Georgia Civil Rights Trail
Experience History Where It Happened
As the nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement, it is important that the stories of struggle, perseverance, and triumph within Georgia over the course of the movement are shared and remembered. GHS is embarking upon a new, statewide public education initiative that will employ a unique and enduring educational and economic development tool – historical markers – while also leveraging existing technology and online resources to enhance the public’s understanding of an era in which religion, education, politics, and free enterprise intersected to create a successful movement that ended Jim Crow and secured civil rights for African Americans, thus ensuring the rights of all Americans.
GHS’s Georgia Civil Rights Trail (CRT) initiative focuses broadly on the economic, social, political and cultural history of the Civil Rights Movement. Specifically, roadside historical markers will tell the story of the Movement in Georgia by guiding audiences to the sites where history happened, inviting them to stand on the ground where struggles and events took place, and providing a foundation upon which to build and cultivate a deeper understanding of the past and its relevance to the present. The CRT will highlight significant twentieth-century events from communities around the state to illustrate the following overarching themes:
- Massive Resistance & White Backlash
- Public Accommodations
- Voting Rights
Historical markers will share local stories and events while placing them within the larger context of the Movement’s history.
Telling Stories of the Movement through Historical Markers
GHS plans to pilot the Georgia Civil Rights Trail initiative in four key communities – Albany, Atlanta, Columbus, and Savannah – initially erecting four new markers on the following topics:
- The Albany Movement, Albany
- Atlanta Student Movement, Atlanta
- Primus King’s Challenge to the White Primary, Columbus
- Savannah Sit-ins and Boycott, Savannah
These markers will be added to over twenty existing GHS markers that explore these issues central to the twentieth-century struggle for civil and human rights. Listed below, these historical markers examine how communities large and small – and in all regions of Georgia – faced the challenges of Jim Crow America and worked to ensure freedom and equality for us all.
These markers are only the beginning, however. The Georgia Historical Marker program thrives on community partnerships throughout the state. The next phase of this project involves statewide outreach, using these pilot markers to inspire others to research their own local stories. In the coming months, GHS will encourage community groups, municipal agencies, and others to consider the stories of the Civil Rights Movement in their own areas and invite the nomination of new topics in this series to be erected in collaboration with the Georgia Historical Society. Potential additional topics could include, but are not limited to, leaders of both races such as Ralph Abernathy, Ivan Allen, Ralph McGill, and W.W. Law; key events such as the Temple Bombing in Atlanta; and stories of triumph such as the election of Andrew Young as U.S. Congressman and Maynard Jackson as the Mayor of Atlanta. More information about the process for erecting new historical markers through the Georgia Historical Marker Program can be found here.
Listen: Georgia’s Historical Markers Give Insight to Past, WABE, Atlanta
The following GHS historical markers recognize sites associated with the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia and form the foundation of the Georgia Civil Rights Trail. GHS encourages applications from community groups throughout Georgia interested in expanding the story of the Movement through the development of new historical markers. For more information on the marker application process, click here.
- Glenwood Elementary and High School (Barrow County)
- E.D. Stroud School (Oconee County)
- Barney Colored Elementary School (Brooks County)
- Willow Hill Elementary School for Negroes (Bulloch County)
- Robert Abbott Boyhood Home (Chatham County)
- Colored Library Association of Savannah (Chatham County)
- McKelvey-Powell Building (Chatham County)
- Laurel Grove South Cemetery (Chatham County)
- St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church (Chatham County)
- Charity Hospital and Training School for Nurses (Chatham County)
- Savannah High School (Chatham County)
- First Bryan Baptist (Chatham County)
- Savannah Protest Movement (Chatham County)
- First African Baptist Church (Chatham County)
- Jeruel Academy/Union Baptist Institute (Clarke County)
- Vienna High and Industrial School (Dooly County)
- Albany Movement (Dougherty County)
- Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church (Fulton County)
- Atlanta Student Movement (Fulton County)
- Rush Memorial Congregational Church (Fulton County)
- The Temple (Fulton County)
- Birthplace of Jackie Robinson (Grady County)
- Lemuel Penn and the Civil Rights Act (Madison County)
- Primus King (Muscogee County)
- Mildred L. Terry Branch Library (Muscogee County)
- Thankful Baptist Church (Richmond County)
- Americus Colored Hospital (Sumter County)
- Koinonia Farm (Sumter County)
- Sumter County in the Civil Rights Movement (Sumter County)
- Moore’s Ford Lynching (Walton County)
Historical Markers: Tools for Education and Economic Development
Once installed and dedicated, these markers will become tools for teaching Georgia and American history in relevant ways to diverse audiences. By integrating online and mobile technology into its historical marker program initiatives, GHS ensures historical markers serve not only as enduring and accessible educational resources, but also as tools for driving economic development in the communities, many rural, where markers are located.
Each historical marker will be included in GHS’s award-winning online historical marker tour which allows users to create custom-designed driving routes based on markers geared to their personal interest and travel plans. An accompanying mobile app (available for iOS and Google phones) shows markers within a designated distance of a user’s current or anticipated Georgia location.
As a part of the Georgia Civil Rights Trail initiative, GHS will encourage in-depth exploration of each marker by linking each marker in the project to an abundance of existing online educational resources related to the marker topic, including (as appropriate):
- Existing GHS online exhibits and educator resources developed in association with public lectures, the Georgia History Festival, and teacher training initiatives;
- Today in Georgia History, a collaborative program of the Georgia Historical Society and Georgia Public Broadcasting, which features nearly 50 segments with ancillary educator resources focused on people, places, and events relating to the Civil Rights Movement; and
- Relevant New Georgia Encyclopedia articles.
The Georgia Civil Rights Trail is a project of the Georgia Historical Society with support from the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
ABOUT GEORGIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.
ABOUT THE CENTER FOR CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS
The Center for Civil and Human Rights is an engaging cultural attraction that connects The American Civil Rights Movement to today’s Global Human Rights Movements. The Center features immersive and thought-provoking exhibitions, including a continually rotating gallery of items from The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection. The Center also provides event spaces and educational programs. For more information on The Center, please visit civilandhumanrights.org. Join the conversation on civil and human rights on Twitter @Ctr4CHR and Facebook.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state’s sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a destination for arts events and location for film, music and digital entertainment projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. georgia.org
ABOUT THE GEORGIA HISTORICAL MARKER PROGRAM
The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) administers Georgia’s historical marker program. GHS has erected over 250 new historical markers across the state on a wide variety of subjects and recently assumed responsibility for the maintenance of more than 2,100 older markers. Online mapping tools allow users to design driving routes based on historical markers and a mobile app helps visitors locate and learn about markers nearby. Visit georgiahistory.com for more ways to use Georgia’s historical markers and experience history where it happened.