Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Sen. Lamar Alexander and Department of Tourist Development Kevin Triplett officially dedicated 10 sites in Tennessee as part of the newly-launched U.S. Civil Rights Trail during a press conference today at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.
“The National Civil Rights Museum provides a world-class experience for visitors who seek to learn about the struggles and triumphs of civil rights,” Haslam said. “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a movement of faith-based, non-violent protests to fight the injustices of segregation that led to significant civil rights advances for African Americans. Although his life was taken at the Lorraine Motel, his legacy lives on here and in many places across Tennessee. The U.S. Civil Rights Trail is a journey of discovery and education about events that shifted the course of history for our country and for our state.”
The U.S. Civil Rights Trail is a collection of churches, courthouses, schools, museums and other landmarks primarily in Southern states where activists challenged segregation in the 1950s and 1960s to advance social justice. State tourism agencies, in partnership with Travel South USA, worked together to launch the trail Jan. 15, highlighting more than 100 sites in 14 states.
Tennessee’s 10 sites featured on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail are the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, Clayborn Temple and the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ in Memphis. Locations in Nashville include The Civil Rights Room at the Nashville Public Library, Clark Memorial United Methodist Church, Davidson County Courthouse & the Witness Walls, Woolworth on 5th, Fisk University and Griggs Hall at American Baptist College. In Clinton, The Green McAdoo Cultural Center and Clinton 12 statues help tell the stories of 12 brave students who changed history.
“Numerous visitors travel to Tennessee each year, drawn by our history and heritage,” said Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “Travelers can walk in the footsteps of those who toiled and overcame adversity in their fight for equality. The sites tell heroic stories; from preserving Dr. King’s legacy during the movement as a whole at the world-class National Civil Rights Museum, to lunch counter sit-ins for equal rights in Nashville, to Clinton, where 12 students bravely walked to class to fight for equal access to public education. It’s important to remember this history so we can learn from the past and understand how it affects our present and future.”