Five Florida landmarks have been added to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, a collection of churches, courthouses, schools, museums and other landmarks where activists challenged segregation during the 1950s and '060s. The new sites are the Bay County Courthouse in Panama City, the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Memorial Park & Museum in Mims, Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, the National Historic Preservation District in St. Augustine and the Newtown African American Heritage Trail in Sarasota.
The Bay County Courthouse commemorates the Gideon v. Wainwright case that granted defendants the right to counsel in criminal trials. The Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Memorial Park & Museum honors the two activists and educators who established the first branch of the NAACP in Brevard County and later established the NAACP Florida State Conference. Historic Dodgertown, opened in 1948, was the first fully integrated Major League Baseball spring-training site in the South. The National Historic Preservation District in St. Augustine includes historic markers and locations where numerous peaceful marches were organized in protest of racial segregation, while the Newtown African American Heritage Trail documents the 100-year history of the community and its civil rights activists who organized car caravans and beach segregation protests.
Visit Florida, the state's destination marketing organization, partnered with state tourism-development boards and Travel South USA to have the five sites added to the trail. According to the DMO's president and CEO, Dana Young, "Visit Florida is dedicated to promoting Florida's diversity while also showcasing and preserving our state's rich heritage. I am thrilled to see Florida destinations now included on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. These newly dedicated sites that tell of the heroic accounts that changed history will provide meaningful experiences for visitors as they expand their knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement."
To promote the newly honored landmarks, Visit Florida has created a page on its Black Heritage Travel hub.