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20 PLACES THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

ABOUT THE CONSORTIUM

The Alabama African-American Civil Rights Heritage Sites Consortium is a collaboration among 20 historic places of worship, lodging, and civic engagement that played significant roles in the African-American struggle for freedom. While recent history focuses on the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, these institutions have been dedicated to improving the quality of black life since Reconstruction.

The Consortium was launched in January 2017 when the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute nominated the sites to the World Monuments Fund (WMF) Watch, WMF’s biennial program that partners with local stakeholders to use heritage conservation to empower communities. From that nomination, the Consortium evolved from a shared belief that there is strength in unity. From that nomination, the Consortium evolved from a shared belief that there is strength in unity.

The work of the Consortium expands the popular narrative of the civil rights movement by preserving and promoting these sites and the stories of the people within a broader community context. We aspire to equip a new generation with insight, information, and inspiration to use the legacy of the movement to transform the places where they live.

- Priscilla Hancock Cooper, Director

On October 16, 2017, the World Monuments Fund announced the Alabama Consortium was included on the 2018 Watch List among a diverse group of 25 global cultural heritage sites. The Watch recognizes internationally significant sites that present compelling conservation opportunities or face daunting threats. Among the 2018 Watch sites, the Consortium has the distinction of including multiple locations rather than a single building and is one of only two sites in North America.

These sites are very important not just to African-American history but to American history and the history of nonviolent social change.

- Andrea L. Taylor, former President and CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Following inclusion on the Watch, the Consortium identified documentation of aging foot soldiers’ oral histories of the sites as a most critical need, leading to the funding and creation of Voices of Alabama. Recognizing their shared history, goals and mission, representatives from these sites have participated in joint meetings and needs assessments to set the agenda for ongoing work. The Consortium sites are sustained through the passion, commitment and herculean efforts of dedicated volunteers who are committed to preserving not only these historic properties but their important stories. Taken together, these sites provide a historical, social and cultural context for the movement that changed our state, nation and world. Moving forward, the Consortium will work with each site to assure that its legacy is preserved for today and future generations.

BEN MOORE HOTEL AND MALDEN BROTHERS BARBER SHOP

The Ben Moore Hotel was built in 1945 and opened its doors to African-Americans soon after. It was the site of historic meetings between representatives of the black and white populations of Montgomery during the dawn of the Civil Rights era.

The now-vacant hotel once offered food and lodging, a safe place for meetings, and a vibrant social life free from the bigotry and hostilities of the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders gathered at the barbershop for haircuts and conversations with the local community.

902 High Street, Montgomery, AL 36104
thebenmoorehotel@gmail.com
Hotel not open for tours.

DEXTER AVENUE KING MEMORIAL BAPTIST CHURCH

Led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this church demonstrated how members of the black community could unite in resistance to segregation. At the forefront of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, events here heralded a new era of “direct action.” Years before, Dexter Avenue minister Vernon Johns instigated bus sit-ins that would propel the movement.

454 Dexter Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104
(334) 261-3494
dexterkingmemorial.org/tours
Tours Tuesday-Saturday (hourly 10 a.m. till 3 p.m.)

DEXTER AVENUE KING PARSONAGE

This porticoed, clapboard house was home to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his family during his ministry and his leadership of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

On January 31, 1956, the parsonage was bombed, ripping a hole through the home and leaving a scar in the concrete still visible today. The bombing helped focus national attention on the movement in Montgomery and Dr. King’s firm stand on nonviolence.

309 South Jackson Street, Montgomery, AL 36104
(334) 356-3270
dexterkingmemorial.org/tours
Tours Tuesday-Saturday (hourly 10 a.m. till 3 p.m.)

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH (BRICK-A-DAY)

First Baptist was founded in 1866 as one of the first black churches in the area, ultimately becoming one of the largest in the South. It was an important gathering place for Civil Rights activities and was led from 1952 to 1961 by Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s right-hand man.

In 1957, the church was bombed along with three others nearby. Then in 1961, it came under attack during the “Siege of First Baptist.” Following the arrival of Freedom Riders, the church was besieged by 3,000 whites threatening to burn it down as they hurled bricks and tear gas. The event played a crucial part in the desegregation of interstate travel.

