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New interactive bike tour highlights Detroit landmarks in civil rights movement

Civil Rights Movement History bike tour map.
Civil Rights Movement History bike tour map. (MEDC)

DETROIT – A new interactive bike tour launched by the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office highlights some of the most historically significant sites during the civil rights movement in Detroit.

The bike tour is part of a larger project to identify and document historically significant sites in Detroit relating to the 20th Century African American Civil Rights movement. The project is funded through an African American Civil Rights program grant by the National Park Service (NPS).

The bike tour is a route, not a single event. Participants can follow the route on their bikes by going to www.miplace.org/biketour. The tour is fully mobile responsive and is easy to navigate right from a smartphone or tablet. More information is available about each civil rights site by selecting them individually from a list, or just following the route on the tour map. If location services are enabled on participants' devices, it will show the user their location in relation to the stops just as if navigating by GPS.

“The places associated with the struggle for African American civil rights in the city of Detroit represent a particularly fragile class of resource. It is vital that we preserve the cultural legacy and story of these important buildings and sites,” said Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Martha MacFarlane-Faes. “This tour is not only an opportunity for cyclists to discover stunning Detroit architecture, but more importantly, to see firsthand and learn about Detroit’s African American history and the 20th-century civil rights movement that took place there.”

The recommended route begins and ends at the famed Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on Warren Avenue with 20 stops in between, but participants are free to take a different path between stops, or alter the route entirely if they want to make it into a shorter loop and not see all of the sites in a single trip. The entire loop with all 20 stops is about 17 miles in length. The bike tour will also be accessible from the SHPO’s website for the civil rights project.

The stops on the route were chosen by a 14-person civil rights advisory board, who looked at sites in a concentrated area of the city that was conducive to a bike tour. Most of the sites were associated with the period of the 1950-1970s and the growth of the Black Power movement, and most vividly bring the stories and places of the 20th-century civil rights movement in Detroit to the public.


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