[Jan 10, 2018, 8:49 PM]
RALEIGH, N.C. (February 1, 2022) — F.W. Woolworth store in Greensboro put North Carolina on the civil rights movement map. Six decades later, the N.C. Civil Rights Trail is guiding students of history to points of interest beyond the place where the sit-in movement took hold.
With newly designated sites, this initiative of the N.C. African American Heritage Commission features 14 stops with as many as 50 to be included when the trail is complete. Some stops commemorate protests sparked by the Woolworth sit-in, a story preserved at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum. Other sites salute landmark court cases. And two should inspire a celebratory round of golf.
“Many of these stories come as a revelation,” said Visit North Carolina Director Wit Tuttell. “When you visit places where people took a stand, their stories inspire courage at a time of resonance with the issues at stake during the civil rights era.”
For travelers in pursuit of knowledge during Black History Month and beyond, Shelby, High Point and Raleigh are among the destinations that connect past and present with attractions and experiences that make a getaway worthwhile. Here are starting points for exploring the trail, a complement to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.
Shelby’s 20th-century history includes chapters as a political powerhouse and a major textiles center plus a list of natives and residents well-known to music fans: Earl Scruggs, Don Gibson, Alicia Bridges and Patty Loveless. Top picks for a civil rights-related tour:
Known as the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World,” High Point boasts a vibrant culture, a flourishing culinary scene and intriguing pockets of history. Top picks for a civil rights-related tour in the hometown of John Coltrane and Fantasia Barrino:
North Carolina’s capital city has abundant history and places to explore it, starting with the N.C. Museum of History. Its “Story of North Carolina” anchor exhibit includes an exploration of the civil rights era. Other key points of interest for civil rights travel:
For destinations and organizations interested in becoming part of the N.C. Civil Rights Trail, the application process is open through Aug. 19. Find details here.
About the N.C. Civil Rights Trail:
An initiative of the N.C. African American Heritage Commission with support from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation and Visit North Carolina, the N.C. Civil Rights Trail will be developed with community involvement across the state. Forty to 50 sites will be designated with at least 10 in Tier I and 2 rural North Carolina counties in alignment with Gov. Roy Cooper’s Hometown Strong initiative. Completion of the program is targeted for 2024 at a cost of $173,500 to cover a full-time program coordinator; development of a digital GIS map; development of an interactive web portal, featuring at least 150 sites; and up to 50 physical community-based markers.
About the N.C. African American Heritage Commission:
Created in 2008, the African American Heritage Commission is a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The commission works across the department to preserve, protect and promote the state’s African American history, art and culture for all people. Its endeavors include the identification of heritage sites, compiling resources for educators, extending the work of national programs such as the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom Underground Railroad, and independent initiatives including Oasis Spaces: Green Book Project. aahc.nc.gov
About the William G. Pomeroy Foundation:
The William G. Pomeroy Foundation is committed to supporting the celebration and preservation of community history; and to raising awareness, supporting research and improving the quality of care for patients and their families who are facing a blood cancer diagnosis. One of their initiatives is helping people to celebrate their community’s history. They meet this by providing grants to obtain signage in the form of roadside markers and plaques. Since 2006, they have funded over 1,300 signs across the United States, all the way to Alaska. Wgpfoundation.org
About Visit North Carolina:
Visit North Carolina is part of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. Established in 2014, the EDPNC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that oversees the state's efforts in business and job recruitment and retention, international trade, and tourism, film and sports development. The mission of Visit North Carolina is to unify and lead the state in developing North Carolina as a major destination for leisure travel, group tours, meetings and conventions, sports events and film production. For more information on North Carolina’s destinations and travel assets, go to VisitNC.com.
Angela M. Thorpe