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Road Trip Travels Help Bring Civil Rights History to Life for Youngsters

See how the South's amazing Civil Rights attractions and museums bring history to life for youngsters by retracing the same steps as those who fought for human rights for all people.
by Carla Meadows Modified: July 10, 2014 at 1:51 pm •  Published: July 10, 2014

As we traveled through the Deep South on our way to my husband’s family reunion in Atlanta, we used some of our stops as learning opportunities about the Civil Rights Movement for our tween-age daughters.

This year, happens to be the 50th Anniversary of the “Freedom Summer,” also known as the Mississippi Summer Project. It was a campaign launched in June 1964 to attempt to register as many African American voters as possible in Mississippi, which had historically excluded most Blacks from voting. We watched the recent episode of “American Experience” on PBS about the “Freedom Summer” at home last week. 

The program showed that the project set up dozens of Freedom Schools, Freedom Houses and community centers in small towns through Mississippi. Through the documentary, the girls also learned more about the Freedom Riders who were so instrumental during the Civil Rights struggle. While at the Birmingham Institute for Civil Rights, my eldest, was quick to point out that we would be visiting many cities along the same travel route of the Freedom Riders.

We also visited the incredible Smith Robertson Museum & Cultural Center in Jackson, Miss. and met with the museum director. This is a must-see for anyone visiting the Magnolia State. Not only is it the largest museum in Mississippi that hosts a vast collection of African American artifacts, it also has one of the most extensive exhibits about Medgar Evers, an African American civil rights activist from Jackson involved in efforts to overturn segregation.

The Smith Robertson Museum & Cultural Center was particularly special for us because there was a fabulous photography exhibit on display about the children and teens that played an important role in the movement in Jackson.

Another incredible Civil Rights museum is the newly built Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. This engaging cultural attraction just opened this summer and connects the American Civil Rights Movement to today’s Global Human Rights Movement. The center serves as the ideal place to reflect on the past, transform the present and inspire the future. The 43,000 square-foot facility is located on Pemberton Place adjacent to the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium.

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by Carla Meadows
NewsOK Contributor
Carla Meadows is a Oklahoma City native, wife and mother of two tweens and a loveable Golden Retriever who blogs about building intentional family moments through the wonders of travel at home and across the U.S.
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