Tuscaloosa is not unlike other southern towns that felt the weight of the Civil Rights Movement. The Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Trail encompasses 18 sites from around the city. Even though the trail tells an incredible story in all the sites, here are the 10 spots you can’t miss!
1. The Mob at the Flagpole: Located at the corner of Greensboro and University, this flag pole has always been a place for gatherings. In 1956 when Autherine Lucy attempted to be the first black student at the University of Alabama, students met here to stage protests. Two days after the thousand students protested, the Alabama trustees expelled Lucy because they said they couldn’t protect her. She was snuck off campus amid death treats and the mob won.
2. Woolworth Sit-Ins: popularized in North Carolina in the 1960s, the sit-ins in Tuscaloosa were only done after the protesters tried to get the local businesses to treat African-Americans the same as the white customers. The peaceful protests were often met with arrest, violence, and the dousing of mustard oil on them
3. Kress Building and Bus Boycott: the Druid Bus Company had a stand in front of the Kress Building in Tuscaloosa. Even though federal courts had ruled segregation on public transportation as unconstitutional, a driver forced three African-American students to give up their seats for white riders. The students were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. The harassment didn’t stop with this incident as a white driver was also charged with shooting an unarmed African-American rider.
4. Alston Building and the KKK: this 7 story building is located at the corner of Greensboro Avenue and 6th Street. Former Alabama governors George and Lurleen Wallace were married here. During the 1960s, Robert Shelton, Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, called the building home and directed operations all over the southeast. After Michael Donald was lynched in Mobile, his mother sued the KKK, winning and bankrupting the organization.
5. County Courthouse and Marchers: In 1955, when the courthouse was built, the black community asked for and received assurances that the building would be completely
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