Birmingham is Alabama's largest city, where you can go out for a fun-filled evening of dining and entertainment on Saturday night and then attend church on Sunday morning. This is the city that Martin Luther King, Jr. visited in April 1963, a year when the Civil Rights events in Birmingham made history. Visit the Birmingham Civil Rights District, where you can see, among other sites, demonstrators' gathering points at Kelly Ingram Park and artifacts of a segregated past including the door and bars of the cell from which MLK composed "Letter from Birmingham Jail," at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The Institute also features footage of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Across the street you will find the 16th Street Baptist Church, nominated as a world heritage site for its place in Civil Rights history. You can follow a downtown Birmingham walking tour to take in nearby places, including the Fourth Avenue North Historic District, a place that was the black business district during the MLK era.
While in Birmingham, take a short trip to the Bessemer community to visit what is one of the last original backyard Juke Joints in America, Gip's Place. It was around during MLK's time and is still the place to go on a Saturday night. For a special experience, visit the 16th Street Baptist Church on Sunday morning. The service, with its spirit-filled pastor and lively gospel choir, is little changed from the days when MLK was a visitor.