Before the pandemic, my husband and I planned a civil rights tour from Florida up through Alabama and Mississippi. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go on the trip, but it got me thinking about some of the sights we planned on seeing. It also got me thinking of civil and human rights worldwide, which led me to reaching out to other travel writers for some of the historic places they have visited.
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Museo de la Memoria Y Los Derechos Humanos (Santiago de Chile)
By Claudia Tavani, My Adventures Across The World
Certainly, the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (Museum of Human Rights) of Santiago, Chile, isn’t just the best museum in the capital. It is also one of the best civil rights sites in the world.
Likewise, the exhibit at this museum is incredibly well curated. It has a number of documents, letters, photographs, and videos. The videos have testimonies of the victims of the human rights violations carried out during the Chilean dictatorship, between September 11, 1973 and March 10, 1990.
The artifacts will take you through one of the darkest moments of the history of the country.
Santiago’s Museum of Human Rights is located on Matucana 501. You can easily get there by metro. It is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. However, the museum closes on 1 January, 1 May, 18 and 19 September and 25 December. Visiting is free. You can get an audio-guide for around $2.50 USD. Free guided tours are available too. Visiting the museum can easily take you half a day as it is interesting and very moving.
National Military Park in Vicksburg, Mississippi
Contributed by Sam from My Flying Leap
National Military Park, also called National Battlefield Park, is a memorial and dedication to the Civil War in the United States. It’s located in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
National Military Park is historically significant because it includes 25 battle sites from the Civil War, preserved by the US government. Along with the battle of Gettysburg, the Battle of Vicksburg is considered the turning point of the Civil War. The culmination of both losses eventually led to the end of the war.
When you visit National Military Park, it’s hard to believe the area was once a battleground. Today, it’s a beautiful hilly, and serene area.
Drive around the park to see the monuments erected by many of the states. Some are small signs and plaques. Others are large monuments and buildings. The Illinois State Memorial is one of the largest and most impressive.
Visit the USS Cairo Museum. Here you can see the first armed vessel in the history of warfare to be sunk by a mine in 1862, during the Civil War. 175 were on the ship and all escaped before it sunk.
You can also visit the Vicksburg National Cemetery, where the soldiers who lost their lives are resting under shade trees. National Military Park is a top place to visit in Vicksburg, MS, and a place you shouldn’t miss.
Wilberforce House: Civil Right UK
By Hannah Ackroyd at Get Lost Travel Blog
Wilberforce House in Hull, England, is a little-known museum, mostly visited by locals. However, it played a huge role in global civil rights history. It should be a must-see spot if you ever visit Hull!
The house was the birthplace of William Wilberforce, a Hull Member of Parliament who led the movement to abolish the slave trade. As a leading English abolitionist, he headed the parliamentary campaign against the slave trade.
After campaigning for decades, Wilberforce’s hard work eventually paid off. In 1807, the passing of the Slave Trade Act eventually abolished the slave trade.
At Wilberforce House you can learn more about the transatlantic slave trade and its abolition. The museum also deals with the issue of contemporary slavery.
In the gallery you can see some items that originally belonged to Wilberforce, many of which are significant to the campaign against slavery. The collection includes items such as journals and original clothes worn by Wilberforce.
You can take a virtual tour of Wilberforce House online or visit the museum in person. Entry to the museum is free.
William Wilberforce was shaped by his life in Hull, so when you visit the city, there are several sites you can visit to learn more about his life.
Other key locations include the Hands On History Museum which is situated in the old Grammar School where Wilberforce studied. You will also find an impressive 102-foot-high monument dedicated to Wilberforce overlooking the tranquil Queen’s Gardens in the city centre.
Wales: The Right to Speak Their Own Language
Submitted by Paulina of UK Everyday
For many years citizens of Wales didn’t have rights to speak their own language. It was illegal to use Welsh in courts or at schools. People were afraid to lose their jobs. In the 1950s, the Welsh community started protesting and demanding linguistic rights.
The idea of creating a water reservoir in Snowdonia National Park, by Liverpool City Council, was very controversial. It would take out many homes of Welsh people. This whole situation led to language legislation in Wales.
When you drive around this beautiful country, you will see that road signs are in two different languages. Since 2016, text on them must be written in appropriate order, first in Welsh, then English. As a result of that, some of the road signs might have errors. For example one of the signs in Cardiff was misleading pedestrians to look at different sides of the road, depending on the language.
Wales is a very interesting place to visit and to learn about civil rights. Speaking Welsh language was not always allowed in this country. Many protests and campaigns helped to keep the uniqueness of this area. If you ever plan to explore Wales, make sure to learn a few basic phrases and words such as Croeso “You are welcome” or Cymru “Wales”.
Civil Rights Tour USA: Sweet Auburn Historic District
By Holly from Travels with the Big Guy
A trip down to The Sweet Auburn Historic District in Atlanta, Georgia is both educational & inspirational. With Atlanta’s rich history in the civil rights movement, it was only natural for us to make this walk when we were in Atlanta.
The Sweet Auburn Historic District connection to the Civil Rights Movement is undeniable. From the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr., to the Ebenezer Baptist Church, to the final resting place of Dr. King & his wife, Coretta, there are so many sites that played a part in the Civil Rights Movement! Along with Dr. King, John Lewis & many other civil leaders are paid tribute for their input to the movement.
Originally named Wheat Street, it was renamed to Auburn Street in 1893. It quickly became the place to be for Black Americans. The Sweet Auburn Historic District history was made all the more powerful by Black American culture, small businesses, and several strong churches acting as a religious base for the community. Banks created by Black Americans served the needs of the blacks not serviced by the white banks. They created businesses to fill their everyday needs – beauty salons, barbers, markets, insurance needs. etc as well as social clubs, etc.
This is a wonderful historic walk for your family. Placards are everywhere telling the history of that person(s) or business.
Civil Rights Tour in South Africa: Constitution Hill
By Shobha George from Just Go Places Blog
Constitutional Hill is a museum with a long history spanning centuries of South Africa’s past and its struggle for democracy for all of its people. Originally, the first structure was a Dutch prison and fort built in the late 19th century. After the Anglo-Boer War, the British took over from the Dutch and continued its use as a prison for nearly a century.
Among the most famous political prisoners at Constitutional Hill was Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi (not at the same time!). They kept thousands of anti-Apartheid protestors of both genders and all ages at Constitutional Hill until it closed in 1983. New buildings were created to house different and expanding populations. They kept people in bleak conditions. The rules adhered to the strict Apartheid regulations maintained outside of prison in South Africa. As such, black Africans were at the bottom of the hierarchy below whites, Indians and coloureds.
In the 1990’s they decided to convert Constitutional Hill to a memorial to the past. Now Constitution Hill is open for visitors. It also houses South Africa’s Supreme Court. The Constitutional Court opened in 2004. You can visit the court as part of your tour of Constitutional Hill. There’s also a big art collection held here. Along with the Apartheid Museum, Constitutional Hill is definitely a must-see in Johannesburg when you visit the city.
By traveling and learning about history, we get to know cultures and hardships others face. A civil rights tour, whether virtually or in person, helps us see each other as part of the human race instead of separate races, religions, cultures, and economic status. By broadening our horizons with a civil rights tour, we can change the way we think and hopefully use that to change the perspectives of others.