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Trip Trail Details

Civil Rights Trail

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Unfortunately, these historic words written July 4, 1776 haven’t always been true for some people who have had to toil throughout history to make this country a better place to live.  Monuments to these struggles by African Americans, those interred in Japanese relocation camps, farmers fighting for better business practices, and the Native Americans who made the forced Trail of Tears march, make thought-provoking destinations, several of which can be found in The Natural State.

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  1. Testament: Little Rock Nine Memorial

    Little Rock
    Pays homage to the Little Rock Nine who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. These nine African American students – Melba Pattillo, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Gloria Ray, Carlotta Walls, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas, Minnijean Brown and Thelma Mothershed -- are now immortalized in a striking memorial located on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock. A comment from each of The Nine is found on individual bronze plaques identifying which student is which.
  2. Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site Visitor Center

    Little Rock
    The center opened Sept. 24, 2007 coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the 1957 desegregation crisis. Features 3,000-square-feet of permanent exhibits covering the 1957 events that took place at Central High School and its role in the greater civil rights movements in the U.S.; audio/visual and interactive programs; bookstore. The former visitor center, a restored Mobil Service Station, is now used for special programs.
  3. Scott Joplin Mural

    Texarkana
    A large mural depicts the life and accomplishments of native son and Pulitzer Prize winning composer Scott Joplin, "The Father of Ragtime Music." While attending the Orr School in Texarkana, Joplin formulated many of his most successful ideas and compositions. He became famous for "The Entertainer," written in 1902, which was introduced to a whole new generation when used in the 1973 movie “The Sting.” His sophisticated piano compositions have only recently begun to be fully appreciated, and as a result, many revivals of his works have been staged and recorded.
  4. Southern Tenant Farmers Museum

    Tyronza
    The historic Mitchell-East Building and adjacent former bank include photographs, oral history, and artifacts focusing on the farm labor movement in the South and the tenant farming system of agriculture. During the early 1930s, the building housed the businesses of H. L. Mitchell and Clay East, two of the principal founders of the Southern Tenant Farmers' Union. This national union established July 13, 1934, in Tyronza by 11 whites and seven blacks conducted much of its business at the Mitchell-East Building. The organization, which included women and blacks in leadership positions alongside white males, is regarded as a forerunner of the 1960s civil rights movement. Home of the Tyronza seasonal Farmers Market.
  5. Centennial Baptist Church

    Helena-West Helena
    The only known Arkansas example of an African-American church designed by an African-American architect, now a National Historic Landmark (NHL). The church is a one-story brick structure built in 1905 from a Gothic Revival design by African-American architect Henry James Price. "Centennial Baptist Church is nationally significant through its association with Dr. Elias Camp Morris, who served as pastor from 1879 until his death in 1922,” the National Historic Landmark nomination says. “The period of his life from 1882 to 1922 was his most productive period with respect to his efforts on the national level to further the religious, political and societal achievements of African Americans. Morris’ national significance comes from his leadership of the National Baptist Convention, the largest African-American organization in the United States at the end of the 19th century.”
  6. Delta Cultural Center

    Helena-West Helena
    Exhibits interpret the natural and human history of Arkansas’s Delta region. Included are interactive audio and video exhibits chronicling the rise of Delta blues and gospel music; traveling and permanent music exhibits are in the Visitors Center at 141 Cherry St. Permanent history exhibits -- The Civil War in the Arkansas Delta and A Heritage of Determination -- are in the Depot at 95 Missouri St. The legendary King Biscuit Time radio show is broadcast live from the center daily. Helena witnessed the forced migration of thousands of Cherokee along the "water route" to Indian Territory during the summer of 1838.
  7. L.C. & Daisy Bates Home National Historic Landmark

    Little Rock
    Home of L.C. and Daisy Bates which served as a haven to the Little Rock Nine during the 1957 desegregation crisis. A National Historic Landmark, the home is being restored as a museum. E-mail or telephone to schedule a tour.
  8. Arkansas State Capitol

    Little Rock
    Constructed between 1899 and 1911, this Neoclassical building has provided a century of service since the legislature first met in the unfinished structure in 1911; features Arkansas granite, plus six bronze doors and three chandeliers crafted by Tiffany’s of New York. Guided or audio tours available. Fifty-one varieties of roses are found in the Capitol’s test gardens.
  9. Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

