Social Justice and Racial Equity Pilgrimage

Faith Journeys recently organized and led our first Social Justice pilgrimage, exploring sights in Georgia and Alabama that have played a pivotal role in the struggle for civil and human rights. Here is a description of the places we visited:

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Martin Luther King, Jr. National Site and the King Center: Atlanta, GA

Established in 1980, the site pays tribute to and includes the birthplace/home of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, The King Center, Freedom Hall, Fire Station No. 6, the Civil Rights Walk of Fame, and the gravesites of Coretta Scott King and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

National Center for Civil and Human Rights: Atlanta, GA

This museum walks pilgrims through three levels of experience with the American struggle for civil and human rights. The lower level houses the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection, where you can view letters, drafts of speeches, and documents written in King’s own hand, along with a permanent collection and rotating exhibits. The main floor houses Rolls Down Like Water: The American Civil Rights Movement, a gallery depicting key issues from the Jim Crow south of the 1950’s, to the assassination of Martin Luther King, in 1968. It includes powerful imagery and hands-on displays of our country’s civil rights struggles. The top floor houses Spark of Conviction: The Global Human Rights Movement, which is a gallery outlining the world’s current battles with basic human rights and freedoms, asking the visitor “How can we take action, today?

Tuskegee Airman National Historic Site:
Tuskegee, AL

As your group travels between Atlanta and Montgomery, making a stop in Tuskegee is an easy detour. Located just a few minutes away from Highway 85, the site houses two hangars and the remains of the training facility used by these courageous pilots and their crews. At the top of an easily walkable hill is the National Memorial Site.

Equal Justice Initiative – Legacy Museum:
Montgomery, AL

This museum uses unique technology to tell the story of how slavery evolved through the eras of racial terror, lynchings, legalized racial segregation, and mass incarceration. From the deaths of African prisoners being transported across the Atlantic Ocean, to the spread of the domestic slavery trade, you’ll come face-to-face with our national legacy. As you walk through history, to more modern times, you’ll experience the 800 jars of soil collected from lynching sites across the United States. Walking into the present day, you can spend time listening to the stories of inmates as they share what led them to their prison cells. The final stop on your journey through the museum includes a walk through a stunning art gallery displaying works tied to the history of slavery and the civil rights struggles of our country.

Freedom Rider Museum:
Montgomery, AL

This small museum will take you on a journey to learn how 21 young people transformed our nation’s history using nonviolent protest to challenge the practice of segregated interstate travel through the South. The Freedom Riders stepped off a bus at the Montgomery Greyhound Station on May 20, 1961, and never looked back. This can be a museum tour or an informal short stop.

Rosa Parks/The Bus Stop Sign:
Montgomery, AL

Near the Freedom Rides Museum is the site of another pivotal site in the civil rights struggle. This spot is where, in 1955, Rosa Parks boarded the bus “which would transport her name into history.” This was the starting point of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and a great place for your pilgrimage group to stop and reflect on the past.

Equal Justice Initiative – National Memorial for Peace and Justice
Montgomery, AL

This sprawling site encompasses multiple memorials and displays. You will first come to the Peace and Justice Memorial Center. It commemorate 24 Black men and women who were lynched or killed in racially-motivated attacks during the 1950s. Next pilgrims enter the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Here you will find sculptures and art installations dedicated to the legacy of a racially-motivated past. At the site’s center hangs over 800 steel monuments – one for each county in the United States where documented racial terror lynchings took place. The memorial is a sacred space for truth-telling and reflection about racial terror in America and its legacy.

The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd:
Montgomery, AL

This historic church (the third oldest Episcopal Congregation in the city), can trace its history to the “Slave Gallery” of St. John’s Church. In 1896, after a group a parishioners petitioned for a church of their own. They purchased a plot of land and built their own church building. The church has been at the center of the civil rights movement, from helping to organize the bus boycott, to its involvement in protesting the expulsion of nine Alabama State College students for their participation in sit-ins, to its community outreach and inclusive ministries to many different cultures.

Additional Sites to Visit

There are many other meaningful sites to visit and explore on a Social Justice/Racial Equity Pilgrimage to Georgia and Alabama. What has been shown here are stops that are considered “must-see” locations. Time permitting, some other sites that you may want to visit are:

Selma, AL:

Selma Interpretive Center
Edmund Pettus Bridge
Lowndes Interpretive Center
Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail
Brown Chapel AME Church
National Voting Rights Museum and Institute

Montgomery, AL:

Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church
Dexter Parsonage Museum
Civil Rights Memorial Center
St. John’s Episcopal Church

Birmingham, AL:

16th Street Baptist Church
Gaston Motel
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Atlanta, GA

APEX Museum
Elbert P. Tuttle US Court of Appeals Building
Big Bethel AME Church
Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
Oakland Cemetery
The Hammonds House

Albany, GA

Albany Civil Rights Institute
Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church

Midway, GA

Dorchester Academy Boys’ Dormitory

 

There are options for visiting other sites in Tennessee, Mississippi, or other numerous locations.

Download the Brochure

For more information on our Social Justice and Racial Equity Pilgrimage, download our brochure by clicking the button below.

Download

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