State National Parks of Alabama

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Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument

In the 1960s, Birmingham, Alabama, was one of the most segregated places in the United States. In 1963, civil rights leaders Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. organized nonviolent protests in the city to take a stand against race-based injustice. Day after day, hundreds of marchers took to the streets, including hundreds of school-aged youth. These nonviolent protesters suffered brutal mistreatment at the hands of police and other city officials, gaining national attention and eventually winning major concessions in the fight for equal rights.


Freedom Riders National Monument

On May 14, 1961, seven members of the Congress for Racial Equality and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee boarded a Greyhound bus from Atlanta to Birmingham to determine if long-distance bus service was free from segregation. The bus was attacked by a pro-segregationist mob at the Greyhound terminal in Anniston, about 40 miles east of Birmingham. Attackers slashed the bus’s tires and broke several of its windows. When the driver stopped to change a tire, members of the mob entered the bus and began to beat the passengers. The mob then set the bus on fire with several riders still inside. A photograph of the burning bus became one of the most iconic images of the civil rights movement.