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Alabama

The Heart of the Civil Rights Movement With Your Family

Program No. 23423RJ
Journey into the Deep South with your family and learn the history of the Civil Rights Movement. Together, hear powerful stories of struggle and be inspired by resilient activists.

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At a Glance

Journey south into the heart of the Civil Rights Movement with your family and gain a deeper understanding of the historic and continued struggle for racial equality in the United States. Follow in the footsteps of the venerable Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and hear the moving story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott. Pay homage at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church as you learn the story of the victims of the 1963 KKK bombing. Discover how these catalysts ignited a movement that would define this pivotal moment in American history.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
This programs involves walking up to two miles daily over uneven terrain. Standing for lectures in museums up to an hour. Some historical structures have stairs/no elevator.
Family Programs
Family Programs
Share your love of learning with your family. These programs are designed for any combination of generations: grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents and children.

What You'll Learn

  • Learn more about the central figures of civil rights on field trips to the Rosa Parks Museum, Atlanta History Center and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.
  • Walk across the Selma Bridge with an activist who took part in the peaceful protest that devolved into unforgivable violence known as “Bloody Sunday,” and hear about the Movement from a first-hand perspective.
  • Explore the Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace & Justice and take a powerful journey through America’s history of racial injustice.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
Profile Image
Dianne Harris
Dianne Harris has received the Congressional Foot Soldier Medal and Certificate, as well as numerous other medals and awards for her ongoing fight for racial equality. She is an avid public speaker, appearing on NBC Today in 2015 and is often interviewed by newspapers, magazines and other media outlets for her unending vigil for justice. She remembers her involvement in the movement like it was yesterday. She particularly remembers listening to Martin Luther King and the events of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Camilla Comerford
Camilla Comerford View biography
Camilla Comerford is certified in leading educational adventures and has traveled throughout Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, and Ireland. Camilla also worked for almost 30 years in the commercial real estate business in Atlanta, Georgia and other cities throughout the South. She looks forward to sharing her love for the region with you!
Profile Image of Larry Spruill
Larry Spruill View biography
Dr. Larry Spruill is a graduate of the State University of New York system. It provided social programs which afforded disadvantaged students opportunities to experience upward social mobility. His academic career began in an upstate New York community college and introduced him to the rigors of higher education and facilitated his entrance into doctoral studies. He is a retired school principal specialist and instructor and currently a full-time professor of history at Morehouse College, Georgia. He also served as a foreign missionary, teacher and pastor.
Profile Image of Dianne Harris
Dianne Harris View biography
Dianne Harris has received the Congressional Foot Soldier Medal and Certificate, as well as numerous other medals and awards for her ongoing fight for racial equality. She is an avid public speaker, appearing on NBC Today in 2015 and is often interviewed by newspapers, magazines and other media outlets for her unending vigil for justice. She remembers her involvement in the movement like it was yesterday. She particularly remembers listening to Martin Luther King and the events of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama.
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You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our published materials, programs are typically advertised more than a year prior to their start date. As a result, some program activities, schedules, accommodations, personnel, and other logistics occasionally change due to local conditions or circumstances. Should a major change occur, we will make every effort to alert you. For less significant changes, we will update you during orientation. Thank you for your understanding.
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7 days
6 nights
17 meals
7 B 5 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Atlanta, Georgia
D
Hyatt Place Buckhead Atlanta

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m. Remember to bring your nametag (sent previously).

Afternoon: Orientation: 5:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will learn from a series of local experts who will give lectures and lead field trips. Program-related travel and transfers will be via private motorcoach unless noted otherwise. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At a local restaurant within easy walking distance.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Civil Rights Timeline, MLK Historic Site, Coca-Cola Museum
Atlanta, Georgia
B,L,D
Hyatt Place Buckhead Atlanta

