Atlanta is a city of heroes. A city steeped with block after block of historic buildings and places where Black people struggled and prospered to make Atlanta the citadel for Black America & the cradle of the Civil Rights movement. From the first Black millionaire Alonzo Herndon who build Atlanta Life Insurance Company to famous college presidents, like Morehouse’s Benjamin Mays, to the incredible Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Atlanta was always ahead of its time.
Civil Rights Tours Atlanta is about you – taking you to the places where history was made by those who made history. Our tour will launch from the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site Visitor Center, 450 Auburn Avenue NE, Atlanta Georgia 30312 and transform for our guests on a comfortable video equipped bus – displaying a city where every step throughout the last century was significant in changing the face of America.
You will hear from and see Civil Rights icons Andrew Young, John Lewis and Julian Bond – giving their first hand eyewitness account of historic places and how events shaped the evolution of this city “Too Busy to Hate.”
This will be the only Atlanta Civil Rights tour that will take you to the site of the famous Atlanta Student Movement Rush Memorial Church, to the graves at South-View Cemetery of Daddy King & John Wesley Dobbs. On stops you will view up close the house Dr. King lived at the time of his assassination and Coretta raised her four children.
You will witness the birth house of Dr. King, the Ebenezer Baptist church he co-pastored with his father and the Old 4th Ward where he grew up. Also a chance to stand in front of the crypt of MLK & Coretta Scott King. You will see the old Paschal’s Restaurant where in the front dining room the morning politicos helped elect Atlanta first black mayor Maynard Jackson.
For three hours you will be on a tour like no other. Every location will evoke a time and period of Civil Rights, including Ralph Abernathy’s West Hunter Street Church, the mural of John Lewis on Auburn Avenue and the office on Auburn Avenue where MLK, Abernathy, Andrew Young and Hosea Williams made decisions that changed the world.
Tours leave the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site Visitor Center, 450 Auburn Avenue NE, Atlanta Georgia 30312 every Saturday at 11 am. and you will be treated by tour guides that were part of the Civil Rights movement. Sunday thru Thursday we offer custom tours to schools, corporations, various conventions, to be able to include something special for each group.
Plug in now to our site and share the bounty of what Civil Rights Tour Atlanta is all about.
Expelled from high school in 1965 for marching in the Selma – Montgomery march, Tom committed himself to the Civil Rights movement. From 1965-1971 Houck worked with the NAACP, SCLC and VEP in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Washington DC, New York and Chicago. During this time Houck was arrested on numerous occasions while participating in non-violent civil disobedient demonstrations to secure civil and voting rights for all Americans. In 1966 he filed suit against Jefferson County, Alabama jails resulting in a landmark US Supreme Court decision desegregating prisons across America.
From 1966 until his assassination in 1968 Tom was an aide to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During this time he served as a driver and personal assistant to Dr. King and his family. Houck also became the youngest member of the SCLC executive staff working with organizations to end the Vietnam War and mobilizing for the “Poor People Campaign”. Houck helped organize Hispanics, Asians, Native American and poor whites for the long crusade across America culminating in the first truly rainbow community at “Resurrection City” on the Mall in Washington, DC. He was a speaker representing poor whites at the kick off of the Poor Peoples campaign in Memphis.
In 1968 and 1969 as a member of the SCLC staff, Tom participated in organizing anti war campaigns in DC and Atlanta, get out the vote efforts in New York and Georgia, the hospital workers strike in Charleston, SC.
From 1970 until 1972 Houck worked as field director for The Voter Education Project (VEP) and with John Lewis and Julian Bond – mobilizing, registering and encourage minority voter’s participation across 11 southern states of the old Confederacy. During this time the number of Black elected officials increased 100 fold. He also lobbied extensively for the historic passage of the 26th Amendment, granting 18 year olds the right to vote.
In 1972 as a result of his efforts in lowering of the voting rights age, he was named deputy director of the Washington based Youth Citizenship Fund, heading up efforts to maximize first time 18-21 year old voter registration/education in 26 states.
