Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum has landed a spot on a new national trail of notable sites of importance in the Civil Rights Movement.
Gov. Kay Ivey announced the partnership that has created the United States Civil Rights Trail on Monday, during the annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery.
“I am very excited to announce that the State of Alabama’s Tourism Department has partnered with tourism departments in other Southeastern states to launch the United States Civil Rights Trail,” Gov. Ivey said. “This unique memorial will honor not only Dr. King’s legacy, but all the courageous men and women who stood and fought for Civil Rights throughout the 1950s and 60’s. Through this collaborative promotional effort, the United States Civil Rights Trail will link more than 130 landmarks across the nation and give the people of the world a chance to visit these very pivotal sites. I am also proud to acknowledge that Alabama has more restored and active landmarks relative to the Civil Rights Movement than any other state. In Alabama, there are 29 such sites found throughout the state and Montgomery, Selma and Birmingham are positioned at the forefront of where the yoke of segregation was forever broken.”
The Rosa Parks Museum was opened at the University’s Montgomery Campus in 2000, and is located on the site of the former Empire Theater where Mrs. Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery City Bus to a white male on Dec. 1, 1955.
“It is important to connect various historic sites that have similar interests with the Civil Rights Movement,” said Dr. Felicia Bell, director of the Rosa Parks Museum. “Part of our mission is to have scholarly dialogue, civil engagement and promote positive social change, and we do that by working with the community on various projects and partner with other organizations, museums and historic sites. It only helps us when we are able to partner and share in what we offer to the public. Having this Civil Rights Trail where all of our sites are acknowledged is helpful to all of us, as well as those who choose to visit sites important to the history of the Civil Rights Movement.”
The museum is one of several trail sites located in Montgomery, including Alabama State Capitol, the City of St. Jude, the Civil Rights Memorial Center, the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the Dexter Parsonage Museum, First Baptist Church on Ripley Street, the Frank M. Johnson Jr. Federal Building and United States Courthouse, the Freedom Rides Museum and the Holt Street Baptist Church.
Other Alabama cities with sites featured on the trail include Anniston, Birmingham, Monroeville, Scottsboro, Selma, Tuscaloosa and Tuskegee. In all, the trail span 14 states.
“The goal is to have tourists cross state lines and visit different civil rights sights,” said Lee Sentell, Director of Alabama Tourism. “There are 12 states that have come together to promote civil rights as a group and about a fourth of all of these sights in the Civil Rights Trail are here in Alabama. Alabama is known as the centerpiece for civil rights in America because so much happened here in Selma and Montgomery and Birmingham and even in some smaller towns.”