TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, VISIT FLORIDA announced that five of the six new sites added to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail by the U.S. Civil Rights Trail Marketing Alliance on Martin Luther King Jr. Day are Florida landmarks. Launched in January of last year, the U.S. Civil Rights Trail is a collection of more than 100 sites in 15 states, including churches, courthouses, schools, museums and other landmarks, where activists challenged segregation in the 1950s and 1960s to advance social justice. VISIT FLORIDA, in partnership with Florida tourism development boards and Travel South USA, the official regional destination marketing organization for the southern United States, worked together to include the new sites.
Governor Ron DeSantis said, “The civil rights movement was an historical turning point for our nation and our state, and it is a privilege to have Florida landmarks now included on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. I encourage residents and visitors alike to explore these sites and learn about the history, individuals and sacrifices that helped advance social equality in our country and improve the quality of life for all Floridians.”
The five Florida sites now featured on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail are the Bay County Courthouse in Panama City, the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Memorial Park & Museum in Mims, Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, the National Historic Preservation District in St. Augustine and the Newtown African American Heritage Trail in Sarasota.
VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young said, “VISIT FLORIDA is dedicated to promoting Florida’s diversity while also showcasing and preserving our state’s rich heritage. I am thrilled to see Florida destinations now included on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. These newly dedicated sites that tell of the heroic accounts that changed history will provide meaningful experiences for visitors as they expand their knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement.”
The Bay County Courthouse commemorates the Gideon v. Wainwright case that granted defendants the right to counsel in criminal trials. The Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Memorial Park & Museum honors Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore, activists and educators who established the first branch of the NAACP in Brevard County and later established the NAACP Florida State Conference in their fight for racial justice and equality for black citizens in the State of Florida. Historic Dodgertown, opened in 1948, was the first fully integrated Major League Baseball spring training site in the South and is the only sports affiliation on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. The National Historic Preservation District in St. Augustine includes historic markers and locations where numerous peaceful marches were organized in protest of racial segregation. The Newtown African American Heritage Trail documents the 100 year history of a community and celebrates civil rights activists who organized car caravans and traveled a special route to local beaches for wade-ins to protest segregation.
To promote the newly honored landmarks, VISIT FLORIDA developed a dedicated page on its black heritage travel hub within the VISIT FLORIDA consumer website. For more information, go to visitflorida.com/heritage.