Civil Rights Legacy
The heart of the Civil Rights Movement during the mid-20th century was founded here. Go behind the scenes of the lives of those that started a movement. From Rosa Parks’ refusal to take the back seat to the courageous Freedom Riders, Alabama is home to some of the most pivotal moments in history. Here, you can encounter an era of triumph and tragedy. You can celebrate moments that not only redefined our state but also our nation and world forever. There are many interactive exhibits and museums dedicated to the Movement allowing you to reflect on the past and look to a future where all are indeed equal.
Hit the Road To Explore Gee’s Bend
In the Southwest rural corner of the state of Alabama, there is a small parcel of land called Gee’s Bend. Gee’s Bend is surrounded by the Alabama River and it is only accessible by ferry. It was founded by a wealthy landowner Joseph Gee who moved to the area in the early 1800s. Gee brought several slaves with him to the area and later sold the land along with the slaves to Mark Pettway. After the Civil War, the freed slaves founded an all-black-owned community there that was isolated from the rest of the state.
About a century later, the women of this isolated community began the Freedom Quilting Bee Collective which became an outgrowth of the Civil Rights Movement. The women were dedicated to community development and sold crafts as a way to raise money for their projects. However, their efforts were thwarted in 1962 when the ferry service was shut down and once again Gee’s Bend was isolated from the outside world. It would be 44 years later before service was restored to Gee’s Bend. Despite this, the women of the quilting collective would garner attention from fashion designers in New York City which started a revival in patchwork quilting.
In 1997, the Alabama Legislature designated the Pine Burr Quilt the official quilt of the state. The Pine Burr quilt pattern, boasting an intricate, three-dimensional design, has deep roots in the African-American community, particularly among the women of Gee’s Bend. Loretta Pettway Bennett, who created a Pine Burr quilt that she...
Civil Rights: Tracing Selma to Montgomery
Experience Alabama's Civil Rights Trail.
Featured Locations & Events
Whether it's walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge or touring 16th Street Baptist Church, Alabama has some of the most enriching civil rights experiences waiting for you.
The Legacy Lives! Hear it
Alabama Civil Rights Trail Podcast
Before planning your trip, be sure to check out upcoming events!
Symposium on the Civil Rights Movement
MontgomeryMore Details »
43rd annual Heritage Festival: 43 Years of Poetry Celebrations
AnnistonMore Details »
The Legacy Lives Here
Explore these attractions and more when you visit our civil rights destinations.