The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s was a pivotal time in American history in which African Americans fought for their rights to coexist equally within a predominantly white world.

Civil Rights protest
Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash
Civil Rights protest
Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

There are many brave men and women who fought for civil rights, with some giving their lives for the cause. They defined what it meant to peacefully protest and gave way to a new generation of thinking and understanding.

With recent events, it is still very clear that we have a long way to go in the fight for equal rights for all, no matter the color of the skin or their gender. This list is by no means exhaustive, as there are many other monuments, museums, and locations pivotal to learning about the Civil Rights Movement. These are just five that are an excellent jumping point to learn about this time in our country’s history.

1. Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument—Birmingham, AL

Monument depicting police violence toward peaceful protesters at the Birmingham Civil Rights  National Monument
Photo courtesy of National Park Service
Monument depicting police violence toward peaceful protesters at the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument
Photo courtesy of National Park Service

The Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument in isn’t one singular structure but is instead about four city blocks in the downtown area known as the Civil Rights District. The National Monument includes the A.G. Gaston Motel, which was the headquarters for the Birmingham campaign for civil rights.

2. The Virginia Civil Rights Memorial—Richmond, VA

The Virginia Civil Rights Memorial in Richmond
Photo courtesy of Civil Rights Trail
The Virginia Civil Rights Memorial in Richmond
Photo courtesy of Civil Rights Trail

Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine unveiled this sculpture in 2008 at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond. It depicts Barbara Johns who, at sixteen years old, led a student walkout from Moton High, a school for African Americans, in Farmville, Virginia. The monument also depicts other students, community members, and the lawyers who supported their case.

3. The Civil Rights Memorial—Montgomery, AL

The Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery
Photo courtesy of Ron Cogswell on Flickr
The Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery
Photo courtesy of Ron Cogswell on Flickr

The Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery is a monument dedicated to those who died in the struggle for civil rights between 1954 and 1968. The same architect that created the Vietnam Memorial created the monument. Along with the names of those who died, the monument has a history of the civil rights movement engraved.

4. Freedom Riders National Monument—Anniston, AL

Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston
Photo courtesy of Civil Rights Trail
Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston
Photo courtesy of Civil Rights Trail

The Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston is the location of the former Greyhound station where the 1961 bus burning took place. A group challenged the laws requiring separation of races in interstate travel, but were met by segregationists who firebombed the bus. The monument is a testament to their dedication to the fight for civil rights.

5. Little Rock Nine Monument at the State Capitol—Little Rock, AR

Little Rock Nine Memorial in Little Rock
Photo courtesy of Civil Rights Trail
Little Rock Nine Memorial in Little Rock
Photo courtesy of Civil Rights Trail

The Little Rock Nine Monument is a tribute to the nine African American students that enrolled in the all-white Little Rock Central High School in 1957. They were met with heavy opposition: the governor deployed the state’s National Guard to prevent them from entering the school and groups of white protesters were hostile to the students, but they remained brave throughout the ordeal.


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