Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument
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Introduction

The Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument covers 18 acres in the heart of Birmingham, Alabama. The monument was established in 2017 in order to protect and commemorate the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement.

The park is still in development, but visitors are able to visit the major historic sites associated with the monument: The 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park, the A.G. Gaston Motel, Bethel Baptist Church, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is the perfect introduction to the historic sites included in the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument. The museum at the institute offers an interactive overview of Birmingham’s history and role in the Civil Rights Movement. A self-guided tour takes visitors by artifacts like the Freedom Rider bus and the door from the jail in which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote the famous, “Letter From A Birmingham Jail.”

The 16th Street Baptist Church, A.G. Gaston Motel, and Bethel Baptist Church were all sites of bombings by white supremacists. Kelly Ingram Park is the location of the Children’s Crusade protest that took place on May 3, 1963.

RV campers looking to visit Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument can find excellent accommodations about a half hour drive away at Oak Mountain State Park Campground. The campground features 57 sites with full hookups and 27 sites with water and electricity hookups.

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RV Rentals in Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument

Transportation in Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument

Driving

Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument is located in the heart of Birmingham, Alabama.

The park is still in the development phase, but the associated Civil Rights historic sites are accessible by car, bike, walking, and public transportation. Once guests arrive at the monument, all of the historic sites are within walking distance of each other.

Because of its urban setting, all roads within the monument are paved. However, some roads may be easier to navigate by RV or while towing a trailer than others.

Biking is allowed on all roads in the monument. All bicyclists must wear a helmet.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument

Campsites in Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument

Reservations camping

Oak Mountain State Park Campground

RV campers looking to visit Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument can find excellent accommodations about a half hour drive away at Oak Mountain State Park Campground.

The campground features 57 sites with full hookups and 27 sites with water and electricity hookups. Each site includes a picnic table and a fire ring. Guests have access to restrooms and a coin-operated laundry facility. Dogs are allowed on leash.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument

Spring

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is the perfect introduction to the historic sites included in the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument. The museum at the institute offers an interactive overview of Birmingham’s history and role in the Civil Rights Movement. A self-guided tour takes visitors by artifacts like the Freedom Rider bus and the door from the jail in which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote the famous, “Letter From A Birmingham Jail.”

Summer

16th Street Baptist Church

Tours of the 16th Street Baptist Church are available by appointment throughout the year. It was at this location on September 15, 1963, that white supremacists placed a bomb that exploded and killed four young girls. This tragedy is accepted as a major turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. It stands as a symbol of the more than 60 bombings that took place in African American churches, businesses, and homes in the city of Birmingham from 1945-1963.

Kelly Ingram Park

Kelly Ingram Park is a staple of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument. On May 3, 1963, a large group of children gathered in the park to protest segregation and inequality. These children became known as the Children’s Crusade. Birmingham Police arrived and directed fire hoses and dogs at the children, eventually arresting hundreds of those children for protesting. Today, the park honors leaders of the Civil Right movement with statues and a free audio-tour.

Fall

Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and Rickwood Field

Located a short drive from the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument are the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and Rickwood Field. The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame shares the history of African American athletics. It includes memorabilia from famous athletes like Jesse Owens, Hank Aaron, and Joe Louis. More sports history can be found at Rickwood Field, the oldest ballpark still in use in the United States. It hosted famous black baseball players like Willie Mays and Satchel Paige.

Winter

A.G. Gaston Motel

In 1963, the A.G. Gaston Motel operated as the headquarters for the Civil Rights Campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The hotel has been a staple in the African American community since its establishment in 1954. That year, an African American entrepreneur began the motel in response to a lack of accommodations in Birmingham that accepted people of color. The motel was bombed on May 10, 1963, about four months before the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.

Bethel Baptist Church

The Bethel Baptist Church is located a short drive from the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument historic sites. It served as headquarters for the Alabama Christian Movement, and was pastored by Civil Rights leader Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth. The church was bombed three times, but was never closed, which is a symbol of the endurance of the Civil Rights Movement. The building has been restored to its 1960s architecture and is open to the public for tours.

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