Atlanta played an integral role in the American civil rights movement. As the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it takes its place in history as a city where the seeds of change were sown. That legacy is on display in museums and cultural institutions that honor the people and events that helped shape modern history. Dive in and explore this rich history at these important institutions.

The King Center

The King Center is a 23-acre living memorial and educational center dedicated to honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Its mission is to further social change using his philosophy of nonviolence to create a more just, humane, peaceful world. From his birth home to nearby Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where both he and his father preached, to his final resting place and the Eternal Flame, the King Center honors Dr. King’s legacy. Be inspired for a better future through his personal writings, speeches, and exhibits that document the impact he had and his ability to lead and effect change through nonviolent means.

National Center for Civil and Human Rights

More than a museum, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights is an interactive cultural center that explores Atlanta’s place in the fight for equality for Black Americans, and connects the American civil rights movement to global human rights movements around the world. From thriving Auburn Avenue, a symbol of Black empowerment, to the March on Washington, be inspired by the stories of those who led the struggle for equality. Listen to the oral histories of the Freedom Riders, who in 1961, boarded Greyhound buses to challenge the South’s refusal to recognize the Supreme Court decision that ruled segregated public buses unconstitutional. Slip on a pair of headphones and sit at a lunch counter to experience the atmosphere non-violent protesters would have endured during the sit-ins of the 1960s. In the Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection gallery, discover rotating exhibits from The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Atlanta History Center

The Atlanta History Center encompasses 33 acres, and features an expansive history museum, two historic homes, a research library, oral history booth, and extensive gardens and trails. The History Center also operates the Margaret Mitchell House, located in Midtown. That two-acre site features the home where Mitchell wrote her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Gone With the Wind,” and exhibits documenting her life and the famous movie of the same name. 

The History Center also features “Cyclorama: The Big Picture,” an interactive exhibit of the enormous 1886 painting “The Battle of Atlanta.” Nearly 50 feet tall and stretching longer than a football field, standing in front of the full color, three-dimensional painting in the 1880s was the equivalent of virtual reality today, transporting viewers onto the battlefield during the 1864 Battle of Atlanta. Visitors today are greeted with a video that examines the myths and truths of the Civil War. Then they enter the painting rotunda through a tunnel, and ascend the escalator to a viewing platform 15 feet up for an immersive experience where they get a 360-degree view of the painting, enhanced by technology with a 12-minute larger-than-life theatrical presentation projected onto the painting.

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