Since railroads have only decreased in number since the 1950's, the route the family would have taken would probably be the same or nearly the same as that one would take today. Using google, search for rail trip Birmingham AL to San Diego, CA. There is no direct route, so at some point one would have to change trains (St. Louis or New Orleans would be the most logical places to change, that I can see). Buses also travelled between the cities.
Dear Ms. Baxter,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series Reference Maps and Drawings, 1934 - 1989 in the Records of the National Archives and Records Administration (Record Group 64) that contains state maps from 1934 that are digitized and available online using the Catalog. You may browse these maps to locate the historical railway routes between Birmingham and San Diego.
We also located Railroad Density Maps, 1967 - 1994 in the Records of the Federal Railroad Administration (Record Group 399) that contains records dating back to 1932. For access to these maps, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Cartographic (RDSC) via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDSC. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.
We searched online and located several articles and other publications that might be relevant to your research such as:
- This Segregated Railway Car Offers a Visceral Reminder of the Jim Crow Era
- "Digest Of Jim-Crow Laws Affecting Passengers in Interstate Travel"
- Civil Rights in America: Racial Desegregation of Public Accommodations
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!