Returning to Georgia in 1973 Houck has worked extensively on various political campaigns including Andrew Young successful bid for Congress, Maynard Jackson’s election as Atlanta’s first black mayor and the campaigns of John Lewis and Zell Miller.
In 1977 his involvement in politics and long standing interest in journalism led to a new career in radio, TV and print journalism. For the next 25 years Houck was a presence in Atlanta and national media.
From 1980 until 1991 he hosted a radio show on Newsradio WGST. From 1981 until 2001,Houck was a regular panelist on Sunday News Conference and Georgia Gang on WSB TV and Fox 5. Houck was a contributor to “Atlanta Magazine” and from 1986 until 2001 a columnist for Creative Loafing.
Leaving journalism in the early 2000’s, Houck went on to start a public affairs company and maintained his strong passion for politics working with various local and state and national candidates.
A strong advocate for civil and human rights, over the last decade Houck has been in demand as a speaker, especially on the life and times of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Now, with a vast number of years of being a part of the Atlanta civil rights scene, I feel it’s time to share my knowledge with the public. Please join me on a 3 hour bus tour of famous moments, places and people who made Atlanta the hub of the Civil Rights movement.
I look forward to seeing you on the next tour. This new chapter in my life will allow me to share my Atlanta and it’s great people who make our town what it is today.Read more about Tom »
Are there any age restrictions for those wanting to take the tour?
All ages are welcome! There is no minimum age for the tour. All guests must purchase a ticket. Guests under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Children under 2 years old may sit on a parent’s lap and do not need a ticket. If your child is aged 3 years or older, please purchase a ticket for them.
Do you make provisions for handicapped guests?
Yes. We want everyone to enjoy themselves. There are portions of the tours that occur on foot, but all surfaces should be safe for wheelchairs. The bus is not equipped with a lift and we ask that you notify us in advance if you need to bring a wheelchair with you so we may make arrangements for storage.
What should I wear?
Dress casually and comfortably for the day’s weather. The bus can get a bit chilly, so you will want to bring a light sweater if you tend to get cold.
May we tip our guide?
Of course! If you think your guide was incredible, we absolutely encourage tips.
Are tickets refundable?
No, sorry, tickets are non-refundable and cannot be rescheduled. If a tour is cancelled for extenuating circumstances we will give you the option of rescheduling or being refunded.
Are all the tours either walking or riding?
The tours will include both walking and riding. The option of remaining on the bus exists if there are ambulatory issues. The amount of walking is fairly minimal and most locations do not require extensive walking.
How large are the luxury coaches?
Our coaches seat 30 passengers. We chose a smaller coach so each guest could experience a more intimate tour, with plenty of Q & A with our guides.
How long are the tours?
Most of our tours are 3-hours and we make every effort to stick to this, but due to traffic conditions, especially in Atlanta, we can run over so please plan accordingly.
May I bring my own refreshments?
The coaches are stocked with water and we try to stop at least once for a restroom/refreshment break. We prefer no eating or outside coolers on the bus, but if you would like to bring something along there is overhead storage.
May I bring my dog?
Unfortunately, we are not able to allow pets. We do allow service dogs, but please contact us beforehand.
Do you require a certain number of guests on each tour to operate?
We require a minimum of 10 guests per tour. We make every effort to ensure the minimum guest count is met
Is there a gift shop where we can purchase souvenirs?
There is a small gift shop at the National Park Service Visitor Center for shopping before or after your tour.
We love your tour and think it would be great for our group! Do you offer custom tours?
Of course! We love working with groups, though encourage using our buses due to potential audio/visual concerns that could arise on other coaches. Please fill out the custom tour form so we can prepare a quote for you!
Are there other legal things about the tours?
Well, yes, there is a Disclaimer of Liability and our Policies and Restrictions, which you will want to look over and which you will be agreeing to when purchasing tickets.
January 20, 2017
October 27, 2016
February 10, 2016
January 29, 2016
January 18, 2016
April 15, 2015
March 29, 2015
Representative John Lewis, U.S. Congress, Georgia Fifth District
Julian Bond, Former Board Chairman, NAACP