Center for Civil and Human Rights 9

A Trip Back in Time to Ensure Equal Rights for the Future

Background

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. Its purpose is to create a safe space for visitors to explore the fundamental rights of all human beings so that they leave inspired and empowered to join the ongoing dialogue about human rights in their communities.

Experience

The tagline for the Center for Civil and Human Rights is the “Best Museum in Atlanta.” I am inclined to agree.  I was blessed to visit this impressive museum with my father, mother, brother and son on a Tuesday morning during the holiday break. This was an opportunity to explore the museum without the crowds that you might expect on the weekend. Perusing the entire space, including the first floor Voice to the Voiceless: Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection exhibit of the civil rights leader’s papers took about an hour and a half. I was able to experience the museum through a multigenerational lens, using the Across Generations questions from CivilAndHumanRights.org. The whole family enjoyed the mix of traditional visuals such as large photographic displays and paintings with new technology and interactive portions. My son in particular liked tuning the old school channels on the large box televisions and hearing the voices of various civil rights leaders.

My parents were visibly moved by certain aspects of the Rolls Down Like Water: The American Civil Rights Movement exhibit and I even caught them shedding a tear or two as we moved through the emotionally charged exhibit.  The exhibit takes you on a chronological journey from segregation through the civil rights movement. I had my four year old son with me so I checked at the information desk to make sure it wouldn’t be too intense for him. Other than the lunch counter experience, which was rather intense for me and several other adults, there were not any areas that he could not handle. In fact, he keeps asking me when we are going back to see the “movie bus,” a simulated bus with a projector where he learned the meaning of the word “protest.”  He also enjoyed the interactive parts of the exhibits, especially making a feedback video at the end of our visit.

My favorite part of the experience was the Spark of Conviction: The Global Human Rights Movement exhibit, particularly the part where discriminatory practices were explored first person, projected onto mirrors. The effect was that you were able to almost literally put yourself in the speaker’s shoes. Just like that you experienced what it was like to be fired from your job for being Muslim or arranged in a marriage against your will. In addition, the total package was part of our visit from the architecture of the building to the cascading fountain in the back of the building. Young and old members of your family, visitors and Atlanta residents alike, will be enlightened on your visit.

When You Go

The Center for Civil and Human Rights is located at 100 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30313-1807. Parking in the Pemberton Place lot near the GA Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola was a snap. General admission is $15 for adults and FREE for children 3 & under. Discounts available for kids, seniors, students, and active military.