Deep South Civil Rights Trail Self-drive
Travel 01 Feb 2022
Book by 30 Jun 2021
Saving £141 per person
- 14 nights Deep South Civil Rights Trail Self-drive Tour, - Standard rooms
- 13 days compact car hire with fully inclusive insurance
- Flights to New Orleans with British Airways, accommodation in a standard rooms, 13 days compact car hire with fully inclusive insurance (pick up before leaving New Orleans) and prepayable taxes.
- This holiday is 100% financially protected. ATOL protected 2713
Day 1: Arrival in New Orleans – Start your journey in the vibrant city of New Orleans. On arrival transfer to your hotel independently and explore the city.
Day 2: New Orleans – Dive into the French Quarter or the Garden District of this fascinating city. There were many significant events from the civil rights movement that took place in New Orleans. Visit the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals where many momentous decisions were made or explore the Tremé Neighbourhood, home to Louis Armstrong Park as well as several museums dedicated to African-American life, art and history.
Day 3: New Orleans to Baton Rouge – Depart New Orleans and drive through Plantation Country, maybe stopping off to visit one of the many plantation homes along the route. Baton Rouge is one of the most historic and vibrant cities in the south and is ripe for exploration. It is also the state capital and the Capitol Building is the tallest such building in the USA with an observation deck on the 27th floor which affords panoramic views of the city and surrounds.
Day 4: Baton Rouge to Jackson – Travel through Louisiana and cross into Mississippi, maybe stopping in historic Natchez to explore some of the over 1000 structures listed on the national register of historic places. Pick up the stunning Natchez Trace Parkway scenic drive to Jackson, the state capital of Mississippi.
Day 5: Jackson – Jackson is noted for its beautiful architecture – from the magnificent Capitol building that dates back to 1903 to the modest home of Medgar Evers, a slain civil rights worker. Life in this city pulses with music – gospel, blues, rock, jazz, classical and everything in between – born from a tradition steeped in the arts. Discover a wealth of civil rights history in Jackson. Start at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, opened in 2017, which details civil rights struggles in Mississippi. See archive film of protests and demonstrations as well as artefacts such as the rifle used to murder Medgar Evers at his home in 1963. The NAACP field secretary's house has been restored and is now the Medgar Evers Home Museum.
Day 6: Jackson to Memphis – Travel north through Mississippi towards Tennessee, a detour to Tupelo to visit Elvis Presley’s birthplace is a fascinating diversion. Alternatively for blues fans a stop in Clarksdale Mississippi is a must, this town has often been declared as the place where blues was born and it still weaves its way into the fabric of the town today. Arrive in Memphis and explore the blues scene by taking in a performance in one of the entertaining Beale Street blues bars. Memphis offers a multitude of musical and movie moments, and there are two nights to explore your favourites.
Day 7: Memphis - Begin today with a visit to Graceland, home of the late Elvis Presley, then choose between the Rock & Soul Museum, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Gibson Guitar Factory, or Sun Studio where musicians such as B.B. King, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded their rock'n'roll hits (all optional visits). To explore the civil rights history of Memphis, start at the National Civil Rights Museum, constructed around the Lorraine Motel. Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel, re-created from 1968, is where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4 on the balcony outside his room. Other must-see places on a tour of civil rights history in Memphis include the historic Beale Street Baptist Church, built by and for freed slaves in the late 1800s and a key meeting place for civil rights leaders through the ages.
Day 8: Memphis to Nashville – En route from Memphis to Nashville stop in Henning to visit the Alex Haley Museum and Interpretive Center. The museum - the childhood home of the "Roots" author - is dedicated to African-American history and contains a life-size replica of a slave ship. Then travel onto Nashville, home to a history of civil rights heroes, country music and southern style.
Day 9: Nashville - Your visit starts at Woolworth on 5th, a restaurant that pays homage to the Nashville sit-ins - nonviolent protests against segregated public places in the city in 1960. One of the sit-ins targeted the lunch counter in the Woolworth store, where the restaurant operates today in a meticulously restored building. Learn more about the era by sitting at a symbolic lunch counter to read the sit-in protesters' Ten Rules of Conduct and other historical accounts in the Civil Rights Room at the Nashville Public Library. Visit the Davidson County Courthouse, where a peaceful march ended with then-Mayor Ben West conceding that segregation was immoral, the first step toward the city's desegregation of public facilities. Next to the courthouse are the Witness Walls, concrete murals featuring events, including Freedom Rides, marches and sit ins, that spurred desegregation in Nashville. After a fascinating day we suggest a visit to the Ryman Auditorium and a night at the Grand Ole Opry to enjoy the country music scene that Nashville is famous for.
