Civil Rights Movement

The National Center for Human and Civil Rights

Explore Atlanta’s Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement

The American Civil Rights Movement is irrevocably bound with the city of Atlanta. This is the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who shaped and guided one of the greatest nonviolent movements for social change the world has ever witnessed. The 1950s and ‘60s saw Black citizens in Atlanta fighting with conviction and courage to end segregation, protect their right to vote, claim equal access to educational institutions and create economic opportunities for their community. It was a fight rooted in a philosophy of nonviolence, and its powerful message rang out across the nation, inspiring others to stand up for the cause in their own hometowns. Freedom fighters have continued their important work into the present, and the fruits of their labor are visible in Atlanta today. 

Follow the footsteps of the civil rights movement in Atlanta at our historic sites and landmarks, such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum. Grow your understanding and appreciation of African-American history and culture at the African-American Panoramic Experience Museum (APEX). Absorb exhibits full of imagery, artifacts and storytelling at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Be inspired by the eternal flame and memorial at The King Center.

The Eternal Flame at the King Center. Photo by James Duckworth.

Atlanta’s civil rights history can also be uncovered outside of formal museums. Experience the rich sights and sounds of the traditionally Black neighborhoods that were the cultural homes of the first civil rights activists, such as the Sweet Auburn district and Cascade Heights. Attend Atlanta churches whose ministers and congregations have cared for Atlanta’s Black communities throughout changing eras. Walk the campuses of Atlanta’s historically Black colleges and universities, and participate in the many events that mark the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and Black History Month.

The Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached.

Atlanta’s progressive character combined with its civil rights legacy creates a city determined to honor the past as it builds the future. Come see what we’re doing!

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