Explore Louisville’s Civil Rights History – US Civil Rights Trail
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Discover the U.S. Civil Rights Trail

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    Combating Hate With Peaceful Protest

    Throughout the early 1960s, Louisville, Kentucky, erupted in a series of demonstrations and protests pushing for social change within its segregated communities. In 1960, a delegation of Black and white civil rights activists pressed for the passage of the public accommodations ordinance to end segregation in white-owned establishments. While the demonstrations mirrored Martin Luther King Jr.’s model for nonviolent, peaceful protest, local businesses felt the increasing economic pressure of the movement. Yet city officials remained unresponsive. In the summer of 1961, activists initiated a voter registration campaign that elected a new mayor and a new board of aldermen. On May 1, 1963, the public accommodations ordinance was passed.

    Louisville’s Champion of Social Change

    Louisville is also the hometown of heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. In ways that no one else could, Ali appealed simultaneously to people and organizations who otherwise agreed on little politically. You can explore the life and legacy of this civil rights hero and American icon at Louisville’s award-winning Muhammad Ali Center.


    When you’re ready to experience the history of the United States Civil Rights Trail firsthand, download a state itinerary. These guides have information about the sites you can visit in each state as well as directions and other useful tools to help you successfully plan your trip.


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