Inside the Center for Civil and Human Rights


Welcome to the Center for Civil and Human Rights. My name is Nicole Moore, and I’m the
Manager of Education here. At the Center for Civil and Human Rights, it’s our mission to empower you to take the
protection of every human’s rights personally, and so we do that by telling
the stories of the American Civil Rights Movement and tying it with the global Human Rights Movement. At the center we have three unique gallery experiences. And on our very first floor you have Voice to the Voiceless, the Morehouse
College Martin Luther King Jr. collection. In this space, it rotates
every three or four months and what you’ll be able to experience are the
actual papers and documents of Dr. King. So you’re going to see his books, letters,
telegraphs, outlines of his speeches, and this is one of the few places in the
world that you’re going to actually see his original papers. Coming up to our second floor,
which is actually our main floor, you’re going to see Rolls Down Like Water,
the American Civil Rights Movement. And this gallery brings you through in 1954 so
you start to see a segregated Atlanta. And you’re going to go all the way until
April of 1968, with the assassination of Dr. King in Memphis, Tennessee. When students walk into the space, what you’re going to notice immediately is that you’re going to see the segregationists and you’re going to hear their voices. But we not only focus on the segregation, we also look at how African-American
communities thrived in this environment. And so you’re going to see the institutions
in Atlanta that made it Atlanta great. You’re going to take a look at Sweet
Auburn and you’re going to see the Royal Peacock. You’re going to see colleges like
Morehouse and Spelman, so you’re going to see how these communities
were able to stay successful when basically the odds are stacked against them. And then coming into our second portion,
which is A Movement Catches Fire. And what you’re going to see then
is you’re going to meet individuals, like Ruby Bridges, the six-year-old
who integrated her school in Lousiana. You’re going to see Rosa Parks
and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. One of the most emotional yet important pieces
I think of the Center is our sitting counter. Visitors are invited to sit at the
lunch counter and go through a simulation of what it would have been like to actually sit and hear the torments
and the taunts and understand that non-violence was not passive-aggressive. So you get to experience just a small portion
of what they would have experienced. And you get to ask yourself, “Could I have done it?” But the one thing
that really brings people together is when they come into the space that we’re
in right now, which is The March on Washington. And in August 1963, over
250,000 people—black, white, Latino, Asian— they all descended upon Washington, DC to
fight for jobs and freedoms. And it was the largest peaceful
protest held in our country at that time. Many of you guys know the March on Washington for Dr.
King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but here you’re going to learn about A. Philip
Randolph and Dorothy Height and Bayard Rustin, the organizers of the events. They had a list of demands that they presented, and they had various speakers,
so that everybody could understand that we can have a peaceful protest and all
we want is jobs and freedom and equality in that. In Spark of Conviction: The
Global Human Rights Movement, you’re going to take the experiences that you
learned during the American Civil Rights Movement and you’re going to understand that these
issues aren’t just in the United States. You’re going to see protests from all over the world. So when you walk into the space,
you’ll see these mirrors and they’ll ask “Who like you?” And you’ll have different adjectives that you can choose from to say who like you is threatened around the world. And what happens is once you
choose an adjective, there’s a person that comes and talks to you in this mirror. And based on the adjective that you chose, that’s going to be your experience
if you were to go to their country. And so we use that to bring the
connection to you so that you understand that these issues are very real, and it’s
up to us to make sure that we can change how these rights are viewed. You’ll also be introduced to some
defenders of human rights like Nelson Mandela, Dr. King again, and Gandhi. You’re also gonna see some of the
offenders of human rights, like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin,
Pol Pot, and Uganda’s Idi Amin. And in this space we want
you to understand that these groups of people either
helped or harmed large groups of people. And when you understand that, and then see in the
middle of the space modern-day human rights defenders, you’ll see that human
rights and activism doesn’t look a certain way. And so it doesn’t matter if
you don’t have the very best in clothing or you’re not all clean-cut, are you
willing to make a change? And are you willing to take a stand?
And that’s what really matters. But no matter what you take away from
the Center for Civil and Human Rights, we hope that you’re inspired to act and that you take the
protection of every human’s rights personally.

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