(BPT) - While Arkansas is known for its scenic beauty, it is also home to numerous historical sites considered vital in the fight for African-Americans' civil rights.
Six historical landmarks in Little Rock are included on the new U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which debuted in 2018. The national trail spans 14 states and includes over 100 historic churches, schools, museums, memorial sites and more from the Civil Rights era in the 1950s and 1960s - all of which played a pivotal role in shaping our nation.
Arkansas is a great place to begin one's journey along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. The six sites in Little Rock are all within a few blocks of one another and tell the story of Arkansas' civil rights history:
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and Visitor Center - Little Rock Central High School is the only functioning U.S. high school located within a national historic site. It is designated a Top 10 destination along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. The Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and Visitor Center is located across the street from the school. It opened in 2007 to mark the 50th anniversary of the school's desegregation. Inside the center, one will see historic clips, interactive displays and interviews with the Little Rock Nine, the group of students who dared to integrate the formerly all-white Little Rock Central High.
Little Rock Nine Memorial - The Little Rock Nine Memorial pays homage to each member of the Little Rock Nine. The life-size statues are located on the north grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol and each individual is identified on bronze plaques.
Daisy Bates House - A National Historic Landmark, the Daisy Bates House at 1207 W. 28th St. was the home of Arkansas NAACP President Daisy Bates and became the virtual headquarters for those engaged in bringing about the racial integration of Little Rock Central High School. Over the years, the historic site was host to many notables, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Justice Wiley Branton, Federal Agent Ozell Sutton, and actors Ossie Davis and wife, Ruby Dee. The site now serves as the L.C. & Daisy Bates Museum Foundation Inc.
Mosaic Templars Cultural Center - Established in 2001, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center was founded in Little Rock in 1882 as a fraternal organization. The reconstructed museum, which is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting and celebrating Arkansas' African-American culture and community, is a must-see stop along the Civil Rights Trail.
Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail - The Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail begins on the sidewalk outside the Old State House in downtown Little Rock and extends along the banks of the Arkansas River down West Markham Street and President Clinton Boulevard to the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum. The trail was created by the Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity to acknowledge the sacrifices and achievements made by those who fought for racial and ethnic justice in Arkansas.
Clinton Presidential Center - The 30-acre Clinton Presidential Center is home of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum and the Clinton School of Public Service. The museum houses a permanent exhibit dedicated to the Little Rock Nine, which includes an interactive display regarding the 40th anniversary commemoration of the Central High crisis. Prior to serving as the 42nd president of the United States, Bill Clinton served five terms as the Governor of Arkansas.
Check out these historical Arkansas landmarks included on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail and more by visiting Arkansas.com.