For the 50+ Traveler

The National Park Service has added another 11 sites and programs to its growing list of resources that mark the civil rights movement in the United States.

The latest additions bring the total to 45 properties, facilities, and programs that are part of the African American Civil Rights Network (AACRN), an organization that chronicles the struggle for racial equality in the United States.

The Park Service made the announcement this week as part of its recognition of Black History Month. The latest additions include:

COFO Civil Rights Education Center

The Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) was established in 1961 in Jackson, Mississippi, to unify the growing group of various civil rights organizations in Mississippi. Among those to join under the COFO umbrella were the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Congress of Racial Equality, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, as well as a number of local groups. Voter registration and education are among the issues tackled by COFO. Now the COFO Civil Rights Education Center, which operates as a museum on the campus of Jackson State University, is officially part of the African American Civil Rights Network.

If you’re planning to visit as part of your time in Jackson, you’ll want to consider our picks for the nine best things to do in Jackson, Mississippi, too.

Equalization Schools Website

The Equalization Schools website tells the story of the struggle to end segregated schools in South Carolina. This program was the catalyst for the state providing for the first time any significant funding to its African American public schools. The story of this program fits into the struggle for equal access to public education for African Americans not only in South Carolina, but the fight to desegregate all public schools in the South. Note that this is a virtual resource and experience rather than a physical destination.

Glenwood Cemetery

Located in Huntsville, Alabama, Glenwood Cemetery was established in 1870 to replace a slave cemetery. It is the resting place for a number of significant members of African American history, including Anna Knight, who founded the National Colored Teachers Association, and Samuel Lowery, the first African American lawyer to argue a case before the Supreme Court. The cemetery serves as a community resource for research and education.

Editor’s Note: If you haven’t been before, consider these eight reasons to visit Huntsville, Alabama.

Harden Street Substation

The Harden Street Substation was built in 1953 in Columbia, South Carolina, to house the city’s first African American firefighters. The crew served the predominantly black communities of Edgewood and Waverly. The substation was the only station with African American firefighters in the city until the department was fully integrated in 1969.

Harriet And Stephen Myers Residence

Located in Albany County, New York, the Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence was the office of the Vigilance Committee of Albany starting in the 1850s. The group was active in the Underground Railroad and was responsible for the freedom of hundreds of slaves before and during the Civil War. The building remains a symbol of the struggle for equality and justice for all people.

Margaret Walker Center

Located on the campus at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, the Margaret Walker Center is a museum dedicated to the preservation of African American history and culture. The center was founded by Margaret Walker, a significant poet and writer who taught at the university. Her papers, along with those of many other important figures in African American culture, are housed at the museum.

Racing To Change: Oregon’s Civil Rights Years

Racing to Change is a virtual exhibition created by Oregon Black Pioneers, Oregon's only statewide African American historical society. The exhibit aims to tell the seldom-told stories of how Oregon’s African American community fought and continues to fight for equality. It focuses on the civil rights movement of the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s in Portland and throughout the state. Like the Equalization Schools website, this virtual resource and experience rather than a physical destination.

Second Baptist Church Los Angeles

So many important events have taken place at the Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles that it’s hard to narrow down the list. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. considered it his West Coast home, and he spoke there often. The church hosted the national NAACP convention three times, including in 1928, which marked the first time it was held in the Western United States. Built in 1885, the church has served for 135 years as a centerpiece for African American activism and involvement in community issues.

If you’re going to Los Angeles, consider

St. George Rosenwald School

Located in St. George, South Carolina, the St. George Rosenwald School was built in 1925. But 30 years later, the school had closed and the facility had become a center for social and political events and a meeting place for activists in the civil rights movement. It was a hub for voter registration of the African American community and for Project Deep, a program to help students in the region transition from segregated to integrated schools.

Tabernacle Baptist Church

Located in Selma, Alabama, the Tabernacle Baptist Church was the site of the first mass meeting of the 1960s Voting Rights Movement. The church basement had been the location for countless underground voter registration sessions since the 1930s, but the 1963 event attended by about 300 people was the first public gathering that sought to bring the African American community together to emphasize the importance of voting.

Editor’s Note: If you want to visit Selma, consider doing so as a stop on our Alabama Civil Rights Road Trip: Anniston To Selma or by joining one of these six fascinating walking tours in Alabama.

Waverly Historic District

The Waverly Historic District is recognized as the first suburb of Columbia, South Carolina. Established shortly after the end of the Civil War, it was incorporated into Columbia’s city limits about 50 years later. The neighborhood was home to many middle- and upper-class African American residents who made significant contributions to both the local and national advancement of African Americans.