Amid Unrest, Atlanta Center Carries Relevance; History of Civil Rights Movement Hits Home with Today's Headlines

By McDonald, Lauren | The Florida Times Union, June 25, 2015 | Go to article overview

Amid Unrest, Atlanta Center Carries Relevance; History of Civil Rights Movement Hits Home with Today's Headlines


McDonald, Lauren, The Florida Times Union


Byline: Lauren McDonald

ATLANTA | Fifty years ago, American civil rights activists fought for equality through nonviolent demonstrations and protests.

And as the same kinds of human rights campaigns take place around the world today, the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, which celebrated its first anniversary on Tuesday, brings visitors face-to-face with this ongoing battle.

"It's more than a civil rights museum," said interim CEO Deborah Richardson. "The exhibits have relevance to what's happening in the world right now. It gives you a context for what we're seeing in the news today. We didn't just wake up and get to this place as a country."

Thousands of visitors toured the center's three galleries in its first year, including more than 50,000 students.

"It puts the American Civil Rights Movement in the context of these larger global issues going on today," said Jill Savitt, curator of the Human Rights exhibit.

Tony Award-winning playwright George C. Wolfe curated the interactive exhibit on the Civil Rights Movement.

"He describes the Civil Rights gallery as a play that you walk through," Richardson said. "So he intends for it to be an emotional experience for you."

The exhibit includes a sit-in simulation, where visitors can take a seat at a diner counter and experience the taunting and aggression faced by activists who participated in sit-ins across the county. …

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