History must be known by everyone, so we do not repeat its mistakes. This idea inspired Lee Sentell, Alabama Tourism Department Director, to create the US Civil Rights Trail in 2004. To accompany the project, there’s also a book, and its latest edition includes a special feature to attract younger generations. Readers will find QR codes throughout the book, and each code launches an AR experience that focuses on key moments and prominent figures involved in the fight for civil rights.
AR Experience and History: New Technology Brings the Past to Life
Each of the events selected for the AR experience marks moments that changed perceptions toward equal rights for all. Readers will see the US Civil Rights Trail book come to life with pop-up photos and videos.
They include meaningful quotes by those who fought for equal rights, and historical photos and videos. The readers can learn more about:
Experiences recounted by those who fought in Greensboro (North Carolina), Little Rock (Arkansas), and Selma (Alabama);
Federal troops protecting The Little Rock Nine, a group of nine Black students, entering Central High School in Arkansas, and the sit-in movement by civil rights activists at Greensboro;
US presidents, including President Obama and President Eisenhower, honoring civil rights heroes.
The author believes that the use of AR experience in a book will encourage children and teenagers to learn about the brave activists who did not wait for change to come, but instead made it happen.
A Complete Experience Honoring the Civil Rights Activists
The US Civil Rights Trail is not just a book with embedded AR experience. It is a full experience – including a dedicated website and an interactive map for those who want to visit important landmarks. Users can even download a pre-planned itinerary, covering the most important cities in the US South which witnessed key events in the fight for civil rights.
The itinerary covers places important to the Civil Rights Movement, as according to the official site, “what happened here changed the world”. Some of the places are Birmingham (Alabama), Memphis (Tennessee), Atlanta (Georgia), Charleston (South Carolina), already mentioned Little Rock (Arkansas) and Selma (Alabama), and more.
How the AR Experience Works
You can purchase the official US Civil Rights Trail book on the This Is Alabama website. AR experiences can be found on pages 52, 60, and 104. After scanning the QR code with the phone camera, you can start exploring the interactive content.
History is not a thing of the past. New innovations, like AR experiences and other forms of interactive content, bring it close to us and allow us to explore it, so that we never forget its lessons.