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Blues, Civil Rights and Civil War Tour

Oxford
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Blues, Civil Rights and Civil War Tour

We are at the very early stages of planning a tour of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and other Deep South states with th theme being Blues, Civil Rights and Civil War. The tour will be about 6 weeks. One question is about public transport, we want to do as little driving as possible and hope to mostly use public transport. Is this feasible ? Also, we are struggling to fnd good planning guidebooks, we normally use Lonely Planet or Rough Guides but they don't seem to have anything suitable. Any recommendations ?

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Tyler, Texas
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1. Re: Blues, Civil Rights and Civil War Tour

Throw away the typical travel guides....google...and discover pieces such as southernliving.com/travel/…blues-highway-map

Public transport is very difficult..you might travel by Greyhound between cities but local may be hard.

Gulf Shores, Alabama
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2. Re: Blues, Civil Rights and Civil War Tour

I agree with Dave above that transportation will be hard without your own. The south doesn't have the public transportation system that Europe or even the NE US has. You could take a bus between major cities and use public transport in those cities( ie. buses, taxi, trolley, uber) but I imagine that would get very expensive very quickly.

As far as Civil Rights sites...Montgomery, Birmingham and Atlanta all come to mind. Atlanta does have good public transportation with the Marta system light rail. There is the Martin Luther King NHS downtown and other churches associated with the movement and Dr. King. Montgomery and Birmingham also have Civil RIghts Museums and Montgomery has an array of sites including the First White House Of The Confederacy, Dexter Avenue Churches and the end of The Selma To Montgomery NHT as well as Camp 6. Selma itself is only a forty minute drive from downtown Montgomery.

Civil War sites are scattered all over the country with the majority in the south. Andersonville, Chickamauga and Kennesaw Battlefield in Georgia are all important sites. In SC, Fort Sumter and Cowpens come to mind. In Alabama The Tuskegee Airmen NHP and the University itself would both be worth stopping for. Towards the coastline there are several forts which can be toured in and around Gulf Shores, Al. Mobile, AL. and Pensacola, Fl. There is also Blakely state park in Spanish Fort, Alabama.

In Mississippi there is the majority of the state sponsored Blues Trail and of course the Delta itself. Here's a link to the Blues Trail.

http://msbluestrail.org/

Miss. also has Beauvoir in Biloxi which was Jefferson Davis' home. In Louisiana you will also find Chalmette Battlefield and multiple plantations which can be toured. I believe Chalmette is now part of Jean Lafitte NHP.

https://www.nps.gov/jela/index.htm

New Orleans has good public transportation with the expanded trolley system and cabs.

travelandleisure.com/slideshows/…1

There are sites for the Civil war spread out all over and most are not in major cities so getting to these will be hard without a car. There are several tours you can take that focus on the Civil war sites and probably provide transportation as well.

As far as guidebooks, look at Google.

Edited: 03 December 2017, 08:29
Decatur, GA
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3. Re: Blues, Civil Rights and Civil War Tour

Atlanta also has the Center for Civil and Human Rights downtown. https://www.civilandhumanrights.org/

Athens, Alabama
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4. Re: Blues, Civil Rights and Civil War Tour

The Blue & Gray Museum of North Alabama, in Decatur, is the largest private collection of Civil War artifacts in the country. Just west of Decatur in Hillsboro you will find the General Joe Wheeler Home, Pond Spring. Both sites are well worth a visit for civil war buffs. Outside of Alabama I would highly recommend a visit to Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee. Shiloh was the 7th largest contest of the Civil War with nearly 24,000 men killed in a 2 day battle. Chickamauga and Stones River are 2 even greater battle sites located in Tennessee. The Fuller Gun Collection at the Chickmauga Visitors Center is incredible.

http://www.alabamacivilwarmuseum.com/

…alabama.gov/properties/…pondspring.aspx

https:/…shiloh-history.htm

https://www.nps.gov/chch/index.htm

https://www.nps.gov/stri/index.htm

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: Blues, Civil Rights and Civil War Tour

The Martin Luther King center in Atlanta and the Civil rights museum in Memphis are the top 2 in my book. The new museum in Washington, DC is awesome too.

FYI Cowpens is not Civil war but Revolutionary war battlefield in SC.

Also a great Civil War battlefield is along MS river in Vicksburg, MS. It along with Gettysburg and Antietam rank as my top 3.

There is a small Civil war fort near Savannah, GA - Fort Pulaski.

If doing several states post on road trip forum and we will be glad to help. Many of us travel throughout the south frequently.

Gulf Shores, Alabama
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6. Re: Blues, Civil Rights and Civil War Tour

Thank you for correcting that Peach!

Birmingham, AL
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7. Re: Blues, Civil Rights and Civil War Tour

I'll just throw in my two cents re :Alabama, since this is where this particular thread.

Civil War wise, Alabama has less significant history and sites than do MS, etc.

Music wise, you can find bubbles just about anywhere, and in NW AL there is some history, though not exclusively blues.

http://www.msmusicfoundation.org

http://www.alamhof.org

but your best concentration of places to visit, see history and hear live music is probably the MS Delta (historic US 61...www.visit the delta.com OK I know that's not Alabama, but is a GREAT website for that area)

Civil Rights- this is where Alabama's history is very rich. The CRI in Birmingham is VERY well done, ACCURATE, and ,IMO superior to the one in Memphis (though I would not recommend skipping that). Don't miss it

https://www.bcri.org

Also fascinating if you're into sports history at all, Birmingham's rich baseball history-this place is free admission

http://www.birminghamnslm.org

Montgomery & Selma have sites worth seeing:

visitingmontgomery.com/play/…

Finally, I'd agree with other responders re: your not having to drive...unfortunately, hopping trains, etc is not that doable here.

That said, not sure of your budget, but you could look into an private tour guide and/or driver. They're not available everywhere, but perhaps some would agree to a contract, etc.

You can start by looking at

Www.toursbylocals.com I know they have a few guides in AL listed.

It is also possible that an email to the CVB of the major cities in your itinerary can suggest a contact for an private guide and/or hired driver. This can be done for a day, two days, or your entire trip.

I've done this in other cities, but never have here, so have no personal recommendations, sorry.

Also, I think if you're staying in Bham, Mgy, or Memphis, you can definitely take public transportation to attractions, giving yourself a break for those days.

Have a wonderful trip!

KM

Oxford
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8. Re: Blues, Civil Rights and Civil War Tour

Many thanks for all the responses, they have been very helpful. I wasn't sure where to post this and perhaps I made a mistake to post it in Alabama. Should I repost in the main USA forum to get responses relating to the other states

Birmingham, Alabama
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9. Re: Blues, Civil Rights and Civil War Tour

If you did not already do so, post this in each state's own forum like you did for Alabama. I am sure that everyone assumed you had done so and only commented on our state. Also, you might also post it on the Road Trip Forum as well to get even more responses. You would not want to post in an overall, generic USA forum.

Oxford
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10. Re: Blues, Civil Rights and Civil War Tour

dbh2, many thanks for this, I will post in the other state forums. Where will I find the Road Trip Forum ?

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