close to 2,000 teachers and leaders, who in turn taught more than 10,500 others in their home communities.”
17. Lincoln Memorial
“The Lincoln Memorial has been the site of civil rights demonstrations for nearly six decades. On its steps Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke of his dream for America”
18. Mary Church Terrell House
“This house was the home of Memphis-born Mary Church Terrell, who at age 86 led the successful fight to integrate eating places in the District of Columbia.”
19. Andrew Rankin Chapel, Frederick Douglass Memorial Hall, and Founders Library
“Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, Frederick Douglass Memorial Hall, and Founders Library at Howard University in Washington, DC, were important settings for this institution’s role in the legal establishment of racially desegregated public education…Howard University led the country in the education of civil rights attorneys dedicated to legally securing desegregation, the academic research supporting the unconstitutionality of segregation, and the community outreach needed to challenge and define the interpretation of the United States Constitution in American society. No other university provided the same level of support to the desegregation fight.”
20. John Philip Sousa Junior High School
“The John Philip Sousa Junior High School, a National Historic Landmark, is associated with the struggle to desegregate schools in the nation’s capitol. Unlike any other school system in the country, the public schools of Washington, D.C., emerged from a municipal government system that was largely dependent upon congressional support.”
21. Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, Topeka
“Monroe Elementary School (now Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site) and Sumner Elementary School (a National Historic Landmark) are two of the schools in Topeka , Kansas and elsewhere in the country that played a significant role in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education. On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” The decision forced the desegregation of public schools in 21 states.”
22. Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, Little Rock
“Little Rock High School, now Central High School National Historic Site, is a national emblem of the often violent struggle over school desegregation. Parting the Waters author Taylor Branch calls the Little Rock crisis “the most severe test of the Constitution since the Civil War.’ ”
23. The Daisy Bates House, Little Rock
“The Daisy Bates House, a National Historic Landmark, was the de facto command post for the Central High School desegregation crisis in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was the first time a President used federal powers to uphold and implement a federal court decision regarding school desegregation.”
24. All-Star Bowling Lane, Orangeburg
“All Star Bowling Lane–Orangeburg, South Carolina’s only bowling alley–played a pivotal role in the February 8, 1968, “Orangeburg Massacre” on the campus of South Carolina State College. In this confrontation between black students and police, three students were killed and 27 injured.”
25. South Carolina College Historic District, Orangeburg
“Students at this black college organized sit-ins that contributed to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Four years later, they led protests resulting in “The Orangeburg Massacre,” which pointed out that passage of the Act was not the end of the struggle. The South Carolina State College Historic District is the core of the historic campus at South Carolina State University.”
26. Modjeska Montieth Simkins House, Columbia
“Modjeska Monteith Simkins was an important leader of African-American public health reform, social reform and the civil rights movement in South Carolina…Simkins was able to serve in leadership positions that were traditionally unavailable to women in the civil rights movement.”
27. F.W. Woolworth Building, Greensboro
“The Woolworth’s Five & Dime in Greensboro, North Carolina, is historically significant for a unique sit-in [of 400 participants] that empowered student activists for the next decade and changed the face of segregation forever.”
28. Robert Russa Moton High School, Farmville
“A student-led strike at this Virginia school played a significant role in ending segregated “separate but equal” schools throughout the nation. In 1896, the Supreme Court had ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that the segregation of races in public facilities was constitutional if the separate facilities were equal.”
29. New Kent School and George W. Watkins School, New Kent Co.
“The New Kent and Watkins schools illustrate the typical characteristics of a southern rural school system that achieved token desegregation following Brown and stand as a symbol to the modern civil rights movement of 1954 to 1970 efforts to expand the rights of African Americans in the United States.”
30. Lincolnville Historic District, St. Augustine
“St. Augustine, Florida, is the oldest city in the United States, and until 1964, one of the most segregated. A dentist and NAACP representative named Robert Hayling from the historic subdivision of Lincolnville initiated the protest actions that eventually ended discrimination in the old city. ”
31. Howard Thurman House, Daytona Beach
“Author, philosopher, theologian, and educator Howard Thurman spent most of his childhood in this late 19th-century, two-story, wood frame vernacular residence. In quiet moments before a civil rights march, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., used to read from Thurman’s Jesus and the Disinherited–a book that laid much of the philosophical foundation for a nonviolent civil rights movement. ”
32. Paul Robeson Home, NYC
“The “Renaissance man” who lived in this apartment was renowned for his rich baritone voice, superb acting ability, and passionate zeal for racial and human justice…In 1937, Robeson wrote, “the artist must elect to fight for freedom or for slavery. I have made my choice. I have no alternative.” He continued this fight for freedom, both political and artistic, until his death in 1976.”
