Visiting the Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston, AL (FRRI)

A picture of the sign in front of the building

Greyhound BUs Mural on the wall of the bus depot

A close up of the Left side of the mural

A poignant quote by president jfk that is featured in the exhibit pop-up

Banner in the front room

A close up look at one of the exhibit panels

Now for my blog....

The Freedom Riders National Monument was the next National Park unit I had the fortunate opportunity to visit last month on June 16th. My supervisor and I drove to Anniston, AL to visit the Freedom Riders National Monument (FRRI) and attend the UNESCO World Heritage Nomination meeting with other stakeholders involved in the project. One of the partners in the project that is spearheading the nomination is Georgia State University’s World Heritage Initiative. They are leading a serial nomination of U.S. Civil Rights Movement Sites to be included in the World Heritage List. We listened to three History professors from Georgia State University (GSU) speak about the nomination sites and the process itself. It was fascinating to learn more about the initiative and the preparation process that they have to do in order for the site before it the next steps. As representatives from the Southeastern Regional Office Planning Division, we attended the meeting and provided support for the Superintendent and Park Ranger at FRRI. I was again, in awe, at the efforts being done to steward and preserve our historical and cultural institutions for the next generation.  

Before the meeting, my supervisor and I visited the bus depot building and met with FRRI’s Superintendent and Park Ranger while we waited for the GSU team to arrive. Spread throughout the building are these temporary “pop-up” exhibit walls with information about the Freedom Riders and their role in the Civil Rights Movement timeline. There are panels detailing other relevant events and leaders who were influential in the South. I enjoyed taking time to read the information and learning about parts of the Civil Rights Movement I did not know extensively about. Anniston is about 83 miles away from Atlanta so we drove there and came back in the same day. Being able to sit in meetings and listen to different professionals from various backgrounds speak has been insightful. There is so much work being done to preserve our cultural and historical resources behind the scenes. Projects like this nomination have a long timeline and have multiple groups working together. An important factor that that I have been able to observe is that Park Planning projects take time to move through each stage. There is a tremendous effort to have an interdisciplinary planning process that is tailored for each park unit.  And well, great things take time! 

Thank you for reading!  


Julia Martinez  

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