Driving Culture: Toyota’s Black History Tour Road Trip To The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
Toyota hosted its second “Let’s Go Places Black History Tour” to historical African American landmarks in Atlanta, Ga.; Montgomery, Ala.; Selma, Ala.; Meridian, Miss.; and Jackson, Miss. The four-day excursion culminated with the grand opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
Toyota made a donation of $750,000 to the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, which had its opening celebration on Dec. 9. The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum features The Toyota Gallery inside that contains seven thematic galleries encircling a central gallery.
In addition, Toyota via its agency of record PRecise Communications made donations of undisclosed amounts to several of the civil rights museums explored during the road trip.
“Toyota has a deep commitment to the African American community and the preservation of its history so this event and all the places we’ve visited along the way is important to Toyota,” expressed Alexis Davis Smith, President and CEO of the Atlanta-based PRecise firm.
Supporting museums that celebrate the history of African American culture isn’t new to Toyota, as the automobile manufacturer was also a founding sponsor of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The brand has also supported the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and, for more than a decade, has sponsored The HistoryMakers—the nation’s largest collection of African American video and oral history.
AlwaysAList.com was part of Toyota’s “Let’s Go Places Black History Tour” and traveled with a group of almost 20 media professionals and social media influencers on the well-planned and thoughtfully-executed drive through the south.
As we dined at decadent soul food restaurants like Paschal’s in Atlanta, experienced southern hospitality in Montgomery, and drove through the picturesque but out-of-the-ordinary snowfall in Mississippi; we learned lot, met some interesting historians and left with a heightened awareness of African American history and culture.
Among the places we visited:
– The National Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta. We explored the historic sights of Atlanta on the Civil Rights Tours bus with guide Tom Houck (and a negro spiritual singer in tow) and even visited one of the residences where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived when he resided there.
– Dexter Parsonage Museum Tour exploration of where Dr. King and his young family lived between 1954 and 1960. Furniture and artifacts in the home have been preserved from that time.
– Dexter Avenue Baptist Church visit. In addition to seeing the sanctuary that Dr. King served as the 20th pastor of and where he organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott, we got to join the choir rehearsal of the current music ministry at the church and sing along to “This Little Light of Mine.”
– We made the drive from Montgomery to Selma that was made in 1965 as part of the march for equal voting rights. We visited the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the place where “Bloody Sunday” took place and marches were attacked by local police and authorities.
– National Voting Rights Museum Tour in Selma that chronicled the stories and preserved the artifacts of many of the people who participated in the 1965 march for voting rights.
– The Grand Opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum where civil rights leader Myrlie Evers-Williams spoke and Black Lives Matters protestors were on hand to great Donald Trump who came to tour the facility.
Thanks to Toyota for an amazing experience. Special thanks to Jessica M. Taylor of Toyota and the team at PRecise communications. Thanks also to photographer E.Mackey for great images.