    Little Rock
    The Mosaic Templars of America organization was founded in Little Rock in 1882 as a fraternal organization by John E. Bush and Chester W. Keatts. The reconstructed museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting and celebrating Arkansas's African American culture and community from 1870 to present. It also informs and educates the public about Black achievement -- especially in business, politics and the arts. The third floor auditorium will be host to performing arts productions, conferences and public symposiums. The center has more than 8,000-square-feet of interactive exhibit and education space.
  10. Plantation Agriculture Museum State Park

    Scott
    Interprets cotton agriculture in Arkansas from statehood in 1836 through World War II, when agricultural practices quickly became mechanized; Museum depicts how cotton was grown, picked and processed; Restored 1920s gin shows the ginning and bailing process, including full-sized mules and wagon on the scales; Seed Warehouse #5 and new exhibits tell the story of the Robert L. Dortch's seed business.
  11. Old State House Museum

    Little Rock
    Built in 1836, the Old State House was the state's original capitol until 1911 and served as the seat of both the Confederate and Unionists governments in Arkansas during the Civil War. It was also the site of the 1861 secession convention. Union General Frederick Steele quartered his army here during the occupation. A memorial to young Confederate spy David O. Dodd stands on the grounds. It is now a museum of Arkansas history featuring permanent and changing exhibits and restored legislative chambers. Exhibits include First Ladies' Gowns, African-American Quilts, Civil War Battle Flags and Arkansas Art Pottery
  12. EMOBA (The Museum of Black Arkansans)

    Little Rock
    The Museum of Black Arkansans and Performing Arts has exhibits on prominent Black Arkansans and the African-American experience. Tours available by reservation; gift shop; call for hours of operation; special events scheduled throughout the year including the Haunted Cathedral in October.
  13. Historic Arkansas Museum

    Little Rock
    Territorial Arkansas is preserved in this acclaimed restoration of 19th-century Little Rock homes including the city’s oldest building, the 1827 Hinderliter Tavern. Meet characters from the past or see pioneer demonstrations on the historic grounds. One of the country's best Bowie Knife collections, children's gallery, contemporary art gallery; Arkansas crafts store; seasonal special events. Arkansas Made Gallery showcases works made in Arkansas.
  14. MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History

    Little Rock
    Located in the historic tower building of the Old Arsenal, a National Historic Landmark. Birthplace of General Douglas MacArthur in 1880, the building now houses a museum of Arkansas's military heritage from Territorial days to present. World War Ii exhibits includes the Allison Collection, over 400 original photos, and the Jeep during the war. An Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Historical Marker is located on the museum grounds. Civil War exhibits include the Camden Campaign and David O. Dodd, boy martyr of the Confederacy.
  15. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum

    Little Rock
    The first LEED certified building in Arkansas; an interactive museum, including an authentic replica of the Oval Office and Cabinet Room, the Presidential Library and Archives, adaptive reuse of historic Choctaw Station, built in 1899, as home of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. Contains the largest collection of presidential papers and artifacts in U.S. history; Forty-Two, the on-site restaurant gets its name from Clinton's place in line of U.S. Presidents. GROUPS: Over 10,000-square-feet of event space for private dinners, after-hours cocktail receptions, educational lectures, weddings, wedding reception.
  16. King Biscuit Time

    Helena-West Helena
    The longest-running daily radio show in the United States, the legendary program is hosted by Blues Hall of Fame member “Sunshine” Sonny Payne. The first show aired on Nov. 21, 1941, and featured Sonny Boy Williamson and Robert Lockwood, Jr. The name came from the show’s sponsor, King Biscuit flour. Payne became full-time host in 1951 and continues to broadcast live from the Delta Cultural Center weekdays at 12:15. The Peabody Award-winning program has a worldwide audience via the Web. Visitors are welcomed to sit in and watch the live broadcasts.
  17. Bethel AME Church

    Batesville
    The Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church is the oldest church structure in town which housed the first black congregation in Batesville; constructed with locally quarried stone, it dates to 1881-1882; listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  18. Alfonso Trent House

    Fort Smith
    The Alfonso Trent House was the childhood home of the famed black jazz musician in the 1920s and ‘30s. His band was among the first permitted to use front entrances to clubs and restaurants instead of the customary service entrance. (Private site-exterior viewing only).
  19. World War II Japanese American Internment Museum

