Stand anywhere in the Oldest City and chances are you are surrounded by sites related to the struggle for Civil Rights. Many have nothing to mark their existence. Fortunately, an ACCORD initiative, sponsored by the Northrop Grumman Corporation, created a Freedom Trail where 31 sites are marked with detailed signage describing the significance of the location along with an audio description available on cell phone.
Each site on the self-guided Freedom Trail tells a remarkable story – sometimes poignant, often surprising and collectively inspiring. On the Trail, there are numerous Black churches where rallies were held in 1964 – including one where Martin Luther King, Jr. and baseball Hall-of-Famer Jackie Robinson spoke. Many sites are dedicated to individuals and families, including brick steps at 167 Gault Street – all that remains of the Roberson home after it was firebombed when two of the children tried to attend the newly “integrated” Fullerwood School. Also on the Trail is the jail where civil right demonstrators were locked up, including Reverends Martin Luther King, Jr., Andrew Young and Ralph Abernathy, along with Mary Peabody, the 72-year-old mother of the governor Massachusetts, and 19 rabbis – the largest mass arrest of rabbis in American history.
A free map of the trail is available at the city’s Visitor Information Center, 10 S. Castillo Drive. A list and description of the sites can also be found on the Freedom Trail website.