Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
Currently allowing groups of up to 20, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum tells the story of Mississippi as ground zero for the civil rights movement. Eight galleries focus on the years 1945–1976. See a NAACP sash given to Medgar Evers, read personal accounts of people who participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961 with the use of a touch screen map and explore a re-created country church to hear the story of Freedom Summer — among many other sights and experiences. The museum also features special exhibits; on display until Aug. 21, 2021, the “I Am a Man” exhibit is a collection of photos documenting the determination of the civil rights movement in the face of violence. 601-576-6800, mcrm.mdah.ms.gov.
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
The 58,000-square-foot Birmingham Civil Rights Institute houses galleries, archives, meeting rooms and rotating exhibition space. Featuring four main galleries — the Human Rights, Movement, Confrontation and Barriers galleries — the institute highlights civil and human rights history in Birmingham and beyond. BCRI is a part of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument which also includes 16th Street Baptist Church — directly adjacent to BCRI. Tours are also available at the church, the site where in 1963 a bomb exploded killing four young girls and injuring many others. At BCRI, groups of 25 or more receive a discount and must reserve a visit in advance. 866-328-9696, ext. 204, bcri.org.
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park
Visit the birth home of Martin Luther King Jr. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. After his assassination in 1968, plans were made to convert the family home into a historic museum — now a park highlighting the man who helped lead the civil rights movement to victory. Ranger-led tours are offered of the home and allow pre-registered groups to see the house restored to its original state. Self-guided experiences are available at other on-site facilities like the Visitor Center, Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, Dr. and Mrs. King’s Gravesite, Freedom Hall and Historic Fire Station No. 6. See the “Courage To Lead” exhibit in the Visitor Center, following the paths of the civil rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The park is temporarily closed due to COVID-19. 401-331-5190, nps.gov/malu.
National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel
The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel is an eye-opening experience; groups will visit the motel’s infamous room 306 where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spent his final hours. Between the Lorraine Motel and the Legacy Building across the street, the site includes 206 artifacts, films, oral histories and interactive media that dive into five centuries of history. Learn about the Atlantic Slave Trade, the investigation of Dr. King’s assassination, the Black Power movement and much more. Many exhibits are interactive; the “Standing Up by Sitting Down” exhibit allows visitors to sit down at an original counter from the student sit-ins of 1960 while using multi-touch features to immerse in boycott stories. 901-521-9699, ext. 2224, civilrightsmuseum.org.
Louisiana State Capitol
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The fight for equality during the civil rights era in Louisiana began on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol — the tallest capitol building in the nation and a national historic landmark. Groups can book a guided tour of the 34-floor building and learn about the fight against racial injustice in Louisiana. Stop at the statue of Pickney Benton Stewart Pinchback, the country’s first African American governor, then take an elevator up to the 27th floor observation deck to get sweeping views over the city. Supplement a visit with a tour of Southern University and A&M College’s campus, the largest historically Black college in the world. Learn about the students who organized sit-ins in the 1960s. 225-383-1825, visitbatonrouge.com.