347 N. Ripley Street, Montgomery, AL 36104
(334) 264-6921
firstbaptistchurchmontgomery.com
Tours by appointment only.

MT. ZION AME ZION CHURCH MEMORIAL ANNEX

The worshippers of Mount Zion AME Zion Church (organized in 1866) built this landmark in 1899. When the congregation moved to a new building in 1990, the original church, renamed the “Memorial Annex,” was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

From 1948 to 1952, its pastor, Rev. Solomon Seay, led the black community in early protests against injustice as president of the Negro Civic and Improvement League.

Rev. L. Roy Bennett hosted a community leadership meeting here during the Montgomery Bus Boycott that resulted in the creation of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) and the election of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to his first official leadership role.

During the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965, marchers rested at the church on their way to the capitol. Its leader at the time, Rev. Percy Smith Jr., became the first black man to run for mayor of Montgomery

657 S. Holt Street, Montgomery, AL 36108
(334) 265-9361
mountzionamezion.org
Under renovation. Open for tours in 2020.

DR. RICHARD HARRIS HOUSE

Originally constructed at the turn of the 20th century, this was the home of Dr. Richard H. Harris Jr. and his family. In May 1961, while martial law reigned, Dr. Harris provided a haven to 33 Freedom Riders after they were attacked at the Greyhound Bus Station.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy, James Farmer, John Lewis, Diane Nash, and other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement met at the Harris House to develop a strategy for continuing the rides.

333 S. Jackson Street, Montgomery, AL 36104
(334) 220-9979
harrishouse333@gmail.com
Not open to the public. Special tours by appointment.

JACKSON COMMUNITY HOUSE AND MUSEUM

In 1943, the Montgomery City Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs purchased this residence for its 25 adult clubs and 15 youth clubs.

The Community House was an invaluable gathering place for many groups, including needy mothers, kindergarten students, youth leaders, tutors, and counselors. It hosted meetings of the Women’s Political Council, which helped initiate the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It housed the city’s first library open to African Americans and functioned as a headquarters for voter registration and Girl Scouts, a popular teenage hangout, and an adult social and civic center.

409 S. Union Street, Montgomery, AL 36104
(334) 221-1973
jacksoncommunityhouse.org
Not open for public tours.

OLD SHIP AME ZION CHURCH

Established in 1852, Old Ship is home to the oldest black congregation in Montgomery and is a center of cultural and religious life for the black community throughout the state.

The church played a key role in the decision to move State Normal, one of the oldest Historically Black Colleges & Universities in the United States, from Marion to Montgomery. Later, its name changed to Alabama State University, and its first graduation ceremonies were held at Old Ship. The Honorable Frederick Douglas and President William McKinley both spoke from its pulpit and important organizational meetings took place here during the Civil Rights Movement.

483 Holcombe Street, Montgomery, AL 36104
(334) 647-1154
Tours by appointment.

UNITED (FORMERLY "TRINITY") LUTHERAN CHURCH PARSONAGE

This was the residence of Robert S. Graetz, a white clergyman who pastored the black congregation of Trinity Lutheran, which placed him in the midst of hostility the year of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Graetz openly supported the Movement, becoming secretary of the Montgomery Improvement Association and frequently attending meetings led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He and his family were regularly targeted by the Ku Klux Klan, and the parsonage survived three bombing attempts. The largest bomb, which failed to explode, would have killed the Graetz family and leveled much of the block.

1104 Rosa L Parks Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36108
(334) 262-4326
ueluth.org/trinitylutheran.cfm
Not open for public tours.

BROWN CHAPEL AME CHURCH

Established in 1866, members of the congregation affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1868. The church was a rallying site for Foot Soldiers of the Voting Rights Movement and served as headquarters for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) during its 1965 voting campaign. It is also where the Voting Rights March, the Bloody Sunday March, the Turnaround Tuesday March, and the Selma to Montgomery March began.

Brown Chapel remained open despite State and Federal court injunctions prohibiting mass meetings in black churches, providing shelter to the Movement during social and political storms.

