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GREENSBORO, N.C. ― The International Civil Rights Center & Museum is featured as a landmark site on the inaugural U.S. Civil Rights Trail, a project done in partnership with Travel South USA (TSUSA) and Visit North Carolina. The launch of the trail coincides with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
North Carolina’s prominent role in the civil rights movements is highlighted with the inclusion of the Greensboro museum, which is housed in the former Woolworth’s department store where four N.C. A&T University students began the sit-in movement in 1960.
The U.S. Civil Rights Trail is a curated collection of 130 destinations and landmarks that defined the course of the civil rights movement. It features sites in 14 states and the District of Columbia.
“North Carolina is honored that the new U.S. Civil Rights Trail features the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, one of the most important landmarks of the civil rights movement,” said Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit North Carolina. “North Carolina takes pride in its world-class civil rights museum where visitors can experience history where it was made. We look forward to promoting the North Carolina sites on the inaugural trail and adding to the list.”
The museum opened Feb. 1, 2010, the 50th anniversary of the sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter.
“Visitors to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro get an honest and passionate account of struggle, with powerful lessons helping them to honor and understand their history, and our museum provides a unique deep dive into social inequality in an era of sweeping change,” said John Swaine, the museum’s CEO. “We are excited to showcase to visitors from across the globe why our site has landmark status on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.”
On Feb. 1, the museum hosts its annual telethon to raise funds to support operations and protect the National Historic Landmark. Local university students will march to the museum to commemorate the original sit-in and support the museum.
The trail represents an effort by state tourism offices across the South to tell the story of the civil rights movement. It links the region’s most important civil rights landmarks, including museums, churches, courthouses and memorials that were pivotal to the advancement of social equality during the 1950s and 1960s as compiled by historians, scholars and tourism officials. Additional North Carolina sites are on the inaugural U.S. Civil Rights Trail including the February One Monument in Greensboro; the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Gardens and Shaw University’s Estey Hall in Raleigh; and Hayti Heritage Center in Durham.
Other landmark sites on the trail include the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., and King’s birthplace in Atlanta.
The website civilrightstrail.com profiles the landmarks and offers an interactive map, interviews with prominent civil rights activists, past and present photographs and 360-degree video as special features.
With the launch of the U.S. Civils Rights Trail and the inaugural list of sites, Travel South plans to include additional sites of importance to the trail in the coming years. Sites can submit to be added to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail and will be reviewed by a group of historians, scholars and tourism officials for consideration.
About Visit North Carolina:
Visit North Carolina is part of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC). The EDPNC is contracted by the North Carolina Department of Commerce to execute North Carolina’s marketing and recruitment functions. The partnership serves to assist efforts in economic development, international trade, and tourism, film and sports development. For more information on planning a trip to North Carolina, go to VisitNC.com.
Tourism remains one of the state’s most vital industries with economic activity and employment generated in each of the state’s 100 counties. In 2016, domestic travelers to North Carolina spent $22.9 billion, which accounts for 218,340 jobs for North Carolinians. State and local tax revenues, as a result of visitor spending, approached $1.9 billion in 2016. Tourism spending creates $497 in annual household savings. North Carolina ranks sixth in total person-trip volume by state behind California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania.
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