Civil Rights Itinerary

Get an in-depth look at Atlanta’s past

In the early 1960s, Atlanta became the cultural catalyst for the American civil rights movement. As activists found their center within the Sweet Auburn District, the city built a legacy. Explore these attractions for an in-depth look at Atlanta’s past.

“Atlanta is known for its rich African-American culture,” said Kathleen Bertrand, former ACVB senior vice president of governmental and community affairs. “Visitors to Atlanta may find history, cultural attractions and the spirit of the black family in the many churches, restaurants and attractions in Atlanta.” 

MUNICIPAL MARKET

Wake up with a cup of coffee paired with sweet and savory bites from Sweet Auburn Bread Company. For produce and unique eateries, visit the historic Municipal Market, also known by locals as Sweet Auburn Curb Market.

Address: 209 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30303

Atlanta Municipal Market
Historic Sweet Auburn Curb Market

SWEET AUBURN HISTORIC DISTRICT

The Sweet Auburn District was Atlanta’s first African-American business district. Take a self-guided tour of Sweet Auburn historic district and explore the historic landmarks.

Address: encompasses a mile and a half of Auburn Avenue
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

Also in this district is the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park with the King Birth Home, Ebenezer Baptist Church, a visitor center and the tombs of Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King.

Address: 450 Auburn Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA. 30312
Estimated Time: 1 hour

MLK Birth Home Atlanta GA
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site

INTERNATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS WALK OF FAME

Behind the visitor center is the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame, where the shoe prints of civil rights heroes such as Rosa Parks, Andrew Young, Thurgood Marshall and others are embedded in a memorial.

Address: a 2-minute walk from Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park
Estimated Time: 1 hour

APEX MUSEUM

Visit the APEX Museum (African-American Panoramic Experience) to hear stories of early African-American pioneers who helped transform Atlanta.

Address: 135 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

NATIONAL CENTER FOR CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Near Centennial Olympic Park, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights connects the American civil rights movement to today’s global human rights movements. 

Address: 100 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
Estimated Time: 1 hour

National Center for Civil and Human Rights
National Center for Civil and Human Rights; credit: ACVB Marketing

BUSY BEE CAFÉ

Enjoy traditional soul food at Busy Bee Café. Must-try items include fried, smothered or oven-roasted chicken, pork chops, Southern style veggies and banana pudding for dessert. Or head for Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint, located Downtown on Peachtree Street, and sample sumptuous Southern staples such as fried green tomatoes and beef brisket.

Address: 810 M.L.K. Jr Dr SW, Atlanta, GA 30314

HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

The Atlanta University Center, the world’s largest consortium of historically black colleges and universities, has educated many famous 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 spotlights African-American artists, exhibiting contemporary works, folk art and more at its Museum of Fine Art.

Address: 156 Mildred St SW, Atlanta, GA 30314
Estimated Time: ranges from 1 to 3 hours

Morehouse College Atlanta GA
Aerial shot of Morehouse College in Southwest Atlanta.

HAMMONDS HOUSE MUSEUM

Visit the Hammonds House Museum, which features artists of African descent with more than 350 works in the permanent collection.

Address: 503 Peeples St SW, Atlanta, GA 30310
Estimated Time: 1 hour

Hammonds House Museum
Hammonds House Museum; @christopherbw

HERNDON HOME

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.

Address: 587 University Pl NW, Atlanta, GA 30314
Estimated Time: 1 hour

Atlanta Herndon Home Museum
Atlanta Herndon Home Museum; @christopherbw

THE WREN’S NEST

Tour The Wren’s Nest, home of Joel Chandler Harris, author of the Uncle Remus stories. Harris’s narratives became the first serialized storyline of walking, talking animals. Preserved with the original 1880s furniture, structure and fixtures, the house also hosts storytelling on some Saturdays.

Address: 1050 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30310

The Wren’s Nest Atlanta GA
The Wren’s Nest; credit: Sheretha Bell, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau

PASCHAL’S RESTAURANT

Starting in the 1960s, civil rights leaders and strategists came together for savory cooking at Paschal’s Motor Hotel and Restaurant, now closed. Today, Paschal’s Restaurant in Castleberry Hill still hosts Atlanta’s leaders for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week.

Address: 180 Northside Dr SW, Atlanta, GA 30313

TRUE COLORS THEATRE COMPANY

Check the schedule of True Colors Theatre Company. The company is committed to staging groundbreaking African-American plays.

Address: 915 New Hope Rd, Atlanta, GA 30331

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