The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail remembers and celebrates the Civil Rights march from Selma to the steps of the Alabama Capitol Building to demand voting rights. The Civil Rights Movement experienced fierce opposition in Selma, so the Civil Rights Movement concentrated their efforts there. After a member of the movement was killed by police, Civil Rights leaders called for a march from Selma to Montgomery. Once the march crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge out of Selma, marchers were attacked and beaten back by police. Footage of the violence produced a national outcry. Marchers were able to complete the journey from Selma to Montgomery after they were given protection for the march. These efforts helped in the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which ensured that all Americans were able to exercise their right to vote.
The National Historic Trail preserves several different sites along the route between Selma and Montgomery. There is a small visitor center in Selma where you can find maps that can take you to the many different significant sites in the town, including the churches that served as meeting places for the Civil Rights Movement, the sites where some of the Civil Rights members were killed, and the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where the first march ended in such violence.
Along the route to Montgomery, there are four campsites that visitors can stop at to see where the marchers spent the night on the way to Montgomery. In addition, there is an interpretive center that serves as a museum for the trail. There is an informative and moving film that explains all the events leading up to and during the march in succinct fashion. The museum goes into more depth than the video and includes some memorabilia and displays from the period. We highly recommend visiting the interpretive center as it adds to your understanding of the sites along the trail. The trail ends in Montgomery, where visitors can stop at the Alabama State Capitol to see where the marchers ended their own trail from Selma.
The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail is a moving National Park site that enables visitors to have a much better understanding of what happened during the Civil Rights Movement. We encourage all Americans to visit the trail.