Updated: Dec 8, 2020
On Sunday, February 4th, I took an adventure to a place in my city that I hadn't ventured to before and I am disappointed I had not went there prior to that day. On that day, I visited Atlanta's Center for Civil and Human Rights and today I'm going to tell you about my visit. Below you will see the picture of the museum (on the right) and the Paula Scher Mural (on the left) you see upon entry.
I purchased my ticket online so I didn't have to wait in line upon arrival. But there wasn't much of a process noted on what to do for online tickets. I approached security and entered the museum. My ticket wasn't checked until I asked what to do. Soooo...they need to work on their ticket control. I mean this building opened in 2014, so they should have their process together. Maybe someone was new???
Anyway...once I straightened that out, I entered the exhibition hall starting on the main entry level (2nd floor) of the museum; the Rolls Down Like Water: The American Civil Rights Movement Gallery.
Rolls Down Like Water: The American Civil Rights Movement Gallery
Upon entry into this gallery, you see signs saying "Whites" and "Colored". Prior to Civil Rights law, individuals had to use bathrooms based on the color of their skin. All people weren't allowed to use the same bathroom yet all humans perform the same bodily functions.
Then, I proceeded to a simulation of the Sit-ins. The sit-in at Woolworth department store conducted by North Carolina A&T State University students played an instrumental part in leading various sit-ins during the Civil Rights movement. The four students refused to leave the store after being denied service at the lunch counter (learn more about this sit-in here: http://americanhistory.si.edu/brown/history/6-legacy/freedom-struggle-2.html).
Well, the Center simulated this vary movement. You put on your headset, placed your hands on the table, sat on a stool and closed your eyes. At that point, the clock began. The stool would move as if you were being kicked to get off of it. You would hear a lot of explicit words being said to you including threats of death. When you eventually had enough, you would get up and view your time to see how long you could take it. IT WAS INSANE! In my mind, all I could think, was that those four students from NC A&T did this for multiple days! The strength and courage they had is very much appreciated! But I also realized the anger and empowerment they had after what I heard through the headset.
Here is an image of the simulated lunch counter (I wish I could have gotten a picture of me doing it but I did not...**sad face**):
After my simulation, I learned about how Atlanta has been the most progressive city in the South in regards to civil rights. One video talked about how leaders in the City of Atlanta didn't want to attend the ceremony to congratulate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. THE NOBEL PIECE PRIZE! The CEO of Coca-Cola (J. Paul Austin) was able to bring the business elites together to have a sold out event for Dr. King (learn more about this here: http://www.myajc.com/news/how-martin-luther-king-1964-nobel-peace-prize-challenged-atlanta-tolerance/bExE4m07T4KCuOD88E3diK/). Below you will see two quotes found inside the center which discusses the activity Atlanta has brought to us:
Afterwards, I realized those individuals who have streets named after them in Downtown Atlanta were greatly apart of this movement (a question I have been wanting to answer). Individuals such as John Wesley Dobbs, Andrew Young, and Ralph McGill.
After learning this history, I continued through the gallery to see things such as the Letter from Birmingham and the March on Washington. I continued through a room which led me up a staircase describing Dr. King's death. The tears were trying to come sooo HARD! They showed the announcement Robert Kennedy made to confirm his death, description of what happened on the scene, and his funeral.
After trying to keep composure and fight back tears, this gallery ended with a wall displaying the Civil Rights Law and a dedication to all those who died during the movement.
Spark of Conviction: The Global Human Rights Movement Gallery
After moving away from the Civil Rights Movement Gallery, I saw a display about Sports and Movements and the Platon Mural (shown in the picture below) which led to the Spark of Conviction: The Global Human Rights Movement Gallery.
I proceeded into the Human Rights Gallery which displayed how human rights has transformed the world. It discussed the history of Serbia where youth challenged repressive laws in 2000 to Argentinian women performing a silent vigil demanding answers to what happened to their disappeared children in 1985. When you turnaround, you see mirrors with different phrases in which people are grouped by. Here is a picture of me in front of the refugee mirror.
I'm not a refugee and you may not be either but you never know what future events may hold in which you may hold that title. There are some in this world who are refugees in which they are FORCED to leave home because of their need to SURVIVE! They didn't choose to be put into this situation just as any group of people who are discriminated against.
As I walked away from the mirrors, you see visuals of different rights people are fighting for such as for disabilities and for women. You then see images and stories of world leaders on one side of the room (such as Nelson Mandela) while you see images of current dictators and exiled former leaders on the other side. This gallery ends with showing you every day items that places human rights endanger such as the creation of soccer balls, manufacturing of cell phones and picking of flowers. I walk out of this gallery learning about what I can do to help human rights now.
How you can help: 1) Visit www.civilandhumanrights.org; 2) Spread the word by sharing this post; and 3) Volunteer with them (see previously mentioned website).
Voice to the Voiceless: The Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr., Collection Gallery
I move from the third floor down to to the first floor to see The Morehouse College exhibit. This exhibit rotates from time to time and you cannot take pictures in here. But this exhibit was extremely moving. In there, you saw Dr. King's handwritten notes, responses to letters, and speeches. All the originals! You saw photos of him such as one was from him preparing what we now know as his last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church. But the most moving piece for me was his briefcase...the briefcase he was carrying the day he was shot and killed in Memphis, TN. At that point, I was like oh..my...God. It was great to see the items and feel the power and significance of a man who "changed the world".
I know this post was longer than usual but it doesn't capture nearly half of what I saw inside of this building. If you are ever in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, do yourself a favor and visit the Center for Civil and Human Rights. The entry is only $20 USD and right in Centennial Olympic Park (next to the World of Coca-Cola Museum). I end this post with a quote I saw within the Human Rights Gallery...
Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for more travel tips, guides, and Atlanta suggestions! Please comment, subscribe, and check out the rest of the site!
~ Kita the Explorer
***Please note: I am in no way sponsored by the Center for Civil and Human Rights for this post but this Center has me moved. With me being touched, I want everyone to share in this experience. To learn about how you can visit, please check out their website at https://www.civilandhumanrights.org/.