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day. Standing for museum viewing and walks in museums. Getting on/off a motorcoach.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: In the conference room, we’ll start the morning off with an expert who will set the tone for our civil rights and freedom exploration in Georgia and Alabama. What is civil rights? Did you know that the black race had to drink out of a different fountain for “colored only?” Did you know that there were black schools and separate white schools? The civil rights movement took place mainly during the 1950s and 1960s. The movement was for Black Americans to gain equal rights under the law. Although the Civil War officially abolished slavery, it didn’t end discrimination against Black people. They continued to endure the effects of racism, especially in the South. By the mid-20th century, Black Americans – along with many white Americans – mobilized and began an unprecedented fight for equality that spanned two decades. The travels we take this week will be our classroom as we learn about the events and the people who brought about change. We’ll continue our studies as we travel by motorcoach to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site with our local expert. Managed by the National Park Service, we’ll visit the Martin Luther King Memorial and Dr. & Mrs. King’s Crypt. We will be getting off the motorcoach while our expert points out historical facts. The Ebenezer Baptist Church is where King was baptized and both he and his father were pastors. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s funeral was held in this church.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll have some fun this afternoon at the World of Coca-Cola, showcasing the history of the Coca-Cola Company. We will be able to sample beverages from around the world. The legendary secret formula for Coca-Cola is secure in The Vault. It is the most guarded secret of all time and now you can get as close to it as possible.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: We will end on a fun note with a musical program led by a local expert and musician in the hotel conference room. Everyone can participate by chanting, shouting, clapping, and dancing to songs of the South.

DAY
3
Special Forum, Civil Rights Museum, Atlanta History Center
Atlanta, Georgia
B,L
Hyatt Place Buckhead Atlanta

Activity note: Sidewalks and uneven terrain may be encountered. Standing in museums up to 1.5 hours. Some seating in the Civil Rights Museum. Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 20 miles, approximately 1 hour riding time.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: In the conference room, we will hear from a retired Morehouse College professor on the rationale to use photography and publicity as nonviolent weapons in the struggle for human equality and racial justice. Today’s presentation offers an opportunity to take a closer look at Dr. Martin Luther King’s sophisticated public relations skills. Leaving the hotel by motorcoach, we’ll continue our studies with a visit to The National Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum. This institution seeks to connect the civil rights movement to human rights challenges today. We will participate in a lunch counter sit-in simulation and place ourselves in the shoes of nonviolent protestors in 1960. In cities such as Greensboro and Nashville, college students staged nonviolent “sit-ins,” asking to be served at whites-only lunch counters to protest segregation. Workshop leaders prepared demonstrators for what they would endure by acting out the scenes ahead of time and creating plans in the case of arrest or harm. Our visit is self-led and takes approximately 90 minutes from start to finish.

Lunch: At the Atlanta History Center.

Afternoon: At the Atlanta History Center, we’ll do a good bit of walking on the 33-acre campus that features award-winning exhibitions, historic houses, and gardens. This new multimedia experience is a 132-year-old hand-painted work of art that stands 49 feet tall, is longer than a football field, and weighs 10,000 pounds. The painting is one of only two cycloramas in the United States—the other being the Battle of Gettysburg cyclorama —making Atlanta home to one of America’s largest historic treasures. We will enter the painting rotunda through a 7-foot-tall tunnel entry—passing underneath the diorama—before ascending an escalator to the 15-foot-tall stationary viewing platform. Here we will see a full 360-degree view of the painting, enhanced by technology and a 12-minute theatrical, larger-than-life presentation projected onto the painting.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Montgomery, Rosa Parks, Dexter Church, Freedom Riders
Montgomery, AL
B,L,D
Embassy Suites by Hilton Montgomery Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 160 miles, approximately 2.5 hours riding time with rest stop. Walking and standing in museums. Incline sidewalk leads to the Civil Rights Memorial.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel and begin our transfer to Montgomery, Alabama. Upon our arrival in Montgomery, we will stop at the Rosa Parks Museum, a state-of-the-art museum depicting events that started the bus boycott and early Civil Rights movement. It provides an interactive multimedia presentation. We’ll explore part of the museum with an expert before spending some time on our own to see the exhibits. Using our mobile devices, we’ll journey through designated hotspots to uncover secrets throughout the Rosa Parks Museum.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will drive by Dexter Parsonage, home of Martin Luther King while he was a pastor in Montgomery. We will end up at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. first preached, at this National Historic Landmark. This church was also a center point of the Montgomery bus boycott. A dynamic expert will lead us through the history and events that took place that changed the civil rights movement as we enter the church that was so important. On the last field trip of the day, we will visit the Freedom Riders Museum where 21 young people transformed our nation’s history using nonviolent protest methods. The Museum states that “Freedom Riders, black and white, male and female, none of them older than 22, stepped off a bus at the Montgomery Greyhound Station on May 20, 1961. They were prepared to meet mob violence with non-violence and courage. They prepared farewell letters and wills. Their goal was to help end racial segregation in public transportation. And they did.” We’ll then check in at our hotel in the late afternoon.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: We’ll step back in time with a visit from a surprise guest, via a historical interpreter. This moving reenactment connects all the feelings of the Civil Rights Movement and what this special person endured on the bus on that December 1955 day when she refused to give up her seat to a white man.

