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Civil Rights – A Journey to Freedom

Trip Highlights

Journey through the Deep South accompanied by an Orbridge Travel Director to gain an enhanced understanding of the historic and continued struggle for racial equality in the United States.

  • Visit prominent locations integral to the Civil Rights Movement many have only read about in books, including Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham and the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.
  • Retrace the footsteps and learn more of central figures, including Dr. King, Rosa Parks, and Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth.
  • Treasure the opportunity to hear first-hand the powerful accounts of foot soldiers’ struggles and triumphs with interactive discussions.
  • Meet quiltmakers from Gee’s Bend to discuss their art.
  • Join choir members for a musical program that outlines the origins of Negro spirituals and how these songs were integrated into the first independent black churches and how choirs supported Dr. King on his trips around the U.S. Afterward, enjoy a delicious dinner with the group.
  • Visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice—two institutions that have taken diverse and complementary approaches to telling the rich and moving stories of the Civil Rights Movement and of America’s history of racial inequality.
  • Gather together at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church.
  • Celebrate the accomplishments of pioneering African-American aviators at the Tuskegee Airmen Historic Site.
  • Delight in a farewell lunch accompanied by true southern hospitality at the private restored antebellum home of Ms. Sandy Taylor, the retired Superintendent of the National Park Services Tuskegee Site.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive in Birmingham, AL

Welcome to Alabama—a state many consider ground zero with hallowed ground for the civil rights movement. This afternoon features the first of several planned informative and engaging discussions, followed by a welcome reception. 

Did you know Birmingham was named after Birmingham, UK, and is the only place in the world where all three raw ingredients for steel (coal, limestone, and iron ore) occur naturally within a ten-mile radius? Packed with history, the “Magic City” welcomes you at the Vulcan Park and Museum. Inspect the largest cast-iron statue in the world and scan beautiful views of downtown. The statue was originally commissioned to advertise Birmingham’s industry at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.

Enjoy the interactive museum that holds a chronicled timeline and meet history itself in one of this enriching program’s esteemed speakers—Dr. Martha Bouyer. Historian, educator, and foot soldier, Dr. Bouyer vividly brings to life how segregation in Birmingham unfolded, perhaps challenging your assumptions and formal education knowledge of the civil rights movement. 

Meals: Reception

Day 2 – Birmingham

Following breakfast, rejoin Dr. Martha Bouyer today for illumination into significant historic sites including, the Birmingham Jail, Dynamite Hill, Linn Park, Phillips High School, the black business district, and more.

Connect with history and locals in a special opportunity to attend morning praise and worship services at 16th Street Baptist Church. At this sobering site critical to the civil rights movement, uncover the story of four young lives lost through an unimaginable act. Learn how this domestic terrorism produced political pressure that helped ensure passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This legislation eliminated the official segregation of public accommodations. Gaze upon an iconic stained-glass window depicting a black Christ with a right hand pushing away hatred and injustice, and a left hand offering forgiveness. Donated to the church by the freedom-loving people of Wales, this heart-warming image appears with a rainbow of racial unity. 

Lunch is on your own today with several options, including The Southern Kitchen.

Learn how important mass meetings were for the movement by visiting Bethel Baptist Church and Shuttlesworth parsonage.

Dinner tonight will be at leisure, with an abundance of diverse venues and menus to choose among. The bus will make scheduled drop-offs and pick-ups at Five Points South in the entertainment district for your convenience.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 – Birmingham / Montgomery

Rise today for a journey further south to Alabama’s capital city of Montgomery, approximately 90 minutes away. In Montgomery, civil rights discovery intensifies by further probing discrimination and the role of slavery and its aftermath.

Upon arrival, we’ll advance to Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and meet its warm and effervescent Tour Minister, Wanda Battle

Lunch today will be at a hidden gem in downtown Montgomery called The Tavern & Porter Room.

Next is a walking journey of the powerful National Memorial for Peace and Justice.

Visit the history-rich area of the Court Square-Dexter Avenue District.

Nearby, between a fountain and the Alabama River, experience an equally eye-opening immersion at the Legacy Museum.

Dinner tonight is on your own, with a variety of options available within walking distance.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4 – Montgomery / Selma / Montgomery

Today’s planned activities therefore feature additional speakers and foot soldiers sharing firsthand, authentic accounts crucial to how we experience and understand history.

Following breakfast, take a short drive to Selma, a small town of around 18,000 people located in central west Alabama.

Gather to enjoy a fellowship lunch with homemade dishes today at Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Meet foot soldier Dr. Verdell Lett Dawson for an oral history and learn the foundation.

Traverse the landmark Edmund Pettus Bridge with Dianne Harris, retracing the footsteps of voting rights marchers and feeling the sweep of history wash over you.

Following the walk, board the motor coach back to Montgomery.

Along the way, stop in the Lowndes Interpretive Center which is dedicated to those who peacefully marched the 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights

A special musical program is in store this evening, featuring Negro spirituals with a choir. Learn the origins of these songs, how they were integrated into the first independent black churches, and how choirs supported Dr. King during his trips around the United States.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 – Montgomery / Tuskegee / Birmingham / Depart Birmingham

After breakfast, explore the Rosa Parks Museum.

Next, depart Montgomery and travel east to the town of Tuskegee, home of a great deal of African-American history.

While in this city, survey the campus of Tuskegee University.

Pause for a photo at the statue Lifting the Veil of Ignorance which depicts Booker T. Washington and is inscribed, “He lifted the veil of ignorance from his people and pointed the way to progress through education and industry.”

A celebratory farewell lunch serving generous helpings of southern hospitality awaits at the private, restored antebellum home of husband and wife owners, Sandy Taylor and Harvey Mattox.

Afterward, return to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport for flights home. Guests continuing on the optional Muscle Shoals post-tour will depart the airport for Florence, AL.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

 

 

Show Full Itinerary

Your Journey

MAP CivilRights

By participating in an Alumni Association of the University of Michigan travel trip, you have stated that the Alumni Association has the exclusive right to use video and other visual/audio portrayals of You or Your likeness taken during Your trip in any medium of any nature whatsoever for any purpose, including advertising or promoting the services of the trip without any compensation being paid to You. Any such portrayal or likeness shall be the exclusive property of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.

(5 days)
Starting price: $2,995
Singles $3,995
Deposit per person: $850
North America
Orbridge
Type: Land

You must be an Alumni Association member to travel with us. Questions? Call Michigan Alumni Travel at 855.764.0064.

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