After almost a decade of planning, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights officially opens Monday, June 23 in downtown Atlanta.
Center CEO Doug Shipman says Atlanta’s former mayor Shirley Franklin felt the city’s rich history made it the right choice for the center.
“There are two Presidential Medal of Freedom winners that literally are neighbors, between C.T. Vivian and John Lewis,” said Shipman. “There are icons walking around all the time. And I think when they approached Shirley Franklin, they wanted a place that people who did not know them would be able to be inspired by them.”
The museum has permanent exhibits about the civil rights movement, including the personal papers of Martin Luther King Jr. It will also have rotating exhibits about ongoing struggles worldwide.
Shipman says the most impressive part of the center’s opening is the passion of civil rights activists.
”The hopefulness that they maintain in the face of the worst of humanity, and being able to get up every day and not only keep going, but to believe that the people they’re working against will someday see the light and be reconciled back to be better, is stunning.”