Selma Jubilee

Photograph by AP Images

March 6–10
210 miles from Atlanta

What it is: The oldest and largest annual civil rights event in America, Jubilee was conceived to commemorate Bloody Sunday, the Selma-to-Montgomery March, and the struggles and victories of the civil and voting rights movements. Over five days, about 30,000 people come for food, music, and art, as well as discussions, speakers, and workshops that focus on current and emerging issues related to voting rights. The most powerful moment is the bridge-crossing reenactment.

What not to miss: The mass meeting, with music from the original Freedom Singers; the mock trial, which focuses on a current issue; the bridge-crossing reenactment, when hundreds of people leave Brown Chapel and re-create the march from the church over Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Where to stay: St. James Hotel is the location for many Jubilee events, so book early.

Where to eat: Lannie’s Bar-B-Q Spot, a tiny joint with tender ribs (334-874-4478); go to Tally-Ho Restaurant if you’re looking for a white-tablecloth experience, and order a steak.

What to bring home: The annual Jubilee book, which this year will focus on civil rights martyrs.

Why I go: “Just as Americans visit the historic sites of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, Selma was also sacred ground, where a nonviolent demonstration took place that helped to transform America. What happened in Selma helped to win voting rights for millions of Americans who were left out and left behind. Their vote today allows them to play a powerful role in the shaping of their own destiny.” —Representative John Lewis (D-GA), fifth district, who helped lead the historic march from Selma to Montgomery on March 7, 1965

This article originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.