Fort Pulaski National Monument, Georgia

Fort Pulaski guarded the barrier islands off the Georgia coast and the entrance to Savannah harbor at the beginning of the Civil War. In April of 1862, Union troops attacked the fort and successfully employed experimental rifled cannon to breach the fort’s southeast angle and force its surrender. The fall of Fort Pulaski halted export of cotton from Savannah. After the taking of Fort Pulaski, Union Major General David Hunter, an ardent abolitionist, ordered the release of area slaves and recruited many of them into the Union army as the First South Carolina Colored Regiment. The park includes 5,623 acres of scenic marsh and uplands that support a variety of animal life, including white-tailed deer, alligators, and raccoons and migratory birds.

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Levi Coffin House National Historic Landmark

The Underground Railroad is described by many historians as the most dramatic protest action against slavery in United States history. It was a loosely organized network of aid and escape routes provided by ordinary people to assist escaped slaves on their journeys to freedom. Beginning in the colonial period and continuing through the Civil War years, its participants included abolitionists, enslaved African-Americans, Native Americans and members of religious groups including Methodists, Baptists and Quakers. Indiana lauds two Quaker participants, Levi and Catharine Coffin, for their distinguished 20-year service on the railroad. Between 1826 and 1846, the Levis provided a freedom stop on the Underground Railroad. During those years, Fountain City was a predominantly Quaker community. It was a known refuge because many of its citizens shared anti-slavery sentiments, and it occupied a strategic location near the Ohio River crossings used by many escaped slaves. The Levis opened their home and offered a temporary respite, food, and encouragement to the escapees on their arduous journey. They are credited with assisting more than two thousand escapees reach freedom during the 20 years they lived in Fountain City. The Coffins’ 1839 National Historic Landmark home is open to visitors.

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White Hall State Historic Site

White Hall State Historic Site preserves the home of Cassius Marcellus Clay, antislavery activist, politician, publisher, minister to Russia, and friend of Abraham Lincoln. The surviving home is really a “house within a house.” The “old building,” the Georgian-style Clermont, was built by Cassius Clay’s father in 1798-1799. Cassius Clay himself built the “new building,” White Hall, above and around Clermont in the 1860s. Clay was a very common type of antislavery man in the pre-Civil War period: as much anti-black as antislavery, he sought not only gradual emancipation of slaves in Kentucky but the removal of slaves and former slaves to make Kentucky a pure white man’s democracy.

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Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

From 1877 to 1895, Frederick Douglass maintained a home in Anacostia, a neighborhood in the southeastern part of the District of Columbia. After escaping from slavery on the eastern shore of Maryland, Douglass had spent most of his career as an abolitionist in Rochester, where he published the famous periodical, North Star. Douglass moved to Washington, DC to publish New National Era, a periodical intended to serve as the voice of African Americans in the post-emancipation period. The project failed, however. Nevertheless, Douglass stayed in Washington, except for a period as U.S. minister to Haiti in 1889. He served in the Council of Government for the District of Columbia, and later as United States Marshal for the District. In 1877 he purchased the home, which he called Cedar Hill, and which is now the location of the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site.

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Central High School National Historic Site

Three years after the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision officially ended public-school segregation, a federal court ordered the Little Rock school system to desegregate. Governor Orval Faubus defied the court and called out the Arkansas National Guard to prevent nine African American students (who became known as “The Little Rock Nine”) from entering the building. When white mobs threatened the students and Faubus failed to restore order, President Eisenhower dispatched federal troops to Little Rock and placed the Arkansas National Guard under federal command. Despite continued resistance by Faubus over a two-year period, Central High School was eventually integrated.

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Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a museum on the civil rights movement, from the era of segregation to the birth of the movement and the worldwide struggle for civil and human rights. The exhibits are organized into several galleries. The Barriers Gallery, designed to display everyday life for blacks in Birmingham during the post-war era of segregation, includes exhibits such as white and colored drinking fountains, and the Carver Theatre, a part of Birmingham’s African American district where blacks could see movies without being required to sit in the balcony. The Movement Gallery has displays on the turbulent times from 1955 to 1965, when the Rev. Martin Luther King was most active in Alabama. The Milestones Gallery consists of fifteen burnished steel obelisks that detail dates of significant events from the civil rights movement, including the election of the first blacks to the Alabama Legislature, the Alabama Supreme Court, the U. S. Senate, the Birmingham City Council, and the Birmingham’s office of the Mayor. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is also a center for education and discussion about civil and human rights issues. The Institute’s projects and services promote research, provide information, and encourage discussion on human rights in America and around the world.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site preserves the boyhood home of the great civil rights leader. The home is in the residential section of “Sweet Auburn,” the center of black Atlanta, two blocks west of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King’s grandfather and father served as pastors. Martin Luther King’s contributions do not need to be recounted here. Let us just say that he, at long last, healed the nation’s (self-inflicted) wounds and gave the country a new standard of citizenship: “Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man but to win his friendship and understanding.”

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