DAY
5
Legacy Museum, Memorial of Peace & Justice, EJI Sculpture
Montgomery, AL
B
Embassy Suites by Hilton Montgomery Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking and standing in museums. Walking 1/2 mile from hotel to National Legacy Museum.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will walk to the National Legacy Museum of Peace and Justice to investigate America's history of racial injustice and its legacy. The Museum is located on the site of a former warehouse where Black people were forced to labor in Montgomery, Alabama. This narrative museum uses interactive media, sculpture, videography, and exhibits on a self-led field trip. We'll board our motorcoach to travel a short distance to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. On a six-acre site atop a rise overlooking Montgomery, the national lynching memorial was started in 2010 and is now a sacred space for thought and reflection about racial terror in America and its legacy. Expect to spend 1-2 hours at this mostly outdoor space.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like in the heart of downtown Montgomery. Walk to many restaurants that surround your hotel and then meet your group leader at a designated spot near your hotel.

Afternoon: After lunch, you'll have time to explore the new Freedom Monument Sculpture Park. Standing 43 feet tall and over 150 feet long, the Monument will honor all four million enslaved Black people who were emancipated at the end of the Civil War by memorializing more than 120,000 unique surnames documented at the time. You may even want to return to the National Legacy Museum of Peace and Justice, due to the enormous amount of material and videos. Your ticket is good for the day.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like or sample the local fare. Dine individually or join your fellow Road Scholars in one of Montgomery’s many restaurants.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
To Selma, Edmund Pettus Bridge, Local Civil Rights History
Birmingham, AL
B,L,D
Hampton Inn & Suites Birmingham-Downtown-Tutwiler

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 50 miles, approximately 1 hour riding time to Selma; about 90 miles from Selma to Birmingham, approximately 2 hours riding time. Short walk over the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel and depart for our transfer to Selma. Selma is best known for the 1960s Selma Voting Rights Movement and the Selma to Montgomery marches, beginning with “Bloody Sunday” in March 1965 and ending with 25,000 people entering Montgomery at the end of the last march to press for voting rights. Upon arriving in Selma, we will be joined by a local expert who received the Congressional Foot Soldier Medal and Certificate, as well as numerous other medals and awards for her ongoing fight for racial equality. She remembers her involvement in the movement like it was yesterday. She particularly remembers listening to Martin Luther King and the events of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. We’ll trace the footsteps of the civil rights marchers as we walk across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge where in February 1965, state troopers and locals in Marion, Alabama, started an armed confrontation with some 400 unarmed Black demonstrators.

Lunch: At a local venue.

Afternoon: We’ll carry on towards Birmingham, where we’ll check in at the hotel in the late afternoon.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Civil Rights Institute, 16th St. Church, Kelly Ingram Park
Birmingham, AL
B,L,D
Hampton Inn & Suites Birmingham-Downtown-Tutwiler

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving 10 miles, approximately 1/2 hour with stops. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; standing during presentations for up to 30 minutes.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: With a local expert, we will visit a variety of sites aboard the motorcoach, learning about the Civil Rights Movement and its events in Birmingham. We’ll take a field trip to the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, which was bombed by Klansmen in 1963, killing four little girls. We will stroll through the Kelly Ingram Park where sculptures depict the reality of the police dogs and fire hoses that were turned on demonstrators who gathered here to protest segregation laws. We’ll also visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute that tells the story of a people and a movement with commentary by your local Study Leader. Through our mobile devices and through visual narratives and self-directed field trips, we’ll weave in and out of the Civil Rights Institute. Our Group Leader will help and lead us.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll join the Group Leader aboard the motorcoach for a visit to Vulcan Park and Museum to hear about Birmingham's industrial past and race relations. If you would rather return to the Kelly Ingram Park or Civil Rights Institute, it is only a 1/2 mile walk from the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel, as we continue our conversations about the emotional week we have just experienced and the activities that we have participated in that tell the story of the Civil Rights Movement.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
8
Transfer to Airport, Program Concludes
Birmingham, AL
B

Activity note: Group transfer departure by 7:00 a.m.; hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m. Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving 155 miles, approximately 2.5 hours riding time depending on traffic. Participants should arrange flights home at 1:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) or later.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Our motorcoach will depart early for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). After dropping participants at the Atlanta airport, the motorcoach will then travel to the starting hotel to drop anyone who may have left a car there. This concludes our program. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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