February 19, 2020

U.S. Civil Rights Trail Announces New Sites for 2020

USCRT Adds Partners from Kentucky and Tennessee

Four new attractions and one new city have been added to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail (USCRT), officials announced Thursday. These destinations further enrich the trail experience and the story of the Civil Rights Movement, and it is fitting that they have been added during the nation’s celebration of Black History Month. The additions include the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville and the SEEK Museum in Russellville, Kentucky. The trail also added the Beale Street Historic District and WDIA radio station, both in Memphis, Tennessee.

“We are delighted about the additions of the Muhammad Ali Center, the SEEK Museum, Beale Street Historic District and WDIA to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail,” said Lee Sentell, director of the Alabama Tourism Department and chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail Marketing Alliance. “We know they will make incredible additions to the trail as a whole, which continues to showcase how ‘what happened here changed the world.’”

The new sites were announced by the USCRT Marketing Alliance, which is made up of 14 state tourism departments, Destination DC, leaders from the National Park Service and historians. In 2018, the Marketing Alliance formed and launched CivilRightsTrail.com, featuring approximately 120 sites between Topeka, Kansas, and Washington, D.C., that were important to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

Most recently, the trail was recognized with gold for Best Destination in a Region from the International Travel & Tourism Awards on Nov. 5, 2019. It was also awarded the Mercury Marketing Award on Aug. 20, 2019, for its marketing excellence. In the site’s second year, it achieved one million page views.

About the New Sites

Historic Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, was established in 1841 and is one of the most iconic streets in America. Around the time of the Civil War, it became a thriving area for black commerce and culture. During the Civil Rights Movement, the area was also where African-Americans came to entertain and be entertained, shop, strategize and protest. When city sanitation workers decided to strike in response to deplorable job conditions, they marched down Beale Street, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to Memphis in support. The demonstrations were a precursor to his assassination on April 4, 1968.

“The U.S. Civil Rights Trail is a vital ongoing project that tells the stories of the brave men and women who stood up for equal rights,” said Commissioner Mark Ezell, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Secretary/Treasurer of the USCRT Marketing Alliance. “Tennessee is honored to be part of keeping civil rights history alive. We are excited the state has two new locations in Memphis on the trail – the Beale Street Historic District and WDIA radio station.”

WDIA was the first radio station in the country programmed entirely for the black community. The station went on air on June 7, 1947, from studios on Union Avenue in downtown Memphis. Not only did the station feature black radio personalities, but it also brought awareness to a relatively new market of listeners. The station’s influence and popularity reached the Mississippi Delta’s dense African-American population, and WDIA’s broadcasts were heard from Missouri to the Gulf Coast, reaching 10 percent of the African-American population in the United States.

The SEEK Museum in Russellville, Kentucky, recognizes the work of journalist Alice Allison Dunnigan with a life-size bronze statue and an exhibit about her achievements. The civil rights pioneer struggled against the twin strikes of racism and sexism to become the first female African-American admitted to the White House, Congressional and Supreme Court press corps. As the Washington correspondent for the Associated Negro Press, she worked with Congress to pass legislation that allowed her to obtain these press credentials in 1947. She then reported on national affairs with a focus on civil rights and other matters that were important to African-Americans. She also served on the president’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and worked for several years to enforce compliance of the Civil Rights Acts.

The Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, is a multicultural center with an award-winning museum that captures the inspiration of Muhammad Ali’s legendary life. A visit to the center is not just an experience but also a journey into the heart of a champion. Visitors to the center will experience interactive and multimedia exhibits and discover Ali’s six core principles: confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect and spirituality. Fueled by these principles, Ali became the best athlete he could be. He also garnered the strength and courage to stand up for what he believed and provided inspiration to millions of people around the world, regardless of ethnicity, religion, culture, gender or age. Located on Museum Row in the heart of downtown Louisville, the Muhammad Ali Center is the only place in the world dedicated to preserving and promoting Ali’s legacy.

Copyright 2020 U.S. Civil Rights Trail. All rights reserved. From https://civilrightstrail.com.

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