Photo Credit: Courtesy of Deborah Douglas
This Woman Created A Travel Guide To The People & Places Of The Civil Rights Movement
There’s a new traveler’s guide that will take you through the significant places, people, and events in one of America’s most momentous eras: the Civil Rights Movement.
Awarding-winning journalist and author Deborah Douglas takes readers through an eye-opening journey in her book Moon U.S. Civil Rights Trail: A Traveler’s Guide to the People, Places, and Events that Made the Movement.
“I was inspired by the official Civil Rights Trail based on [some] research from the University of Georgia,” said Douglas. “This is the first book to follow the officially designated Civil Rights Trail in the south.”
The book serves as a functional tour guidebook and narrative through historical sites and cultural experiences that help readers understand the movement’s impact on shifting America. It highlights cities and sites throughout the South that played an important role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th century.
In an interview with Travel Noire, Douglas discusses more about her book.
Travel Noire: What were some of the most suprising things you witnessed on your trip journey through the south?
Douglas: I went to several cities that have cultural institutions, faces, and places that are marked and curated to help narrate the story of the Civil Rights Trail.
In terms of what was surprising, in almost every state I went to, there’s a museum that offers context to the movement and to the African American experience. I was happy to see that our stories were being curated and respected to that degree. The idea that you could actually go and stand in a place where history happened is truly amazing.
It’s easy to step into these places and really not regard them with the level of respect that you should, but when you’re armed with information, you really get a better sense of how special our communities and our spaces in places are.
Travel Noire: Can you explain more about the importance of your book?
Douglas: When I first started planning the book, it started as a travel guide. But the more I got into it, I realized it was really necessary to understand the specifics of movement activity and activism in each of the cities and regions I traveled.
This is a history book and a civics guide because it allows readers to understand how people organize and strategize a movement. You understand how democracy works and where you can apply pressure to affect change and transformation.
I also view my book as a roadmap. A lot of the issues that we were tackling back then have implications for issues that we’re wrestling with today. One example is the quest for a living wage, which is why Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was in Memphis talking about universal basic income.
I give a timeline of the Civil Rights Movement and then the aftermath of it all the way through 2020. I have resources in the back of the book, so that you can engage with the issues.
There’s also a guide for enjoying the Southern experience and the Black experience. There’s a “Black List” with Black-owned businesses, restaurants and places to shop because I believe in ethical travel.
If you can leave a community better off than when you came, then you should. One way you can do that is to turn your dollar over in the Black community.
About Deborah Douglas
Douglas is the Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism at DePauw University and a senior leader with The OpEd Project (OEP). Her work with OEP involves leading fellowships and programs with institutions, grassroots organizations and thinktanks that include: University of Texas at Austin, Dartmouth College, Columbia University, Yale University, Northwestern University, Urgent Action Fund in South Africa and Kenya, and Youth Narrating Our World (YNOW).
While teaching at her alma mater, Northwestern’s Medill School, she created a graduate investigative journalism capstone on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and taught best reporting and writing practices in Karachi, Pakistan.
To get your copy of this amazing guide and resource, click here.