410 Martin Luther King Street, Selma, AL 36703
(334) 874-7897
brownchapelame.org
Tours by appointment only.

FIRST (COLORED) BAPTIST CHURCH

The congregation of Selma’s First “Colored” Baptist Church was organized in 1842 under the leadership of Pastor Samuel Phillips.

First Baptist was the first church in Selma to open its doors in 1960 to organizers of the Dallas County Voters League. Under the leadership of Rev. M.C. Cleveland Jr., it also welcomed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1963-1965. It was frequently the site of mass meetings and nonviolence training sessions for the demonstrations that culminated in the Historic March to Montgomery.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and other leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference spoke here frequently. After the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March, First Baptist continued to headquarter SNCC and served as a distribution center for food and clothing for those who had lost their jobs

709 Martin Luther King Street, Selma, AL 36703
(334) 874-7331
Tours by appointment only. Call (334) 412-0938 or Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Information at (334) 875-5894.

SULLIVAN AND RICHIE JEAN SHERROD JACKSON MUSEUM

Built in 1912, this home has sheltered many important world figures. It served as a guest house for W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington who held intimate “fireside chats.” In addition, it is the only private residence in the world to host the first two African-American Nobel Peace Prize recipients, Dr. Ralph Bunche and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. They stayed in the home and conducted private meetings regarding the historic Selma to Montgomery March.

Today, the museum tells the unique story of three generations of the Jackson family. Dr. Sullivan Jackson, a dentist, and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson, an educator, lived in this home for 50 years. It contains remarkable collections of rare art, books, and music. It is listed on the World Monuments Watch List, National Historic Register, Alabama Register of History and Landmarks, National Park Service Selma to Montgomery Trail, and the US Civil Rights Trail.

1416 Lapsley Avenue, Selma AL 36701
(404) 799-1803
jacksonfoundationandmuseum.com
Tours by appointment only.

HISTORIC TABERNACLE BAPTIST CHURCH

Tabernacle Baptist was organized in 1884 for Selma University students, faculty, and emerging middle-class Negroes. The 1922 structure is significant for its Classical Revival architecture (executed by African-American architect and congregation member David T. West), as well as its involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. The architect designed two identical, adjacent entrances. The Minter Avenue entrance was functional, while the other, unused entrance was symbolic of the injustice of Jim Crow laws, which prevented black people from walking on Broad Street, Selma’s major thoroughfare.

At the invitation of Pastor Louis Lloyd Anderson and SNCC Organizer, Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Jr., Tabernacle was the site of the first mass meeting of The Voting Rights Movement and the memorial service for long-time civil rights activist Mr. Samuel Boynton. Members Rev. John D. Hunter and Mrs. Marie Foster were two of the “Courageous Eight,” the steering committee for the Dallas County Voters League who invited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Selma in 1964. The home of Dr. Sullivan Jackson, a Tabernacle member, was Dr. Martin Luther King’s headquarters in Selma.

1431 Broad Street, Selma, AL 36701
Tours by appointment only.
Call (334) 349-0737 or (334) 412-4829
Worship Sunday 10 a.m., Wednesday 6:30 p.m.
(334) 874-9443

MATTHEW AND EMMA JACKSON FREEDOM COMPLEX

White Hall—This simple, white structure was an empty house when its owners, Matthew and Emma Jackson, loaned it to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) as a “safe place” for meetings, meals, housing, support, and protection. Because of the couple’s association with the Movement, the house was riddled with rifle bullets during an attack by a gang of white men.

The Jackson family’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement demonstrated the power of personal community ties in furthering organizational efforts.

625 Freedom Road, White Hall, AL 36040
(334) 412-2608
Tours by appointment only.

SAFE HOUSE BLACK HISTORY MUSEUM

Greensboro—This small, shotgun-style home was owned by the Burroughs, a family of Civil Rights activists. They opened it up as a refuge for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in March 1968 when an angry mob of Ku Klux Klan members attempted to murder him after a speech. Just two weeks later, Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

Today the house operates as a museum, documenting the struggle for equality at the local level through artifacts, photographs, and living history. Its founder, Ms. Theresa Burroughs, belonged to the original family who shielded Dr. King in 1968.

