Sponsored by Asheville, Charlotte, Durham and Raleigh Martin Luther King Committees in collaboration with The North Carolina Martin Luther King Resource Center, preparations are underway for the 10th Annual Martin Luther King Civil Rights Heritage Tour. The tour will be traveling to Cincinnati, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; Selma, Tuskegee, Montgomery, and Birmingham, Alabama; and to Memphis, Tennessee to retrace the steps of Dr. King and other civil rights heroes. The purpose of the tour which runs from March 16-20, is to reinforce that more people should better understand, appreciate and acknowledge how all of this relates to the present and future. The award-winning excursion will visit historical monuments and museums in the bedrock areas of “The Movement’s” epic center such as the Historic Tuskegee Institute, The Renowned National Voting Rights Museum, Historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, The Rosa Parks Museum, Southern Poverty Law Center Civil Rights Memorial, The Famed Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, The Birmingham Civil Rights Museum, Kelly Ingram Memorial Park, and The Lorrine Motel National Civil Rights Museum to name a few.
Civil Rights Movement (1950’s-1980’s)
The Civil Rights Movement was a worldwide political reform movement in the United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination and equality for African Americans, as well as restoring Suffrage (the right to vote) in Southern states. It was accompanied by much civil unrest and popular rebellion. The process was long and tenuous in many countries, and most of these movements did not achieve or fully achieve their objectives. In its later years, the Civil Rights Movement took a sharp turn to the radical left in many cases.
Many of those who were active in the Civil Rights Movement, with organizations such as NAACP, SNCC, CORE and SCLC, prefer the term “Southern Freedom Movement” because the struggle was about far more than just civil rights under law; it was also about fundamental issues of freedom, respect, dignity, and economic and social equality.
The following is an excerpt from Martin Luther Kings sermon given at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on April 30, 1967:
Now, it isn’t easy to stand up for truth and for justice. Sometimes it means being frustrated. When you tell the truth and take a stand, sometimes it means that you will walk the streets with a burdened heart. Sometimes it means losing a job…means being abused and scorned. It may mean having a seven, eight year old child asking a daddy, “Why do you have to go to jail so much?” … Let us bear it–bear it for truth, bear it for justice, and bear it for peace. Let us go out this morning with that determination. And I have not lost faith. I’m not in despair, because I know that there is a moral order. I haven’t lost faith, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. I can still sing “We Shall Overcome” because Carlyle was right: “No lie can live forever.” We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant was right: “Truth pressed to earth will rise again.” We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell was right: “Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne.” Yet, that scaffold sways the future. We shall overcome because the bible is right: “You shall reap what you sow.” With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when the lion and the lamb will lie down together, and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid because the words of the Lord have spoken it. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when all over the world we will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we’re free at last!”