By Mia Henry

Local Community Tours


Freedom Lifted proudly supports local communities who document their history by developing their own people’s history tours.  We also work with HistoryPin and the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College to help people digitize the tours they have developed in their communities.  If you have a tour you would like for us to feature here or if you would like for us to help you put your tour online, please contact us.


Take a Self-Guided Civil Rights Tour

Can’t participate in a Freedom Lifted tour yet?  There is a lot you can do on your own.

Lonely Planet has a decent Civil Rights tour map featuring some of the highlights from Atlanta to Memphis.

You can also download our mobile app or check out some of the tours developed by locals.

In addition, here are a few books we recommend you take on your next self guided journey:

On the Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail by Civil Rights Veteran Charles E. Cobb (2007)

cobbThis in-depth look at the civil rights movement goes to the places where pioneers of the movement marched, sat-in at lunch counters, gathered in churches; where they spoke, taught, and organized; where they were arrested, where they lost their lives, and where they triumphed.  Cobb, a former organizer and field secretary for SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) guides us through Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee, back to the real grassroots of the movement.  Go inside the organizations that framed the movement, travel on the “Freedom Rides” of 1961, and hear first-person accounts about the events that inspired Brown vs. Board of Education.  An essential piece of American history, this is also a useful travel guide with maps, photographs, and sidebars of background history, newspaper coverage, and firsthand interviews.

Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail: An Illustrated Guide to the Cradle of Freedom by Frye Gaillard, Jennifer Lindsay, and Jane DeNeefe.  (2010)

FryeThis comprehensive book tells of Alabama’s great civil rights events, as well as its lesser-known moments, in a compact and accessible narrative, paired with a practical guide to Alabama’s preserved civil rights sites and monuments. This book, geared toward the casual traveler and the serious student alike, showcases in a vividly illustrated and compelling manner, valuable and rich details. It provides a user-friendly, graphic tool for the growing number of travelers, students, and civil rights pilgrims who visit the state annually.

Sacred Places: A Guide to the Civil Rights Sites in Atlanta, Georgia by Harry G. Lefever and Michael C. Page. (2008)

sacredThis guide is organized around four walking and driving tours of the important civil rights sites in Atlanta from the 1940s to the present. It also contains historic and current photographs of most of the sites and provides information about how to reach the sites by car or public transportation. Furthermore, the book provides a brief history of the civil rights movement in Atlanta in the 1950s and 1960s, a chronology of the important civil rights events in Atlanta from 1957 to 1968, and a bibliography of books and articles published about civil rights events in Atlanta during the 1950s and 1960s.

A Traveler’s Guide to the Civil Rights Movement by Jim Carrier (2004)

carrierPart guidebook, part civil rights primer, A Traveler’s Guide to the Civil Rights Movement this guide provides suggested state and city tours of these historic places and offers thoughtful commentary on the importance of each landmark, giving us a unique lens through which to view one of America’s most important social movements.  Includes suggested state and city tours in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Civil Rights in America:  A Framework for Identifying Significant Sites by The Department of the Interior (2014)

npsThis is a guide to all of the sites recognized by the National Park Service (NPS).  Many of these sites feature NPS interpretation centers.


Underground Railroad Resources Bibliography

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Bibliography

#KnowYourHistory Before You Travel

You’ll learn a lot on a Freedom Lifted tour while engaging with veterans and current movement activists. To help you get in the mood to travel with purpose, here are some useful sites to help you prepare.

Useful Websites

Remember, you can always contact us to create a custom tour based on your interests.

Civil Rights Resources For Educators

Teachers! Want to continue the lessons for your students after a tour? Check out these resources:

The Education for Liberation Network features an extensive database of curricula and materials for teachers with a social justice framework.  The network also annually publishes an informative and useful lesson plan book for social justice teachers.

Putting the Movement Back into the Civil Rights Teaching is a fantastic curriculum published by Teaching for Change and Poverty and Race Research Action Council.  This comprehensive resource bases lessons on the powerful stories of everyday people organizing and working together for social change.

Teaching for Change also coordinates, along with Rethinking Schools, the Zinn Education Project.  This project promotes and supports the use of Howard Zinn’s best-selling book A People’s History of the United States and other materials for teaching a people’s history in middle and high school classrooms across the country.  The website offers more than 100 free, downloadable lessons and articles.

Ashay by the Bay Books has a large, impressive, independent selection of African American and multicultural children’s books, including many that connect to the Civil Rights era.

Teaching Tolerance is place for educators to find thought-provoking news, conversation and support for those who care about diversity, equal opportunity and respect for differences in schools.  They offer several free teaching kits that explore civil rights history.

Facing History and Ourselves links moral lessons to history and publishes an impressive curriculum about the Little Rock Nine called “Choices in Little Rock”.

For in-depth history, profiles, stories, digital resources, and secondary resources about the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), check out One Person, One Vote:  The Legacy of SNCC and the Fight for Voting Rights.

Want to take high school students on a tour?  Check out Sojourn to the Past.

(Note:  Freedom Lifted, LLC, specializes in tours for educators, families and inter-generational groups.)

How to Raise Funds for a Freedom Lifted Trip

Don’t let lack of funds stop you from a trip of a lifetime!  Check out these resources for raising money for your tour fee.

Create a GoFundMe page and ask your friends and family to help you go on one of our unique educational tours to places like Alabama and Mississippi.  You will be surprised how happy they will be to help you learn more about this important history. You can also set up a page through Fundly or Indiegogo.

Teachers! You can apply for grants up to $5,000 from the Fund for Teachers. These grants encourage educators to design their own unique fellowships that support their efforts to develop skills, knowledge and confidence that impact student achievement. A Civil Rights tour is professional development for humanities teachers at its best!

Freedom Lifted is based in Chicago and many of our open registration tours begin in the Windy City. Chicago teachers can apply for professional development grants through the Chicago Foundation for Education.