Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma

Civil Rights Legacy

From the Selma March to Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus, see how Alabama was at the heart of the civil rights struggle in the 1950s and '60s, an era of triumph and tragedy that redefined our nation.


Landmarks Edmund Pettus Bridge

Many civil rights-era sites have been preserved and made open to the public. Birmingham's Civil Rights District is home to Kelly Ingram Park, a site where marchers and activists came together in protest. Nearby is 16th Street Baptist Church, where Ku Klux Klan members killed four young girls in a 1963 bombing.

Walk across Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge , the site of a 1965 violent confrontation that helped rally national support for the Civil Rights Movement, or visit the airfield where the Tuskegee Airmen , the first African-American military pilots, trained during World War II. In Montgomery, stop by the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. was the pastor from 1954-1960.


Museums Civil Rights Memorial

At the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, you can step back in time and see a 1955 Montgomery city bus for yourself, or visit the nearby Dexter Parsonage Museum on the site where Martin Luther King Jr. lived while leading the Montgomery bus boycott. Learn about the movement’s foot soldiers at the National Voting Rights Museum Selma or about the secret life of Booker T. Washington at the Tuskegee Human & Civil Rights Multicultural Center.

And don’t miss a chance to visit the nation’s largest civil rights museum, Birmingham's Civil Rights Institute, which boasts 58,000 square feet of archives, galleries, community meeting rooms and exhibit spaces.


Trails Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

Midway along the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail on U.S. Highway 80 in Hayneville lies the $10 million Lowndes County Interpretive Center. The museum exhibits depict a wide range of events, including the establishment of “Tent City,” which housed families dislodged by white landowners in Lowndes County. In downtown Montgomery, the Civil Rights Memorial Center features multiple exhibits, including a Wall of Tolerance that allows visitors to sign a pledge to promote racial justice. And don't forget to explore the Alabama Civil Rights Trail smartphone app, or explore the entire Alabama Civil Rights Museum Trail.


Trail U.S. Civil Rights Trail

The tragedies and triumphs that took place in Alabama during the 1950s and 1960s awakened an entire nation to the reality of racial injustice and hatred that affected African-Americans all over the country. Now, you can experience the legacy of those who changed history through the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Walk in the footsteps of civil rights legends such as Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Imagine the scene of Bloody Sunday and the victory of the Selma-to-Montgomery March as you cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Salute the bravery of the first African-American military aviators at Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. Pay your respects at the site of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. And above all, grow in empathy and understanding as you explore the museums and historic sites that commemorate those who changed history.

See more of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.


Alabama Road Trips

Alabama Road Trip No. 4

Selma to Montgomery: Crossing a Bridge into History

The Edmund Pettus Bridge, spanning the Alabama River in Selma, has become one of the most iconic symbols of the modern struggle for civil and voting rights in America. It is also a focal point for the 54-mile route now memorialized as the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail.

Alabama Road Trip No. 31

Commemorating Birmingham ’63 in the Alabama Civil Rights District

Visiting Alabama’s Civil Rights District, where some of America’s most painful events took place, is a powerful and emotional experience you should not miss.

Alabama Road Trip No. 43

Lionel Richie’s Tuskegee Road Trip

Visitors to Tuskegee, located in Macon County in east-central Alabama, will discover a myriad of reasons why Lionel Richie is proud to call the small town where he grew up “home.”