2017 Mark Zuckerberg tour

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Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

The 2017 Mark Zuckerberg tour was a fulfillment of a personal challenge issued by Faceboook founder Mark Zuckerberg for the year 2017. He challenged himself to travel and meet people in the 30 or so U.S. states he had not yet visited. Specifically he wanted to learn "how they're living, working and thinking about the future." He hoped that the the experience would help him with his efforts to "build a global community."

The challenge followed a year in which Zuckerberg professed to have rediscovered the importance of religion and also made arrangements for maintaining control of his company in the event that he was employed as a government official. Those moves fueled idle speculation that he was considering running for high office, though he has denied it.

Zuckerberg traveled in the company of his wife, Priscilla Chan. The couple visited Alabama in February, arriving in Mobile on February 18. They attended church and watched a Mardi-Gras parade on Sunday, then visited with seafood industry leaders in Bayou La Batre before heading north through Monroeville, Camden and Selma.

Zuckerberg and Chan arrived in Birmingham on Monday February 20. They visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute for a conversation with Bryan Stevenson of the Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative and Anthony Ray Hinton, a former death row inmate whose 1985 murder conviction was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 after the EJI took up his case. Mayor William Bell and BCRI director Andrea Taylor also participated. Bell hinted that he and Zuckerberg spoke about philanthropic opportunities, as well as ways for Facebook to better serve communities. The Zuckerbergs dined privately at OvenBird that evening.

On February 21 Zuckerberg and Chan visited Nick Saban and several Alabama football players at the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility, discussing leadership and what it takes to build a "championship organization" which also functions as a social community.


  • Hrynkiw, Ivana (February 21, 2017) "Mark Zuckerberg stops in Birmingham, meets former death row inmate Anthony Ray Hinton." The Birmingham News
  • Carlton, Bob (February 21, 2017) "Mark Zuckerberg and his wife enjoy a 'date night' at Birmingham restaurant." The Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (February 21, 2017) "Nick Saban talks leadership with Mark Zuckerberg, 'the Facebook guy'." The Birmingham News

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