Civil Rights Path E book Goals to Make Historical past Straightforward to Digest | Jackson Free Press

By highlighting cities where significant events took place during the civil rights movement, a new book aims to make this complex story easier to understand and to pass on its legacy to younger generations. Photo courtesy

ATLANTA (AP) – By highlighting cities that hosted important events during the civil rights movement, a new book aims to make this complex story easier to understand and to pass on its legacy to younger generations.

The Companion Book, The Official United States Civil Rights Trail, provides a timeline of events from 1954 to 1969 and a list of more than 120 civic landmarks and 14 cities where people can visit places that help bring this story to life . Author Lee Sentell, director of the Alabama tourism division, said he wants to break the story into easily digestible pieces.

“We wanted to make it easy for people to understand things about civil rights that they didn’t know before, so we decided to break it down by cities that have a large number of places to visit, not just where something is happening is where people can go and visit and learn the story, ”Sentell said.

He spoke in an interview on Wednesday outside Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthplace in Atlanta, before the book was unveiled.

The US Civil Rights Trail, which debuted in 2018, encompasses more than 120 sites – churches, schools, courthouses, museums – in 15 states, mostly in the south. They are places where activists fought for social justice and racial equality in the 1950s and 1960s. The new booklet now contains more than 200 pictures of these landmarks as well as photographs from the civil rights era.

After working with tourism directors in the south to establish the trail, Sentell decided to put together a companion book after speaking with Rev. Bernice King, daughter of the civil rights leader and CEO of the King Center in Atlanta.

“She said how concerned she is that young African American people are ignorant of the story of what their father and their people’s parents and grandparents went through in the 50s and 60s to make a better world for their children and grandchildren,” said Sentell audience including King at launch. “She said people don’t know the story. If you don’t know the story, you don’t care. “

That, said Sentell, prompted him to make the stories of the civil rights movement more accessible by writing the book and putting it all online.

At the launch event, King said it was imperative that people learn more about the people and events that helped put an end to legal segregation.

“It is important that families everywhere in this nation – regardless of race or ethnicity – bring their children to these historic sites to hear the stories of courageous, courageous, visionary, non-violent people who have changed the South forever,” she said.

When she found herself speaking in front of the house her father lived in as a child, she told a story from his childhood how one day the parents of some white children he was friends with refused to come out and play . Then his parents explained the history of slavery, racial segregation to him, and Jim Crow, she said.

“It was at that moment that my father decided in his little six-year-old: ‘I’m going to do something about these conditions,'” she said.

Similarly, when young people visit the civil rights landmarks or read the companion book, they should be inspired to change the world around them, whether it be on poverty, wealth inequality, voting rights, police brutality, educational inequality, or the schooling -prison pipeline, said you.

King said the civil rights pages featured along the way are a reminder of what can happen “when ordinary people commit and are willing to do whatever it takes to bring about change.”

Sentell said one of his goals for the book is to reveal details that casual students of the story may never have heard of.

He said that while people are familiar with the story of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, they may not have heard much about the trial of the men charged in his murder. Although the boy’s great-uncle identified the two men in the trial as the ones who abducted him, it only took an all-white jury an hour to find them not guilty, the book says.

Another tidbit Sentell found interesting was that the words “I have a dream” did not appear in the prepared text for King’s famous speech delivered during the 1963 Washington march. As he spoke, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson felt the crowd become listless and, as he recalled a speech he had given earlier in Detroit, exclaimed, “Tell them about the dream, Martin. Tell them about the dream, ”the book says. King then pushed his script aside and delivered the now familiar words to great effect.

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