International visitors coming to the United States now will be able to visit portions of the newly debuted U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which played a pivotal role in advancing social justice.
The trail debuted on January 15 2018, the same day the United States commemorated the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
Developed over the past year by Brand USA partners, this trail is a collection of more than 100 churches, courthouses, schools, museums, and other landmarks within 14 states and the District of Columbia which were instrumental to the American civil rights story.
"The civil rights movement encompassed the entire South, and this trail gives visitors one source for all the sites that tell that story today," said Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit North Carolina, a Brand USA partner, and chair of the Travel South USA board. "We worked with historians and scholars to curate this trail to showcase how the civil rights movement changed the South, the U.S. and the world."
TSUSA - America's oldest and largest regional travel promotion organization – created the U.S. Civil Rights Trail Marketing Alliance, LLC. to oversee the administration of the trail. The alliance is led and funded by the directors of state tourism organizations in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
"In recent years, the South has grown to become a top destination for travelers seeking authentic experiences that bring them closer to a place's past and present,” said Kevin Langston, deputy commissioner of economic development for tourism at Georgia’s Department of Economic Development, also a Brand USA partner. “The U.S. Civil Rights Trail connects travelers to the U.S. civil rights movement through historic landmarks and cultural institutions that played a vital role or help preserve the memory of our civil rights past. At every point along the trail, people will be walking where members of the civil rights movement walked, connecting them at an intimate level to this important story."
"The Civil Rights Trail is an essential step in telling the important stories of this pivotal time in both our state's and nation's history," said Tennessee Dept. of Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett. "Through the partnership of these 14 states and D.C. in highlighting the significance of these locations, visitors will be immersed in history, often walking in the footsteps of those who participated in the movement, including ones who led the charge.