518 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Greensboro, AL 36744
(334) 624-2030
safehousemuseum.org
Hours: Wednesday 9:30 a.m. till 12:30 p.m.
Other days by appointment.

HISTORIC BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH

Historic Bethel Baptist Church served as headquarters for the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR), which used legal and nonviolent direct action to counter segregation. During that time, the church was pastored by Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, the leader of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement. Bethel Baptist was the key location in Birmingham for the 1961 Freedom Rides and Rev. Shuttlesworth was the designated point of contact.

The church and its parsonage were bombed three times during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, including Christmas Day 1956.

3233 29th Avenue N. Birmingham, AL 35207
(205) 322-5360
bethelcollegeville.org
Tours 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. by appointment.

SIXTEENTH STREET BAPTIST CHURCH

Known as “everybody’s church,” Sixteenth Street (org. in 1873, built in 1911) was a hub for educational and intellectual activities.

During the Civil Rights Movement, the church hosted many mass meetings and trainings in nonviolent civil disobedience. In May 1963, the church was the staging site for Project C, which resulted in hundreds of young, peaceful protestors being jailed following confrontations with police wielding dogs and fire hoses.

On September 15, 1963, members of the Ku Klux Klan planted a bomb that exploded just after Sunday services, killing four young girls and generating international outrage that provided the impetus for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

1530 6th Avenue N., Birmingham, AL 35203
(205) 251-9402
16thstreetbaptist.org/tours
Tours Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. till 2 p.m.;
Saturday by appointment.

ST. PAUL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

St. Paul United Methodist Church was founded in 1869, St. Paul is one of the oldest African-American churches in Birmingham. Its current building was erected in 1904. In 1956, St. Paul was the site of one of the earliest meetings in Birmingham during the direct action campaign to integrate the city’s buses.

During the demonstrations in 1963, St. Paul hosted mass meetings as well as held training sessions in nonviolent civil disobedience for the young demonstrators who participated in the Children’s Crusade marches. Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, a founder along with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, was one of the pastors at St. Paul during the Civil Rights Movement.

1500 6th Avenue N., Birmingham, AL 35203
(205) 252-3236
stpaulbham.org
Tours by appointment only.

THE BALLARD HOUSE

This house was built in the 1940s by African-American contractor Leroy S. Gillard for Dr. Edward H. Ballard, a black pediatrician and obstetrician. After it sold in the 1950s, owners of the Ballard House rented its rooms for business space and lodging, and operated a restaurant frequented by the Birmingham Black Barons.

Dr. Herschell Hamilton Sr. moved his medical practice to Ballard House in 1959. He hosted meetings of Civil Rights organizers and treated victims of the city’s violent response to the nonviolent Birmingham Campaign demonstrations in 1963.

1420 7th Avenue N., Birmingham, AL 35203
(205) 731-2000
ballardhouseproject.org
Tours Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m. till 2 p.m., or by appointment.

OLD SARDIS BAPTIST CHURCH

Old Sardis Baptist Church was organized in 1884 and built between the years 1892-1908. Starting in the late 1940s, its members engaged in civic, social, and economic matters. On June 5, 1956, Rev. Robert L. Alford hosted a meeting led by Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, which formed the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.

Old Sardis Baptist Church is located in the Enon Ridge neighborhood, dubbed “Dynamite Hill” because of the frequency of racially-motivated bombings that occurred as black middle class families moved into previously all-white neighborhoods in the ’60s. Because the church was located on the borderline between the black and white neighborhoods, the church was chosen as the meeting place for strategic planning.

1240 4th Street N., Birmingham, AL 35204
(205) 322-4362
Not open for public tours.

Alabama African American Civil Rights Heritage Sites Consortium | 209 20th St. N. #148, Birmingham, AL 35203 | 205-703-0210 | AAACRHSC.ORG

The AAACRHSC is a nonprofit collaboration between 20 historic sites in Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, and the Black Belt that are working together to preserve the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement—both its monuments and its stories.