Friday, January 2, 2015

Travel Destinations for Human Rights

by Jonathan Todres

 As people return to work after the year-end holidays, thoughts often quickly turn to planning the next trip.  Whether you are vacationing with family or traveling for work in 2015, here are a few options to imbue your next trip with the spirit of human rights:

Atlanta, GACenter for Civil and Human Rights. Opened in 2014, it explores both civil rights history and current human rights issues.  Another excellent option while in Atlanta is the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site.

Greensboro, NCInternational Civil Rights Center and Museum. This year marks the 55th anniversary of the Greensboro sit-in campaign, a critical step in the Civil Rights Movement. The Museum honors that history and the struggle for equal rights.

Los Angeles, CAThe Museum of Tolerance.  Part of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, it explores the Holocaust’s historical and contemporary meanings. For example, a current exhibition (Para Todos Los Niños - Fighting Segregation in California) portrays the history of segregation in California that targeted all non-White citizens, in housing, employment, and education.

Memphis, TN: The National Civil Rights Museum.  Located at the former Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, it explores a breadth of themes, from early resistance to slavery dating back to the 17th century, through the Civil Rights Movement, to present day human rights issues. It underwent a major renovation in 2013 and 2014.

 St. Louis, MOThe Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis, walking distance from the Arch, is the site of the Dred Scot case that ultimately resulted in one of the U.S. Supreme Court’s most notorious decisions. The Old Courthouse now houses a fascinating exhibit on Dred Scot, the individual and the case.

Selma, ALThe Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” the march from Selma to Montgomery, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.  This year’s events will take place March 5-9, 2015, and include a re-enactment of the crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Sunday, March 8.  Selma is also home to the National Voting Rights Museum & Institute.

Seneca Falls, NYWomen's Rights National Historical Park. The site of the first Women’s Rights Convention, held July 19-20, 1848, the center tells that story and the story of the movement for women’s rights.

Washington, DC: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  The Museum provides an extraordinary look at the horrors and experiences of the Holocaust. Special exhibitions include an exploration of the Holocaust through a child’s experience and an examination of recent genocides since the Holocaust. Admission is free.

OnlinePasos' Virtual Museum.  The Pasos Peace Museum has an online virtual museum that promotes peace and justice. So even if you have no travel scheduled for 2015, there are virtual exhibits to view here (and at the websites of many of the other places listed in this article).

Of course, this list is not exhaustive. There are dozens of other options—big and small—in other cities and towns in the United States, and readers are welcome to add their favorites to this list.  The places listed above and others like them provide an opportunity for all of us to enrich our travels and to support entities that promote human rights for all.

Jonathan Todres | Permalink


Great post, Jonathan! I would add the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kansas. The site is in the very school that was at issue in the Topeka case, and the curators make a special effort to connect the Brown v. Board campaign with racial justice struggles over the generations. Also, it's worth noting that the Old St. Louis Courthouse was also the site of the 1873 Missouri Supreme Court case initiated by Virginia Minor and her husband Frances asserting that women are accorded the right to vote under the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the U.S. Constitution. They lost in Missouri and again in the U.S. Supreme Court, which held that voting is not a privilege of citizenship.

Posted by: Martha Davis | Jan 2, 2015 7:38:17 AM

Great additions, Martha. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Jonathan Todres | Jan 2, 2015 9:27:23 AM

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