National Center For Civil and Human Rights Officially Opens

Jun 23, 2014

The National Center for Civil and Human rights is officially open. 

A visitor to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights reads a quote from Margaret Mead on the center's fountain.
Credit Dan Raby / WABE

The morning’s ceremony featured several speakers as they all talked about the importance of Atlanta’s newest downtown attraction.

WABE's Rose Scott has the story.

Musical selections that underscored the civil rights movement were sung by the Community Choir.

Georgia U.S Senator Johnny Iskason said it was fitting and proper that the center call Atlanta home.

“The history of our city and our country is based on civil and human rights.  So we welcome the world to Atlanta, Georgia. We welcome the world to come to this center for civil & rights to learn.”

Iskason was followed by Georgia Congressman John Lewis and then Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. 

Visitors line up to purchase tickets for the newly-opened center.
Credit Dan Raby / WABE

“From this day forward, let the NCCHR stand as a deep, abiding and personal thank-you to individuals known and unknown that helped, that gave a hand so that their work and sacrifice is never ever taken for granted,” said Reed.

Mayor Reed also thanked his predecessor Shirley Franklin.

Along with the late Evelyn Lowery, Franklin is among a core of Atlantans with the center’s vision.

After the ceremony, Shirley Franklin talked about her personal experience of going through the center.

“Because the way it is designed, you can turn in any direction and there’s an experience, there’s a voice, there’s a song, there’s stories of people.  And then I realized that we really had accomplished what we were trying to do which is to say that no one person owns this. This history is a history of thousands of people and we tell hundreds of those stories.”

Downtown Atlanta’s newest development is also an economic booster, says Atlanta City Council president Caesar Mitchell.

“You have now three incredible destinations with the aquarium and the world of Coca-Cola.

Mitchell says the National Center for Civil and Human Rights is part of the city’s continuing movement to become one of the nation’s top tourist destinations.

The 42-thousand square foot center features interactive galleries of the civil rights movement, human rights and the Morehouse Dr. King collection.