Arkansas sites rank high on the new U.S. Civil Rights Trail
Visitors can literally walk in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, John Lewis and other African American activists, thanks to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail that launched on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 15, 2018.
Statues that honor the "Little Rock Nine."
Central High School National Historic Site in Little Rock is one of the "Top Ten" sites on 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 are involved.
Other Arkansas sites on the trail include:
Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail
The trail marks sites in Little Rock that were significant to the civil rights movement. It starts at the Old State House and will eventually end at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum. Visitors can enhance the experience by downloading the Arkansas Civil Rights History Tour app.
Clinton Presidential Center
The Presidential Library of Bill Clinton resides within the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park. The library chronicles Bill Clinton's presidency and includes replicas of the Oval Office and Cabinet Room, and on its grounds you can also find the Anne Frank Tree Exhibit that conveys the complex history of human rights in Arkansas.
Daisy Bates House
The home of Daisy Bates, who was president of the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP and liaison for the Little Rock Nine, was vandalized and bombed by those against integration. Her prominence as one of the few female civil rights leaders of the period was recognized by her selection as the only female to speak at the Lincoln Memorial at the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. The home is also a National Historic Landmark.
Little Rock Nine Memorial
A trip to the Capitol is not complete without a stop at the Little Rock Nine Memorial, a testament to the nine African-American students who desegregated Little Rock Central High School.
Little Rock's Central High School illuminated at night.
Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
The museum features exhibits on African-American entrepreneurs and innovators, fraternal organizations and racial integration. It also offers a variety of educational resources.
In addition to the Arkansas locations, the trail's famous sites include the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL, the Greensboro, NC, Woolworth's, where sit-ins began, the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN, and King's birthplace in Atlanta, GA.
The website www.CivilRightsTrail.com profiles these landmarks and offers an interactive map, interviews with foot soldiers, past and present photographs and 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.
Leigh Elmore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org