It’s easy to visit most historic sites on your own, but there are reasons to take a guided civil rights tour of the South. On a practical level, it lets someone else worry about the driving and choose the restaurants, and more importantly, the trips are often guided by extraordinary experts to help put the history and sites into perspective.
It’s quite easy to customize an educational civil rights tour of the South for a family, class, community organization or church. Generally you’ll need a minimum of 15 to book a custom tour. Throughout the year, many groups and colleges and alumni associations also offer trips to significant sites, usually on multi-day bus tours. Most are open to everyone.
For example, travelers to Washington, D.C., have a unique opportunity to learn about Martin Luther King from his oldest son
Book a specialty civil rights tour of the South
In addition, the following group tours are open to everyone:
- Trafalgar Tours offers a new comprehensive nine-day Journey Along the Civil Rights Trail tour taking travelers from Memphis to Atlanta. It covers most the important spots we recommend on a Deep South tour, including Emmet Till sites on the Mississippi Civil Rights Trail. Tours start at $2,750.
- Road Scholar offers an eight-day Heart of the Civil Rights Movement tour visiting Atlanta, Montgomery and Birmingham, starting at $2,449.
- Odysseys Unlimited, a small-group travel company (no more than 24 travelers), offers a 12 day tour from Atlanta, to Montgomery, Selma and Birmingham, and ending in Memphis, from $3,895, land only.
- The Nation magazine plans to offer an extensive week long trip Oct. 1-8, 2023, through Jackson, Mississippi; Memphis; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery, Alabama. The trip starts at $4,860. Watch an excerpt of a trip below:
- San Francisco’s famed Commonwealth Club offers a nine-day trip from Jackson to Montgomery Oct. 8-15, 2023, starting at $4,995.
- The University of Virginia and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center offers a stirring seven-day trip focusing on the African American struggle for citizenship. It runs from June 26 to July 2, 2023.
- Minnesota’s St. Olaf College is offering a detailed 10-day tour led by a religion professor and an attorney, from Oct. 3–12, 2023, spending several days in Jackson, starting from $6.450.
- If you don’t mind driving yourself, UK based Trailfinders offers a 12-day Civil Rights & the Soulful South self-drive tour from Atlanta through Alabama to New Orleans. The £1,384 per-person price includes rental car, hotels and museum admissions. Airfare, and car rental drop-off fee not included.
- Another UK based company, Bon Voyage, offers a similar trip for £1995, including flights from Britain.
- NxStep Educational and Activity Tours offers a hybrid tour for college-bound students, visiting eight Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and several civil rights sites.
- Mars Tours & Travel will customize its “Passage to Peace” tour, reaching from Memphis to Atlanta.
- Civil Rights Trail Tours offers several trips in the Deep South, including some with a music focus, and others blending visits to HBCUs with civil rights sites. It’s run by Leo Burnette, who has been leading tours in the region for decades. Group tours start at $1,699 per person.
- Sojourn to the Past, a California-based non-profit, has been giving tours since 1999 and has developed deep connections in the Deep South. The tours hit all the major civil rights sites from Georgia to Arkansas, and adds in some surprises too. While most programs are designed for students, it does offer trips that can include families.
- One of the best is Freedom Lifted, which curates Civil Rights trips that connect the history to contemporary issues. This specializes in customizing experiences for students in grades 8 – 12. They can also help you design your own group tour and offer online learning opportunities.
School trip planners
- Educational Travel Adventures and Explorica by WorldStrides have set tours for school groups, while Hemisphere Educational Travel, Concept Tours, and Brightspark Travel can organize trips for your group.
- Classrooms without Borders offers an eight-day tour leaving from Pittsburgh for adults and educators from June 10-17, 2023. Pricing is $2,250 for adults, and a bargain $500 for educators who receive a scholarship.
- Appleseed Exhibitions offers a four-day Alabama tour.
- UK-based Rayburn Tours will customize tours for British groups.
Note: If you book travel or purchase a product through one of our affiliate links, we may receive a fee or commission.