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Civil Rights Trail: Of soldiers and choirs

Photo courtesy Montgomery CVB

Looking at a museum exhibit is one thing, but hearing a personal story about the civil rights movement from someone who participated in it is something else entirely.

During the 1960s, active civil rights supporters were nicknamed Foot Soldiers, and today visitors to the state can meet with some of these folks and hear their stories firsthand.

“There are many that are still around today,” said Alabama Tourism Department’s Rosemary Judkins. “Bob Mantz was one of those people that was right in front of that original march that took place on Bloody Sunday. He was instrumental in organizing the people, and he lives in Tuskegee.”

Another veteran of the movement now runs a tour company in Selma, guiding both tourism groups and dignitaries from around the world through the city’s civil rights landmarks.

And in Birmingham, the Carlton Reese Memorial Unity Choir still gives performances, including talks by choir members who sang with the group during the height of the civil rights movement.
Both the state tourism department and local convention and visitors bureaus can help group leaders plan to have Foot Soldiers visit with their travelers.

More about the trail:

In black and white: Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.