Atlanta, Georgia is often referred to as the ‘cradle of the civil rights movement’. Due to the large number of historically black colleges and universities – a natural breeding ground for young, bright leaders – it became the epicenter of civil rights activism between 1940 to 1970. From the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr., to the legacy the civil rights movement left behind, these are the top attractions when exploring this important period of American history.
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
Located around Auburn Avenue, the street where Dr. King grew up, lies one of the most moving monuments to the American Civil Rights Movement. Visitors can immerse themselves in the story of this leader who created massive change in American society. These are the specific landmarks you shouldn’t miss:
Martin Luther King’s Boyhood Home
Walk through the halls of the house where Dr. King spent his formative years. Entrance is only possible by guided tour, which should be booked in advance at the information desk of the visitor’s center. Tickets for the tour are free.
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Visit the church where both Martin Luther King Jr. and his father pastored the local community. King spent his entire life at this Atlanta church, and after his assassination the funeral was held here. Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m daily, free admission.
The King Center
The King Center was founded in 1968 by Mrs. Coretta Scott King, wife of Dr. King, following his death. The center promotes nonviolent social change as well as educating visitors on Dr. King’s life work and legacy. The site is also home to the final resting place of Dr. King, a pilgrimage site for many who wish to pay their respects to the great leader.
The Apex Museum
For a larger overview of the American Civil Rights Movement and the history that lead to it, the Apex Museum is the place to go. The APEX Museum includes interactive exhibits which tell the story of history from an African American perspective.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., admission is $6.00 for ages 5 and up.
National Center for Civil and Human Rights
This museum, located in downtown Atlanta, is dedicated to both the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement and present-day worldwide human rights issues. Exhibits cover human rights issues across the globe. Opened in 2014, this museum has already distinguished itself as one of Atlanta’s most worthwhile attractions.
Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10:00 a.m.– 5:00 p.m and Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 3-12.
The Carter Center
Founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, The Carter Center is an important non-profit organization which works towards equal rights, peace, and eradicating disease. Due to the incredible success of these programs, President Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. Visitors can take a look at some of the center’s initiatives at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library next door.
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