Tuesday, June 24, 2014

National Center for Civil and Human Rights opens its doors

Posted By and on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 2:29 PM

  • Joeff Davis
  • The choir led by Musical Director Trey Clegg was one of the opening ceremony's highlights.
After nearly 10 years of studying, fundraising, construction, and fine-tuning exhibits about the history of a movement that continues today, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights celebrated its official opening. Hundreds of people converged in Pemberton Place, the plaza outside the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola near Centennial Olympic Park, to hear speakers including Congressman John Lewis, Sen. Johnny Isakson, Mayor Kasim Reed, former Atlanta City Council President Lisa Borders, and former Mayor Shirley Franklin. The 42,000-square-foot museum designed by Phil Freelon - you can read his thoughts on the design here - centers around Martin Luther King Jr.'s personal papers, including the original script of his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Visitors are also given an interactive experience of the Civil Rights Movement, replete with a virtual lunch counter sit-in protest where attendees can put themselves in activists' shoes. The approximately $70 million attraction also looks toward the present as it recognizes human rights struggles around the world.

After the jump, additional photos from the opening ceremony.

  • Joeff Davis
  • After the ceremony, the crowd gathered at the center's entrance to be among its first official visitors.

John Lewis
  • Joeff Davis
  • Congressman John Lewis, himself a civil rights icon, reminded the crowd that the planing for the March on Washington, the Poor People's Campaign, and the Selma protests all took place in Atlanta. He called the city the 'capital of the modern civil rights movement.'

Siemens viewing area
  • Joeff Davis
  • Corporations reserved special areas of the event.

  • Joeff Davis
  • Former Mayor Shirley Franklin, who played a key role in the MLK documents, addresses the crowd.

Children listening
  • Joeff Davis
  • Young women attending the Dream Big summer camp sat and listened to the speakers.

Selling drawings
  • Joeff Davis
  • A police officer and security guard tell artist Michael Bailey he must leave the premises. He said they claimed he was trying to sell something and was told to leave because he was on private property, "This is public property, man," he told CL. "I have rights, this is the Civil Rights museum, right?" When CL asked security if the park was private property, the officer said it was. He refused to give his name or job title.

  • Joeff Davis
  • Is it ironic to use a drone at a civil rights ceremony?

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