The U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which leads visitors through landmarks and sites throughout the South and runs through Little Rock, will celebrate its one-year anniversary on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21.
Visitors to Arkansas can literally walk in the footsteps of civil rights history by following the trail, which links the country’s most important civil rights sites: More than 100 landmarks, including museums, churches, courthouses and memorials that were pivotal to the advancement of social equality during the volatile 1950s and 1960s. Central High School National Historic Site in Little Rock is one of the “Top Ten” sites on the trail.
Other Arkansas sites on the trail include the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail, which starts at the Old State House and eventually end at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum and marks sites significant to the Civil Rights Movement; the Clinton Presidential Library; Daisy Bates House, the Little Rock home of the only female to speak at the Lincoln Memorial March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963; the Little Rock Nine Memorial at the Arkansas State Capitol that gives testament to the nine African-American students who desegregated Little Rock Central High School; and the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, which features exhibits on African-American entrepreneurs, innovators, fraternal organizations and racial integration.
In addition to the Arkansas locations, the trail’s other famous sites include the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., the Greensboro, N.C., Woolworth’s, where sit-ins began, the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis and King’s birthplace in Atlanta.
For profiles of these landmarks and an interactive map, visit civilrightstrail.com. The site also includes interviews with foot soldiers, past and present photographs and a 360-degree video. Featured on the site is Little Rock resident Sybil Jordan Hampton, along with Katherine Sawyer of Topeka and Dorothy Lockett Holcomb of Farmville, who discuss their experiences during school integration after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education court decision.
The 12 state tourism agencies known collectively as TravelSouth USA, including Arkansas Tourism, created the trail list.