History study trips to Alabama

Curriculum Themes


Civil Rights Movement

American Civil War

Post WW11

Events of Bloody Sunday

Montgomery Bus Boycott 1956

Racial Tension

Social and Cultural Development

Martin Luther King Jr

Alabama school trip history

Why Alabama?

Alabama was where the American Civil War began. After the war, Alabama was a poor and economically challenged state which was then exacerbated by WWII, this meant that many men were called up for service. Perhaps what it is most famed for is the events post WWII. Many African-American veterans of Alabama became activists for civil rights; they argued that they served for their country like everybody else and called for desegregation and equal rights. In 1964 after the tireless work of Martin Luther King and his supporters, the Civil Rights act was signed, ending the legal institution of slavery and encouraged industrialisation. The state now has many historical monuments in its various cities, to learn and remember about the history behind it. You can read about why Alabama should be on every historian’s bucket list here.

From Civil War to Civil Rights

From Martin Luther King memorial sites, to Rosa Parks museums, Alabama is home to the majority of the civil right movement’s history. However, it is not just civil rights here, Montgomery was the city where the Civil War began. In one square of this city, slaves were bought and sold once they were brought over from Africa, the telegram was sent to start the Civil War and is where Rosa Parks boarded a bus which became the beginning of a huge movement against segregation. One tour can cover studies spanning over 100 years.

What to do on a history study trip to Alabama?

There are a huge range of activities for students to explore Alabama. Here we have just a few excursions we can include in a bespoke itinerary.

Rosa Parks is famous for her bus boycott of refusing to move from a ‘white person’s’ seat. This museum, which is part of Troy University, is located where Rosa was arrested and commemorates her for her bravery. Experience the energy and emotion of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and watch a recreation of that fateful day on December 1, 1995 when Mrs. Parks was arrested.

Following a guide who was present and ready to march on the original ‘Bloody Sunday’, walk in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr and thousands others across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. Hear about the day itself and the change it brought not just to the city of Selma, but to the world.

The large interpretive museum is a walking journey through Birmingham’s movements in civil rights and its aim is that we learn from the past in a positive way. Starting with a 15-minute video, a wall opens up to a segregated water fountain, showing straight away the differences segregation gave. The white fountain is cooled and filtered, the black is straight from the water supply and old and bashed up. This museum shows differences in education, business, buses and other aspects of life in a phenomenal exhibition.

This poignant and controversial museum explores racial inequality through the ages, including issues that carry on to this day. With interactive screens, video rooms, real life prisoners letters and stories, this museum will give an insightful perspective on contemporary issues.

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EJI’s Legacy Museum: From Slavery to Mass Incarceration will be opening in Montgomery, Alabama, on April 26, 2018.

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The National Memorial provides a sacred space for truth-telling and reflection about racial terrorism and its legacy. The only one of it’s kind in the world, victims of racial lynching are memorialised here. Care and consideration must be taken at this breath taking and sombre site.

An interactive exhibition across from the Capitol where all the historic archives of the state are kept. The exhibition explore American history specific to the state from native American times to modern day, with a huge focus on the Confederative States, slavery, Civil War and Civil Rights. It houses original artefacts and interactive pods, to create a fabulous experience for students.

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Take a tour of the Alabama Voices exhibit at the #MuseumOfAlabama in 15 seconds! #alabamaarchives

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This Church based in Birmingham. Alabama is strongly associated with the first organised movement that happened in 1956; the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. The ACMHR was focused on legal and non-violent protests against segregation in accommodations, on transportation and in education. The Church is now a historic landmark and memorial to Fred Shuttlesworth, an early leader of the movement. His house next to the church was bombed and he miraculously survived and made it his life’s mission to make a change.

The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was bombed by the Klu Klux Klan and 4 your girls were killed. Today the church is a place of hope and acceptance, and a visit on a Sunday could include a gospel service which is a truly lifechanging experience. The Kelly Ingram park opposite memorialises these 4 young girls in a touching statue, but also recognises Martin Luther King, his wife and even Anne Frank, to become a place of peace and co-operation.

Home to the largest Steel Statue in the world and has a fantastic look out point from the top across the entire city. The visitor’s museum shows the history of Vulcan and nearby Sloss Furnaces. Constructed by James Sloss in 1881, this enormous furnace was built along with many railroads. The local area naturally produces the ingredients to make pig iron and steel. It is controversial as they bought convicted African American as slaves, and whilst they gave them work and a place to live, paid them in currency which could only be used in the on site shop. However, his work created an industry for the area and incidentally created Birmingham. Sloss Furnaces can also be visited.

In this National Historic Landmark, see the modest pulpit where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. first preached his message of hope and brotherhood. A tour of the church includes seeing his offices, a small video and sitting in the pews of this historic place. Stand on the front steps where the Capitol can be seen one block away.

In addition, you can also fill your days with the following

  • Top Golf
  • Alabama State Capitol
  • Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
  • Visit to Alabama State University
  • Escape Rooms
  • Bowling

Example Itineraries

Our educational travel experts have spent considerable time crafting a selection of ready-made itineraries for your History Study trip to Alabama, which you will find below. However, we can also create a bespoke and unique itinerary to meet the educational needs of your group.

Day 1 Land in Atlanta. Travel to Birmingham.

Day 2 Tour of Birmingham sites including the Civil Rights Institute, Kelly Ingram Park, Birmingham Jail and 16th Street Baptist Church.

Day 3 Vulcan Visitors centre with local guide Sloss Furnaces

Day 4 Travel to Selma for a tour and cross Edmund Pettus bridge. Travel to Montgomery

Day 5 Guided tour of Montgomery with a footsoldier, including Rosa Parks Museum, Legacy Museum and Peace & Justice Memorial. Transfer back to the UK.

Day 1 Land in Atlanta. Travel to Birmingham

Day 2 Tour of Birmingham sites including the Civil Rights Institute, Kelly Ingram Park, Birmingham Jail and 16th Street Baptist Church.

Day 3 Vulcan Visitors centre with local guide Sloss Furnaces.

Day 4 Travel to Selma for a tour and cross Edmund Pettus bridge. Travel to Montgomery.

Day 5 Guided tour of Montgomery with a footsoldier, including Rosa Parks Museum, Legacy Museum and Peace & Justice Memorial.

Day 6 Dexter Avenue Church & Museum, Alabama Archives, Capitol Building, return to airport

Day 7 Visit the World Trade Centre and stock market.

Day 8 Return to the UK.

Getting there

Flight is the best way to get to Atlanta as there is a direct flight from Heathrow or Manchester with British Airways, Virgin, KLM and Iberia. Once there, a coach will take you to each city in Alabama. The best way to get from Alabama to New York is either by flight or there is also a train.

Hampton Inn & Suites – Montgomery
This hotel is centrally located in the Alley entertainment district and the same block as the Legacy Museum. Buffet breakfast and a gym are included in stays here and are a great base for groups to take part in evening activities.

Holiday Inn- Birmingham
This hotel is only a short journey away from all excursions in the city and has well equipped rooms with ensuites and in room heating/air con. The hotel has free Wi-Fi in all rooms, an indoor pool and complimentary fitness equipment.


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