Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Trail By Karen Tenbarge

On Dec 12th , UUCT members and friends took a tour by bus of the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History Trail led by Scott Bridges. Approximately 15 of us listened as Scott took us through the history of slavery in our
state, as well as the legalization of discriminatory practices and segregation after the abolition of slavery.

The Civil Rights protests to integrate the University of Alabama and George Wallace’s stand in the schoolhouse door at Foster Auditorium are well known, but our tour focused on events that took place in downtown Tuscaloosa a year later, on Bloody Tuesday. In the summer of 1964 daily marches took place to protest the continued discriminatory practices in the new Tuscaloosa County Courthouse.

On Bloody Tuesday, protesters were beaten and tear-gassed by Tuscaloosa Police and ‘deputized’ white supremacists. Danny Steele who was active in those protests met our tour in front of the Old Jail across from Capital Park and gave us a firsthand account of the day. The tour route shows many of the sites we pass every day but are unaware that they are significant to the history of the Civil Rights struggle in Tuscaloosa. Some of these historical sites have been torn down or are now disintegrating.

The website https://civilrightstuscaloosa.org/tuscaloosa-civil-rights-history-trail/ has the contents of the brochure we received on the trail tour and information on how to arrange for a group tour of your own.