Day 10: Nashville to Louisville - Before departing for Louisville make your way over to the Music City Walk of Fame (optional) honouring the top country performers. It's a multimedia music shrine including movie theatres, costumes, instruments and other artefacts detailing country music's colourful history. On arrival in Louisville baseball fans should ensure they fit in a visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum (optional), an interactive museum honouring some of baseball's greats.
Day 11: Louisville – Throughout the early 1960s, Louisville, Kentucky, erupted in a series of demonstrations and protests pushing for social change within its segregated communities. In 1960, a delegation of black and white civil rights activists pressed for passage of the public accommodations ordinance to end segregation in white-owned establishments. Some of the most important sites can be visited by following the Louisville Downtown Civil Rights walking trail. Louisville is also the hometown of heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. In ways that no one else could, Ali appealed simultaneously to people and organizations who otherwise agreed on little politically. You can explore the life and legacy of this civil rights hero and American icon at Louisville’s award-winning Muhammad Ali Center.
Day 12: Louisville to Birmingham - Before taking the drive to Birmingham, don't forget to visit the home of the world's most famous thoroughbred horserace, the Kentucky Derby which takes place at Churchill Downs the first Saturday each May. A stop en-route at the Mammoth Cave National Park is a must. This national park has the longest known cave system in the world, as well as part of the verdant, hilly Green River valley in south central Kentucky. The park draws thousands of visitors looking to explore the more-than 600 kilometres of caverns.
Day 13: Birmingham - Birmingham, a city at the heart of the civil rights movement, most famously Project C, better known as the Birmingham Campaign. Peaceful lunch counter sit-ins, boycotts and marches were met with such violence that they're widely accepted as key turning points in the civil rights movement. Today, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute tells the story of the city's role in the struggle for equality. Across the street, in Kelly Ingram Park, fire hoses and dogs were turned on peaceful protesters; it's now a site honoring leaders of the civil rights movement with statues and monuments. The nearby Civil Rights National Monument was established in 2017 to commemorate this important time in U.S. history. Further explore the city, set in the beautiful Appalachian foothills, where outdoor recreation and dining and entertainment options abound.
Day 14: Birmingham to Selma - Drive south to reach Selma, the starting point of three 1965 right-to-vote marches. On March 7, about 600 marchers were met with violence from local law enforcement and vigilante gangs. News broadcasts countrywide of "Bloody Sunday," coupled with the death of an activist after a march two days later, led to thousands of supporters converging on Selma. President Lyndon B. Johnson pledged support to the marchers on national TV and expedited the Voting Rights Act. Visit the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Now a National Historic Landmark, the bridge was the site of the brutal Bloody Sunday beatings of civil rights activists during the first march for voting rights. The Selma Interpretive Centre and the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute are both important stops to help to understand the impact of the civil rights movement.
Day 15: Selma to New Orleans – If time allows try to fit in a final civil rights trail stop in Montgomery on your way back to New Orleans. Montgomery had been thrust into the public conscience in 1955 by one African-American woman's refusal to give up her seat on a segregated bus, and visitors can see a 1955 city bus at the Rosa Parks Museum. Montgomery stayed at the forefront of the civil rights movement. It's home to the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. preached and organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Travel on to New Orleans to return your rental car and fly home.
Flights to New Orleans with British Airways, accommodation in a standard rooms, 13 days compact car hire with fully inclusive insurance (pick up before leaving New Orleans) and prepayable taxes.
Regional Departures: Regional supplements are available from Manchester from £200, Belfast from £200, Newcastle from £200, Edinburgh from £200, Glasgow from £200. Other regional airports may be available, please ask for details.
Prices are per person based on 2 adults sharing (unless stated otherwise). Subject to availability, terms and conditions apply.