On the Road to Freedom: Understanding Civil Rights Through our National Parks and Heritage Areas

Join NPCA experts on this remarkable journey through some of the most significant sites associated with American civil rights. Along the way, you will have a unique opportunity to meet with NPCA partners, local historians, and even some of the faithful activists known as foot soldiers who actively played a role in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. Learn firsthand about NPCA’s role in expanding cultural resource protections to help preserve the story of civil rights. This program allows you to experience cultural elements, such as food and music, that defined the period.

Download Detailed Trip Brochure (5 MB pdf)

Departure Date: October 1-8, 2021 (8 days/7 nights)

Schedule Highlights

  • Explore national park sites and heritage areas commemorating this important chapter in US history
  • Meet with a survivor of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham
  • Experience the history you were never told through a moving tour at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice
  • Walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama

map

Schedule

Day 1: Independent Arrivals to Birmingham: The group will arrive to Birmingham, Alabama and make their way to the Elyton Hotel, which was built in 1906 during Birmingham’s golden era when it was one of the country’s great industrial and manufacturing centers. We will have a welcome reception, dinner and special speaking program to kick off the trip at the hotel. Elyton Hotel (D)

Day 2: Birmingham to Montgomery: Get a behind-the-scenes look at Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument with a survivor of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four young girls in 1963. Tour the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute museum; Kelly Ingram Park, where horrific violence against civil rights demonstrators took place in the 1960s; and the A.G. Gaston Motel and discover how NPCA helped designate this national park unit in 2017. Renaissance Montgomery Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 3: Montgomery: Visit Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King’s historic house before learning about the history of racial justice at the Legacy Museum, established by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). After our tour, we will have an unforgettable experience at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a sobering site of reflection on the history of lynching in America. Meet with EJI staff before a relaxing dinner.
Renaissance Montgomery Hotel (B, L)

Day 4: Montgomery to Jackson: Travel along the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail to the National Park Service’s Selma Interpretive Center before walking across the iconic Edmund Pettus Bridge where marchers walked for five days to Montgomery in 1965 to protest lack of voting rights. End the day in Jackson with a discussion with a local historian at Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument. The Westin Jackson Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 5: Jackson & Vicksburg National Military Park: Start the day by learning the stories of civil rights leaders at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Next, head to the COFO Civil Rights Education Center to meet with a local civil rights historian and the state’s youngest Freedom Rider, who will share his extraordinary story with the group. Finish the day with a visit to Vicksburg National Military Park and a private blues performance with a local musician. The Westin Jackson Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 6: Jackson to Clarksdale: Head north through the Mississippi Delta to Sumner, Mississippi, the location of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center and Sumner Court House, which tell the story of Emmett Till, whose murder helped set the civil rights movement in motion. Experience a private program highlighting how NPCA is working with local partners to commemorate the life and legacy of Emmett Till and the larger civil rights stories throughout the Mississippi Delta. Travelers Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 7: Clarksdale to Memphis: After a short drive to Memphis, Tennessee, head to the National Civil Rights Museum, site of the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. After spending time exploring five centuries of African American history, the group will head to the Stax Museum of American Soul, which sets the civil rights story within the Memphis music scene. The group will have one last farewell dinner and opportunity for reflection. Hu Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 8: Memphis Departures: Say a bittersweet farewell to the group and depart from Memphis after breakfast. (B)

Itinerary is subject to change based on weather and potential unforeseen park closures due to COVID-19.


To secure your space on this NPCA trip, please contact Jared Dial, NPCA’s Travel Program Manager, at 1-800-628-7275 or email travel@npca.org.

Minimum/Maximum: 10 guests/16 guests

For full details on this trip, including inclusions, exclusions, accommodations, terms and safety protocols, please download the trip brochure above.

Check out NPCA’s full tour lineup at www.npca.org/trips

  • Cost:
    $4,460 per person double occupancy; $980 Single Supplement
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