33. Dunbar Apartments, NYC
“Labor reformer and unionist Asa Philip Randolph, one of many influential African Americans who lived at the Dunbar Apartments, battled racism in American industry. He also is well-known for spearheading the 1963 March on Washington which ended at the Lincoln Memorial… The Dunbar Apartments, the first large garden complex in Manhattan, contained a nursery school, playground, retail stores, and a branch of the Dunbar National Bank, Harlem’s first bank to be managed and staffed by African Americans.”
34. Willian Monroe Trotter House, Dorchestor
“Harvard-educated newspaper editor William Monroe Trotter, who lived in this house for most of his career, spoke out against the racism of the early 20th century. He is well-remembered, too, for publicly and vehemently denouncing educator Booker T. Washington, who believed African Americans should find ways to “get along”with their white oppressors.”
35. W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite, Great Barrignton
“W.E.B. Du Bois, who lived in a now demolished house on this site during his boyhood, was a voice that inspired African Americans to believe in themselves and to fight for justice. Du Bois felt a special bond to the Great Barrington property, which had been in his family for more than 200 years.”
36. Elizabeth Harden Gilmore House, Charleston
“Civil rights leader Elizabeth Harden Gilmore lived and worked in this house from 1947 until her death in 1986. She pioneered efforts to integrate her state’s schools, housing, and public accommodations and to pass civil rights legislation enforcing such integration.”
37. Lincoln Hall, Berea College, Berea
“Berea College’s Lincoln Hall–or what used to be called “Recitation Hall”–was the focus of civil rights activities for nearly three-quarters of a century.”
38. Whitney M. Young Jr. Birthplace, Simpsonville
“Whitney M. Young, Jr., lived in this simple two-story wooden house on the campus of the Lincoln Institute of Kentucky, where his father taught, until he was 15. He spent most of his career working to end employment discrimination in the South and turning the National Urban League from a relatively passive civil rights organization into one that aggressively fought for justice.”
39. Shelly House, St. Louis
“This modest, two-story masonry residence built in St. Louis, Missouri in 1906 is associated with an African American family’s struggle for justice that had a profound effect on American society. Because the J. D. Shelley family decided to fight for the right to live in the home of their choosing, the United States Supreme Court addressed the issue of restrictive racial covenants in housing in the landmark 1948 case of Shelley v. Kraemer.”
49. Malcolm X House Site, Omaha
“On May 19, 1925, Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little) was born in a now-demolished house on this site. As a civil rights leader he advocated racial separatism over integration and the legitimacy of violence in self-defense. He also championed the beauty and worth of blackness and black Americans’ African past.”
41. Moulin Rouge Hotel, Las Vegas
“Promoters of the Moulin Rouge Hotel called it “the nation’s first major interracial hotel.” Nevada Assembly bills designed to bar discrimination in public places had failed, the last by only one vote. So a diverse group of investors took a different tactic. They developed plans for an integrated hotel in a prime location–a site between the predominately white area of the Strip and the largely black west side. The result was a hotel integrated at all levels, from employees to patrons to entertainers.”
42. Bethel AME Church, Reno
“The Bethel AME Church in Reno, Nevada, was a religious, social and political center of the African American community, initially for black settlers in the 1910s, and later for local civil rights activists during the 1960s.”
43. Calvary Baptist Church, Oklahoma City
“This church was the physical and spiritual base for a multi-year sit-in campaign that changed the face of segregation in Oklahoma City. Calvary was the “start” and the “finish” for most of the sit-ins, despite threats to cancel the church’s insurance and to bomb the building.”
44. Bizzell Library at the University of Oklahoma, Norman
“A National Historic Landmark, the University of Oklahoma’s Bizzell Library figured prominently in the historic movement to racially desegregate public higher education in the South in the mid-20th century, as well as the Federal government’s position on eliminating racial segregation within a democratic society.”
45. Juanita Craft House, Dallas
“Juanita Craft lived in this modest, one-story wood frame house for 50 years, and both Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr., visited her there to discuss the future of the civil rights movement. Craft played a crucial role in integrating two universities, the 1954 Texas State Fair, and Dallas theaters, restaurants, and lunch counters.”
46. Tougaloo College, Tougaloo
“During the 1950s and 1960s, this historically black college became a primary center of activity of the civil rights movement in Mississippi. Students at Tougaloo, whose campus is located ten miles north of Jackson, led a multi-year effort to end racial discrimination in the state’s capital city.”
47. Mason Temple, Church of God in Christ, Memphis
“Mason Temple served as a focal point of civil rights activities in Memphis during the 1950s and 1960s. Mason Temple was built between 1940 and 1945 as the administrative and spiritual center of the Church of God in Christ, the second largest black denomination.”
48. Lorraine Hotel, Memphis
“On April 4, 1968, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated here at the Lorraine Hotel, just a day after speaking at the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ.”