2-Day Civil Rights in Little Rock

Day 1 You'll See:

Day 2 You’ll See:

Little Rock, Arkansas, is a pivotal place in the history of civil rights and Adventure Student Travel is excited to present your group with this unique, history and information-packed 2-day journey through the most important sites and buildings! From the Clinton Presidential Library to the many churches and schools of Little Rock that have played an important role in desegregation and the Civil Rights Movement, this trip is the perfect mix of fun and history, keeping every member of your group busy and happy every step of the way!


Philander Smith College Tour

This university was founded in 1877 and is a historically black school. It is a United Methodist Church affiliate as well as the founding member of the United Negro College Fund. You will find 4 major degrees offered here including Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Business Administration, and Bachelor of Social Work. The school boasts an excellent academic record and a 16 to 1 teacher/student ratio. During your group's visit to Philander, you will be able to tour the campus, check out res life within the dorms and dining halls, and meet with financial aid advisors, teachers, and students. If you are serious about possibly attending the university in the future you can even set up a class sit-in.

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

The complex features exhibits, classrooms, offices, and an auditorium that all hold information from 1870 to the present to inform and educate on African American achievements, especially related to business, politics, and the arts. Take a self-guided tour or larger guided tour of the first and third floors of the museum, teaching you about the fraternities, entrepreneurs, and people of the Arkansas integration. Focusing on outreach and education, this stop on your trip is the perfect place to get important culture and history information, as you explore exhibits such as Brotherhood and the Bottom Line, Arkansas Black Hall of Fame, and A City Within a City. After learning all you can head over to the museum store to pick up your very own Coretta Scott King children's book or locally made African American handmade jewelry!

Historic Arkansas Museum

While here your group will have the chance to interact with living history characters around every corner and see first hand how early residents of Arkansas lived as they explore Arkansas made art and artifacts. There are four exhibit galleries within the museum, featuring everything from contemporary Arkansas art in the stunning Trinity Gallery to the very popular Bowie Knife history exhibit within the permanent display exhibit. You will also have the chance to explore original restored antebellum homes including the 1827 Grog Shop, the oldest business in the state! Once you’ve seen all of the fun exhibits be sure to head over to the on-site theater to see the award-winning intro video describing the annual heritage events, festivities, and living history events that take place here. You can even head over to the museum store to pick up your very own heritage quilt and contemporary crafts!

Old State House Museum

Welcome to the Old State House Museum, the original state capitol of Arkansas and the oldest surviving capitol building west of the Mississippi River. This structure was constructed in a Greek Revival style in 1833, the grounds since then seeing some of the most important events in Arkansas history. Among the most well-known events recently were the 1992 and 1996 election night celebrations for former President Bill Clinton. Historically speaking, however, this location saw the admission into the Union in 1836, a fatal Bowie knife fight between state legislators in 1837, the vote to secede from the United States in 1861, and important pioneering medical research in hookworm and malaria. A walk around these historic grounds will show your group several exciting memorials, from the Brooks Baxter War of 1874 memorial to the first state police station home memorial to several still standing and reused state offices.

Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail

A walk on this several block long trail will show your group several sidewalk markers that represent and immortalize important civil rights activists. there are about 10-12 names added annually, the first names including the Little Rock Nine and Daisy Bates. The next year featured the freedom riders that participated here in Arkansas as well as others who participated in sit-in activism. Finally, we have inductees that have just in general helped with desegregation in the past 50 years, such as attorneys, teachers, and political influences such as Bill Clinton. There is a new annual voting every fall season to add more important activist to the trail, making this one fun, exciting, and educational historic stop in Little Rock!


Saint Mark Baptist Church

Start your second day out at Saint Mark Baptist Church, the church that began in 1892 with 4 members and has grown into a mass ministry of over 9,000 members. This church provides regular services (3 on Sunday and 3 on Wednesday), small group lessons in areas such as personal finance, educational tutoring for youth, and disaster/food relief programs. This is a great church to visit to get a bit more insight on the history of Little Rock and of Arkansas religion in general.

Arkansas State Capitol

The Capitol building offers free tours daily from 9 am to noon, then 1 pm to 3 pm. Inside you will find an expansive visitor center, gift shop, cafe, and several educational exhibits. Not only will you get to see these excellent exhibits, but also the Governor's Reception Room, Old Supreme Court Chamber and Rotunda, current House and Senate Chambers, and 6 out of 7 constitutional offices. Middle School groups will have an additional opportunity to participate in the Capitol Quest, an architectural journey/scavenger hunt through the building. The basic concepts of architecture will be explored, the program lasting 2 hours and meant for grades 5 -8.

Little Rock Nine Memorial

The Little Rock Nine Memorial sits on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol, a bronze sculpture collection featuring 'the nine', the nine African American students enrolled at Little Rock Central High who began the process of desegregating the city's public schools in 1957. The nine students, Melba Pattillo, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Gloria Ray, Carlotta Walls, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas, Minnijean Brown and Thelma Mothershed, have provided a comment on bronze plaques in front identifying themselves.

Sue Cowan Williams Library

The Sue Cowan Williams Library was first established in 1977 as the 10th library in the CALS. Inside you will find a wide selection of books and audio/visual items, as well as public use computers, wifi, and meeting space. The library is named after Sue Williams Cowan, the woman who represented African American teachers in the Little Rock district as the plaintiff in the case challenging the rate of salaries allotted to teachers based solely on skin color.

Central High School National Historic Site

During the 1957 desegregation crisis, nine African Americans persisted in attending this once all-white school and made a national example and wave in American culture that we can still feel today. Implemented by force, the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education court decision for desegregation and equality within schools set this school at the forefront of truly making a nationwide example for others to follow, allowing widespread change for the better. The morning of September 23, 1957, was the most violent protest as you will learn about during your tour of the still operating high school.  A park ranger will take you on a one hour, half-mile walking tour of the school, depending on the activities going on within the school. The visitor center across the street is also another great resource for historical information, itself striving to "preserve, protect, and interpret for future generations its role in the integration of schools and the Civil Rights Movement in general." Central High School is an essential educational stop in Little Rock that your group will enjoy exploring the history of!

Daisy Bates House

Miss Daisy Bates was a highly renowned Civil Rights advocate in her lifetime (1914-1999), and she famously created a haven for the nine African American students who helped desegregate Central High School. The Daisy Bates House is located on 28th Street in Little Rock and saw its peak in 1957-1958, being a place to plan goals for and shelter the Little Rock nine. Daisy Bates was the president of the Arkansas NAACP branch, and she and her husband together served as mentors to the students, as well as advocates for fair treatment, Brown vs. the Board of Education follow-through, and desegregation acts that would ultimately change the nation. The house itself is known as the "de facto command post" for the desegregation crisis and was the official pick up/drop off site for the students, as well as meeting spot for members of the press.