Memorials: The Journey to Civil Rights

Martin Luther King Jr Memorial in Washington, D.C. from Atlanta Black Star

For two weeks each spring the National Mall's Tidal Basin glows with a pink-white hue of thousands of Japanese cherry trees. Once the glory of the blossoms has vanished, however, the memorials around this manmade body of water continue to resonate with the American principles of independence, equality, and justice.

Yet those principles of democracy have not always defined the experience of all Americans. “We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” declared Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967. By the time you read that quote at the conclusion of this walk, you will have explored memorials honoring the author of the Declaration of Independence, drafter of the country’s first bill of rights, and the champion of the New Deal and considered how these sites address the often frustrating disconnect between stated principles and the lived reality that sparked the journey to civil rights. 

Trace the evoluation of the Civil Rights movement in the U.S. through up-close encounters with

                                           - the Thomas Jefferson Memorial,

                                           - George Mason Memorial,

                                           - Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial,

                                           - Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial,

                                            plus views of the Washington Monument.


Discover more great D.C. walking tour adventures: Women Who Changed America and Memorials: Remembrances of War

Guides that may lead this tour: 

CAROLYN attributes her devotion to walking tours to perambulations through her new hometown when she arrived to earn an M.F.A. in Acting from The Catholic University of America. She is the founder of Washington Walks.

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CANCELLED: Saturday, July 2, 2022 at 11:00 a.m.


Also available for private and group tour bookings. Please email for more information.

Approximately 2 hours
Reservations REQUIRED and limited to fifteen (15) participants.

$35 per person for public tours.

Email for a private or group tour quote.

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Embarks from the snack stand located at the Tidal Basin Paddle Boat dock (1501 Maine Avenue, SW) Closest Metrorail station: Smithsonian
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