History in the Making: From the Civil War to Civil Rights

Atlanta has been the seat of radical change since its rebirth following the Civil War, producing bold leaders who have altered the course of history. Pastors of its historic African-American churches founded the city’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). From those sprung the civil rights movement. That legacy has been preserved and is documented throughout the city in museums, monuments, landmarks, and public art.  

Start your visit at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birth Home and see where the family lived for the first 12 years of young Dr. King’s life. Tour the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where both King Sr. and Jr. preached their ministry of equality and nonviolence, and where King Jr. was both baptized and mourned. Hear them deliver the historic sermons and speeches, including the famous “I Have a Dream” speech. 

The birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

See one of the South’s first desegregated fire houses, Fire Station No. 6, at the MLK National Historical Park, where you can also walk in the actual footsteps of those who fought for social justice on the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame

The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park explores Dr. King’s life and legacy

Put on headphones at a mock lunch counter at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and experience the angry insults hurled at non-violent protesters at a sit-in fighting for desegregation. 

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights recreates historic experiences

At The King Center, which continues the legacy of Dr. King’s nonviolent social justice ministry, immerse yourself in the writings and sermons that helped inspire radical change. Pay your respects at Dr. and Mrs. King’s Tomb, and at the Historic Oakland Cemetery where other civil rights leaders are buried, along with thousands of Confederate soldiers.
Learn more about Atlanta’s civil rights legacy.

Historic Oakland Cemetery is the final resting place of a number of Civil Rights leaders

Discover More

Get to know Atlanta, and discover the best things to do around the city.