Civil Rights And Beyond Itinerary
Explore Atlanta’s legacy as the home of the Civil Rights movement
Wake up with coffee paired with sweet and savory breakfast bites at the Sweet Auburn Bread Company. For produce and unique eateries, visit the historic Sweet Auburn Curb Market, one of the first food halls in Atlanta.
Widely regarded as the center of the civil rights movement, Sweet Auburn District was also Atlanta’s first burgeoning African-American business district. Take the Sweet Auburn walking tour, given by the Atlanta Preservation Center and explore the many historic landmarks of this downtown community. Tour the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park and Dr. King’s birth home, then sit in the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where MLK Jr. was baptized and both he and Daddy King preached. Visit The King Center and the tombs of Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King. Next, stand in the footsteps of civil rights leaders on the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame, where the shoe prints of heroes such as Rosa Parks, former President Jimmy Carter, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and many others are embedded in a concrete memorial. Before lunch, stop at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) headquarters in the Prince Hall Masonic Temple building before heading to the APEX Museum to hear stories of early African-American pioneers and the powerful families that helped transform Atlanta.
Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint Downtown on Peachtree Street serves sumptuous Southern staples such as fried green tomatoes and beef brisket. Or enjoy traditional soul food at Busy Bee Cafe. Must-try items include fried, smothered or oven-roasted chicken, pork chops, Southern style veggies and banana pudding for dessert. Busy Bee has served soul food for more than 50 years to a medley of diners. including celebrities, city officials, residents and visitors.
Near Centennial Olympic Park, the Center for Civil and Human Rights connects the American civil rights movement to today’s global human rights movement through global exhibitions.
The Atlanta University Center, the world’s largest consortium of historically black colleges and universities, has educated many famous African-American leaders. Clark Atlanta University, established in 1867, houses one of the nation’s finest collections of African-American art. Morehouse College is the alma mater of Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Spelman College is consistently ranked as a top college and spotlights African-American artists, exhibiting contemporary works, folk art and more at its Museum of Fine Art.
Visit the Hammonds House Museum, which features African-American artists of African descent with more than 350 works in the permanent collection.
Tour the 1910 Herndon Home. The home is a tribute to the family of Alonzo Herndon, founder of Atlanta Life Insurance Company and the city’s first African American millionaire.
Tour The Wren’s Nest, home of Joel Chandler Harris, author of the Uncle Remus stories. Perched on his magnolia-shaded front porch, Harris wrote the majority of his 190 narratives, which became the first serialized stories of walking, talking animals. Preserved with the original 1880s furniture, tile, structure and fixtures since 1913, the house also presents storytelling on some Saturdays.
Starting in the 1960s, civil rights leaders and strategists came together for savory cooking at Paschal’s Motor Hotel and Restaurant, now closed. Today in its new location, Paschal’s Restaurant at Castleberry Hill still hosts Atlanta’s leaders for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
Check the schedule of True Colors Theatre Company led by Kenny Leon. The company is committed to staging groundbreaking African-American plays.
Atlanta celebrates its African-American culture year-round. Here’s a brief list of a few of the annual events that spotlight this heritage:
JANUARY: Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebrations (city-wide events), Trumpet Awards, Honda Battle of the Bands
FEBRUARY: Black History Month celebrations, Bronner Bros. International Beauty Show
MAY: Atlanta Jazz Festival
JULY: National Black Arts Festival
AUGUST: Bronner Bros. International Beauty Show, BronzeLens Film Festival
SEPTEMBER: Atlanta Black Gay Pride Weekend
DECEMBER: Celebration Bowl
Find more information on Atlanta’s civil rights history and explore our historic landmarks and museums.
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