Skip to content

Take a trip through National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta: It appeals to your senses

Clockwise from top left: Barbara Cross, daughter of Rev. John Cross, former pastor of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. and Katrina Robertson Reed, first cousin of Carole Robinson (decedent in 16th Street Baptist Church bombing); Dr. ML King; Wall of Heroes; Wall of notorious dictators; and exterior of National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Clockwise from top left: Barbara Cross, daughter of Rev. John Cross, former pastor of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and Katrina Robertson Reed, first cousin of Carole Robinson (decedent in 16th Street Baptist Church bombing); Dr. ML King; Wall of Heroes; Wall of notorious dictators; and exterior of National Center for Civil and Human Rights

5 reasons you should visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Tony Award-winning director and playwright George C. Wolfe (Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, Bring in ‘da Noise/Bring in ‘da Funk) is enjoying a new title. He’s the opening exhibition’s chief creative officer for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights’ “Rolls Down Like Water: the American Civil Rights Movement” gallery. It’s where you will find inspiration.

The entire $80 million, 42,000 square foot facility bridges past, present and future with its series of exhibitions. During a private tour in which this writer engaged, days before the grand opening to the public, she took a journey that can be described simply as an extraordinary experience: leaving me proud, tearful and anxious at the same time. The Wolfe-designed gallery is interactive and appeals to all your senses, much like all the exhibits throughout. 

Here you’ll see what’s in store.

Hear: If you ever wonder what it was like to participate in a lunch counter demonstration at a “Whites Only” restaurant in the Jim Crow South, at one civil rights exhibit, you can pick up the headphones, place your hands on the counter and listen to audio simulating the heckling the demonstrators endured.  

See: Voice to the Voiceless: The Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr., Collection, which presents papers, writings, and personal items that belonged to Dr. King. The rotating exhibit is housed in an intimate, peaceful gallery, allowing deep insight into the life of a man who changed the world. Stand face-to-face, in front of “talking mirrors,” with human rights champions whose triumphant and heroic stories will inspire you.

Touch: Spark of Conviction: The Global Human Rights Movement, which examines many present-day human rights issues around the world, offering valuable context, tugs at your emotions and spawns you to do something!

Smell: The roses. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is just minutes away from Centennial Park. Strategically placed near the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coke. It’s one of six major venues in the area, including the CNN Center and the forthcoming College Football Hall of Fame.

Taste: Get a taste of what it feels like to stand up for your rights and those of the oppressed. While the Center is housed in Atlanta, the issues that are addressed are global. 

Admission is $15, with discount for seniors, children and military. The hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The address is 100 Ivan Allen Blvd. For more information, visit www.cchrpartnership.org.