TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa’s Civil Rights Trail is officially open.
This project was a three-year venture in the making and now folks can personally experience the powerful trip down memory lane through the eyes of many civil rights foot soldiers.
The trail highlights a series of historic struggles for human dignity and citizenship in 18 locations throughout downtown. The trail includes stops that call attention to stories of enslaved people, Native Americans exiled from their homelands, and racial violence such as First African Baptist Church and the old jail.
However, some of the sites also showcase cultural achievement such as the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center and the Paul R. Jones Art Gallery. "We want to be a model for the nation. We want other cities to know you can come together after years of suffering, after years of disenfranchisement, after years of segregation. We want the rest of the world to know if you try, you can come together,” guest speaker Thaddeus Steele said.
The next phases of the project will expand the trail to Stillman College and the University of Alabama. The civil rights task force who started this journey hopes the trail will not only educate people about Tuscaloosa’s history, but create a more accepting, tolerant community. They spearheaded Tuscaloosa race reconciliation efforts, that organized and split up about 60 people into four different reconciliation groups, that met monthly. Members created local projects to educate people living in Tuscaloosa about the city’s racial history. The goal is to foster sustainable and positive changes, that they hope will eventually create a more unified city.