Civil Rights Center Atlanta
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta is a must visit for anyone who is in this great Southern city.
Showcasing what could be some of the worst actions taken across the USA over the last few hundred years, the center somehow manages to get the point across very well while not leaving you too distraught. After visiting the Genocide museum in Cambodia and Hiroshima in Japan, I do have to admit I was a little nervous about going to the NCCHR. I don't cope well with the actions of humans on a daily basis, and if you add in some kind of racism or genocide, its not unusual for me to be a blubbering mess. However, as usual I just sucked it up and bought my ticket.
Entry Info and Prices
They are open from 10~5, Monday to Saturday and 12~5 on Sunday.
Tickets are $19.99 for Adults with kids under 6 free. They also have kids, seniors and military pricing available on their website.
The American Civil Rights Movement
The Civil Rights Gallery
The Civil Rights Movement gallery showcases the people and groups who fought for equality during the 1950's and 60's in America. There is a variety of displays like the walk through gallery that lets you understand the laws and segregation of this era. The gallery features one wall of life as a white person in Atlanta during this time and the opposite wall is covered with images from life as a black American in the same era.
The Freedom Riders
The next display is a reconstruction of the bus in which the freedom riders rode in Alabama in 1961. There is a short video of the inside of the bus, all the participants are shown and there are some interactive phones you can use to hear stories from the Freedom Riders themselves.
The Lunch Counter
OK this really upset me. I'm sure for most of us it's pretty confronting, but I was pretty upset by the time I walked away from this display. This lets you sit down at a lunch counter with your palms flat on the bench top. You have noise cancelling headphones covering your ears and you are then assaulted with the words and phrases that were thrown at many non violent protesters of the era. The bench vibrates and I found myself cringing on more than one occasion at the hate that was coming through my headset. This is a very powerful display and while I'm not sure I would let young children do it, it is a very important part of the center.
The March On Washington
From the lunch counter you move on to a room which celebrates the March On Washington. This is a real celebration. There are photos and video highlighting the organizers, speakers and the public of the day. My favorite photo from this section is below. This is Austin Clinton Brown, age 9, of Gainesville, Georgia. The flag in his glasses is a great contrast to the restrictions on his actions and I love this photo. It is reported to have been taken around the time of Martin Luther Kings “I have a dream” speech.
The Three Hymns
This part of the center focuses on the horrible violence that resulted in so many deaths. The purpose here it to learn about what happened and pay your respects to the innocent lives lost in the battle for equality.
There is a global human rights sections which allows you to learn about all the current challenges that people the world over might be facing. It is very concerning that we've come so far and then almost nowhere at all.
The center has different exhibitions that come and go over the seasons and the years. This winter they have an outdoor exhibition dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of the homeless today.
Would I Recommend The Civil Rights Center In Atlanta?
Absolutely. I would be highly offended if you didn't go, and let me know how long you managed to stick it out at the lunch counter.