The Center was initially conceived by Evelyn Lowery, the wife of Joseph Lowery, and Juanita Abernathy, the widow of Ralph David Abernathy, along with former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young and longtime House Representative John Lewis, all of whom were part of the movement to grant civil rights to African-Americans during the 1960s.
The Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta is an engaging cultural attraction that connects the American Civil Rights Movement to today’s Global Human Rights Movements. The individual galleries engage visitors through a combination of powerful imagery, compelling artifacts and poignant storytelling. Visitors leave inspired and empowered to join the ongoing dialogue about human rights in their communities.
The Center hosts a number of exhibitions, both permanent and temporary, that not only tell the history of the civil rights movement in the United States, but how that period is related to more contemporary human rights struggles around the world.
"Voice to the Voiceless: The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection" contains personal effects that belonged to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The collection was obtained in 2006 when Dr. King's estate decided to sell a number of his letters and papers at auction. Before the auction took place, however, Mayor Franklin launched a bid to purchase them for $32 million, with Morehouse College owning the collection and the Center having the rights to display it. The exhibit tells Dr. King's story from his youth through to his assassination and its aftermath and includes such papers as drafts of "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and "Drum Major Instinct", a sermon King delivered not long before his death.
"Rolls Down Like Water: The American Civil Rights Movement" is an interactive gallery that opens with examples of segregation in the United States as embodied in Jim Crow laws and signs designating facilities as "whites only". Designed by George C. Wolfe, the Tony Award-winning playwright, the gallery is broken up into multiple sections, each marked by a significant event in the civil rights movement, like Brown vs. Board of Education. A number of the exhibits are interactive, including a recreation of a lunch counter sit-in complete with headphones that simulate the taunts and threats leveled at activists.
"Spark of Conviction: The Global Human Rights Movement", unlike the other exhibits, is non-linear in design. The exhibit includes a rogues gallery of dictators, like Adolf Hitler and Augusto Pinochet, and counters them with images of modern-day activists who work to improve conditions of women and LGBT individuals around the world. One activity, called "Who Like Me", allows visitors to define themselves using a particular trait—such as their religion or gender—and shows them an individual who is persecuted in their homeland for that same trait.
Normal Hours of Operation
Mondays – Saturdays: 10 AM to 5 PM (Last entry at 4 PM)
Sundays: 12 PM to 5 PM (Last entry at 4 PM)
ADMISSION AND TICKETS
Purchase tickets online http://www.civilandhumanrights.org/tickets
Adults (Ages 18-64): $19.99
Youth (7-17): $15.99
Student (ID Required): $17.99
Seniors (65+): $17.99