5 Essential Civil Rights Museums In The Southeast Region

For American history buffs, a trip to the southeast is a chance to gain better insight into the history of the civil rights movement and the struggle for racial equality. There are so many great civil rights museums in the United States that an entire trip can be planned around visiting the top national civil rights museums.


When travel time is limited, consider visiting the highlights by including these essential civil rights museums in your itinerary. If time is not an issue, then slow down and spend more time exploring the south’s amazing history, music, art, and food.



The New Legacy Museum In Montgomery, AL


The New Legacy Museum is a 15-minute walk from its counterpart, the National Memorial to Peace and Justice. This civil rights museum is 11,000 square feet built on the site of a warehouse formerly used to house enslaved black people.


It’s a sobering account of past oppression in African American history as well as the current ongoing struggle. The museum includes interactive technology, historical archives, and narrated first-person accounts from a tragic time in American history.


There is a powerful display here, with 800 jars of soil collected from lynching sites across the US.


Take the short walk, or the quick shuttle bus, to the nearby National Memorial to Peace and Justice. The memorial honors the legacy of black people who were the tragic victims of lynching. The memorial square includes 805 steel plates with the victim’s name (if known) and the name of the county and state where the lynching took place.


Plan to spend three to five hours at the museum and one hour at the memorial.



Rosa Parks Museum – The Mother Of The Civil Rights Movement, Montgomery, Al


The Rosa Parks Museum is located on the site where she was arrested on December 1, 1955, when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man.


Displays include archival exhibits from the Montgomery Bus Boycott. A bus is on exhibit that is identical to the one Mrs. Parks was riding that day when she refused to give up her seat to a white man. There is also a reenactment to show what happened on that day from the eyes of an onlooker.


Plan to spend from 90 minutes to two hours touring the museum.



National Center For Civil And Human Rights Museum In Atlanta, Ga


The National Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum occupies 2.5 acres in downtown Atlanta. It is arguably one of the best planned civil rights museums in America.


The museum focuses on both the civil rights movement throughout African American history and the worldwide human rights struggle. This museum is a must-see for any tour of civil rights museums.


There are three distinct, permanent exhibits here:


  • Voice to the Voiceless: The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection. This section tells the story of Dr. King’s life through a collection of his letters and papers.


  • Rolls Down Like Water: The American Civil Rights Movement. This section is an interactive gallery that shows the civil rights movement in multiple sections. The most popular exhibit here is the recreation of a lunch counter sit-in. Visitors sit at the counter, put on headphones, and listen to a simulation of the insults and threats that came from the hecklers.


  • Spark of Conviction: The Global Human Rights Movement. The focus here is on modern-day activists working to improve conditions for women and LGBTQ people worldwide.


Plan to spend from 90 minutes to two hours touring the museum.



National Civil Rights Museum In Memphis, Tn


The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel occupies several associated buildings at the site where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.


As one of the nation’s most influential civil rights museums, a few of the exhibits include:


  • Dr. King’s room at the Lorraine Motel, number 306.
  • A replica of the bus Rosa Parks was riding when she refused to give up her seat to a white man.
  • A floor map of Africa, Europe, and North and South America with statistical data showing the huge number of people captured as slaves and the impact on those areas.
  • The original lunch counter from the student lead sit-ins of 1960.


This museum should be added to any itinerary of essential civil rights museums to visit.


Plan to spend 90 minutes touring the museum.



Stax Soulsville Music Museum In Memphis, TN


In 1957 a small recording studio was started by Jim Stewart, a man with no recording experience, under the name Satellite Records. The first record cut by Satellite Records was a country song called “Blue Roses.” The rest, as they say, was history.


Through a series of studio moves, and a deal with his older sister Estelle Axton, Satellite Records became Stax. Stax is a combination of their two last names: Stewart and Axton.


The museum honors the Stax legacy and the history of American Soul Music. On display are interactive exhibits, films, stage costumes, records, vintage recording equipment, photographs, and musical instruments. Over 2,000 pieces of rare black music memorabilia are on display.


The Stax Museum is about 2.5 miles from the National Civil Rights Museum. A discounted ticket can be purchased on the Stax website with admission to both museums.


Plan to spend at least 90 minutes to two hours touring the museum.



Why Not Leave The Planning, And The Driving, To Us!


Take a pilgrimage through the American southeast to tour the civil rights museums, and be immersed in civil rights history. We will take care of the details while you ride in comfort on our one of luxury motorcoaches.


Visiting a national civil rights museum is an intimate look into American history. Plan to spend your precious travel time with your loved ones on one of our tours. Our 8-day Civil rights History Tour is private and can be customized for you.


For more information, go online or call today. We look forward to meeting with you!



Leon Burnette

Leon Burnette, known affectionately as Mr. B The Guru, is a Civil Rights and Black Music Historian, Explorer, and Storyteller. Burnett, also known as “Mr. B,” is the voice of diversity Stories and has a strong obsession for Black music,...

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4 days
Group Size
14 to 42


A Truth and Reconciliation Experience

This professional JUSTICE DEI leadership training program is based on the strategies, people, and events that are a part of the history and legacy of the US Civil Rights Trail.

Lessons learned on this educational tour will give leaders and key personnel a new perspective and a better understanding of America’s long history of injustice and inequality.

5 days
Group Size
14 to 42


Immerse yourself in the history, music, art, food, and stories of each city and these specially selected museums and parks hearing moving first-hand stories from the Civil Rights Movement.

You will have the opportunity to meet civil rights activists, and visit legendary museums and cultural landmarks that capture the story of these institutions and the people.