    McGehee
    After entering World War II, Pres. Franklin Roosevelt created the War Relocation Authority, resulting in 10 incarceration sites for Japanese-Americans for national security. Rohwer and Jerome (Drew County), established in March 1942, were the WRA’s easternmost camps. The two would eventually house over 17,000 people. Rohwer, northeast of McGehee, opened Sept. 18, 1942, closed Nov. 30, 1945, was one of the last to cease operation. Remains include several commemorative markers and small cemetery. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places; a National Historic Landmark. Permanent home of “Against Their Will,” an exhibit about those interned at Jerome and Rohwer; located inside the McGehee Depot. Actor George Takei (Star Trek) lived at Rohwer as a small child.
  20. Rohwer Relocation Center National Historic Landmark

    Rohwer
    Site of a Japanese-American Relocation Center from 1941-1945; Japanese-American citizens from California were interned here; markers highlighted with narrative by actor George Takei, of Star Trek fame, who lived there as a child; cemetery highlighted by two monuments; smokestack from original laundry; listed on the National Register of Historic Places; a National Historic Landmark
  21. Jerome Relocation Center Historic Marker

    Jerome
    Granite marker commemorates site of a World War II relocation center for Japanese-Americans; a white fence, some foundations from some of the administration buildings and the one of the hospital laundry smokestacks are all that remain of a facility that houses 8,497 at its zenith. After closing, it was used as a German POW camp until the end of the war in Europe.
  22. Lake Dardanelle State Park

    Russellville
    Two park locations on 34,000-acre lake: Russellville (main park) and Dardanelle. Bass fishing, boat ramps, hiking trails, lake tours, pavilion, visitor center with interactive exhibits, campground, marina, miniature golf. The park is an NPS-certified site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. The Western Cherokee settled near here in the late 1700s, and established towns, plantations, and the Dwight Mission School. Almost 50 years later, the Trail of Tears brought all five tribes through here by water or land. This is one of the few locations where stories of all five tribes can be told. Trail of Tears exhibit in visitor center.
  23. North Shore Riverwalk

    North Little Rock
    Located on the north side of the Arkansas River, this park offers picturesque views, lighted walkways and a jogging/fitness trail. North River Landing off I-30 near the Broadway exit is a large boat launching ramp. Part of the Arkansas River Trail; connects to the Junction Bridge Pedestrian & Bicycling Bridge. Seven interpretive panels commemorating the Cherokee Trail of Tears and similar forced migrations by the other Four Civilized Tribes are located along the path. The site is located in the immediate vicinity of a large number of (north-south) land migration routes and (east-west) water migration routes for the Cherokee and other southeastern tribes during the 1830s and 1840s.
  24. Blue Spring Heritage Center & Gardens

    Eureka Springs
    Historic Blue Spring, which was a stop on the Trail of Tears, pours 38 million gallons of water each day into its trout-stocked, vivid blue lagoon. View the historic film, stroll the garden paths and visit the bluff shelter on the National Register. The new gardens demonstrate crops, plants, flowers and healing herbs at home in the Ozarks.
  25. Sequoyah National Research Center

    Little Rock
    Located on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock campus, the center is the largest assemblage of Native American expression in the world. Searchable, on-line archives and library catalogs; mission of the program is to acquire and preserve the writings and ideas of Native North Americans. Open to the public Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Trail of Tears Park is 4.5 acres planted with native trees, grasses, and other species that travelers along the trail might have seen and experienced.
  26. Village Creek State Park

    Wynne
    Ten fully equipped cabins; championship golf course; pavilions, playgrounds, baseball and multi-use fields, driving range; visitor center, bicycle rental; hiking and horseback riding trails, tennis; boat dock and ramp, fishing and pedal boats; swim beach, interpretive center, meeting facility. Lakes Austell and Dunn stocked with bass, bream, crappie and channel catfish. Leashed pets only. Horse camp with campsites and horse stalls, horse wash bays. A section of Bell's route of the Trail of Tears, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, runs through the park.. This segment of the old Memphis-to-Little Rock road is cut deep into the Crowley's Ridge soil, and has been touted as the most dramatic remaining section of the Indian removal route.
  27. UAFS Drennen-Scott Historic Site Museum

    Van Buren
    Overlooking the Arkansas River, the commanding 1838 Drennen-Scott House Museum, initially the home of the Revolutionary War descendant, John Drennen and his family, is now open to visitors after a $5.5 million restoration and addition of a visitor center. It includes many of the home's original furnishings including a 1764 grandfather clock. It serves as a working laboratory for UA at Fort Smith students as they recreate the century-and-a-half-old home linked to The Trail of Tears, the Underground railroad and the Civil War.
  28. Mount Olive United Methodist Church

    Van Buren
    Constructed by emancipated slaves in 1889, this church is said to consist of the oldest Black congregation of the UMC system west of the Mississippi; driving tour only. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places