Explore Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument

On January 12, 2017, President Obama announced the creation of Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument in Alabama. The monument, which honors the activists who struggled for social justice throughout the Civil Rights era, aims to inspire hope and tolerance in generations of Americans to come.

The designation—which includes eight of Birmingham’s most significant civil rights sites—recognizes the city’s pivotal role in the larger Civil Rights movement and will help visitors grasp the significance of what took place here. See for yourself in the guide below.

  1. Photo By: City of Birmingham Archives

    A.G. Gaston Motel

    Amid the streamlined couches and carpeted floor of Room 30, or the “War Room,” civil rights luminaries like the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. organized protests and devised strategy for the Civil Rights movement in the early 1960s.

  2. Photo By: Cate S/Flickr/CC BY NC ND 2.0

    Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

    Since 1992, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute has explored civil rights issues. A cultural and educational research center, the institute also focuses on social justice issues and efforts beyond the American Civil Rights movement of the 20th century.

  3. Photo By: Dystopos/Flickr/CC BY-NC-2.0

    St. Paul United Methodist Church

    Founded by newly freed slaves in 1869, St. Paul United Methodist Church was at the forefront of the effort to integrate those who had been released from bondage into free American society following the Civil War.

  4. Photo By: Library of Congress, HABS ALA,37-BIRM,26--1

    Bethel Baptist Church

    Though Bethel Baptist Church is located almost two miles from the geographic center of the monument, the church served as a central meeting place for many protesting segregation in Birmingham.

The effort to designate Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, which was led by the National Trust and included a historic structures report for the A.G. Gaston Motel and other preservation expertise, would not have been possible without the help of our partners, including the city of Birmingham and its mayor William Bell, the National Parks Conservation Association, and U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell.

Join the movement to save and sustain historic African American places. The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund will help every American see themselves, their history, and their potential in our collective story and national cultural landscape.

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