Monday, January 4, 2016

Travel: National Center for Civil and Human Rights (Atlanta, GA)

I was not originally that interested in visiting the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (TripAdvisorWebsiteYelp), but my work conference had an activity afternoon and this was one of the choices. The other options didn't appeal to me, so I figured I would give this one a go. Only a handful of others from my conference were on this tour; the majority went to the Coca Cola tour. Honestly, they really missed out.

This museum was so well done (I hesitate to use the word "enjoyed", given the type of content), I came back for a second visit when Cory joined me in Atlanta over the weekend. As a Canadian, the American Civil Rights movement is (was?) not part of our curriculum, and almost everything in the main exhibit about Civil Rights was new to me. I found it to be utterly fascinating, and frankly, shocking.

Here are pictures I took from my second visit.

The Passage Water Sculpture (designed by Larry Kirkland) outside the museum, inspired by Dr. King's words: “until justice rolls down like water”.

A shot of the interior of the museum from the second floor looking down

The Paula Scher protest mural in the lobby

The following images are from the main Rolls Down Like Water: The American Civil Rights Gallery:

When I read these quotes, I immediately thought "how is this not the Onion"?

Cory reading some Jim Crow laws from various states.

The following exhibit was interactive: you place your hands down on a counter, and put on some headphones. The exhibit simulates what it was like to sit-in on a protest at a whites-only lunch counter. The taunts and jeers become louder and louder, and the timer in front of each stool counts how long you can withstand the abuse. It was a very haunting and profound exhibit.

Very disturbing exhibit.

There was a well-done video presentation inside this bus about the Freedom Riders.

And the section about MLK's assassination.

The Requiem exhibit

Platon Human Rights Defender Mural

In the upper level, the exhibit was "Spark of Conviction: The Global Human Rights Movement"

Life-size dictators in the "Rogues Gallery"

A stunningly disturbing "heat map" of political freedom.

I believe at least some of the exhibits are rotating, and others are at least regularly updated. There is also an area downstairs with some of Dr MLK's documents (no photos permitted). The museum's website says to allow an hour for your visit, but I think 2.5 hours is more appropriate if you really want to immerse yourself in the exhibits.

Bottom Line: Absolutely must visit in Atlanta.

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