Center for Civil and Human Rights

Visiting the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta is a powerful opportunity to learn about the United States Civil Rights movement and human rights movements around the world. Kids in upper elementary school and older will get the most out of an experience at this museum.

The center has three permanent galleries and one temporary exhibition space. In the “Spark of Conviction: The Global Human Rights Movement” gallery, the wall of mirrors introduces people all over the world who live in areas plagued by violence and prejudice. We also saw portraits of human rights leaders such as Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt and Nelson Mandela opposite pictures of dictators who committed acts of evil.

We learned about how some countries allow children to be employed in “sweat shops” making items that we use here. We saw stories of children making soccer balls all day and working on cocoa plantations for little or no money. We discussed how that differs from the life she knows. We expressed our thankfulness by adding a message to the “I Am Screen” at the exhibit.

In “Rolls Down Like Water: The American Civil Rights Movement,” we were drawn to a bus covered in pictures of those who participated in the “Freedom Rides.” There were many video clips throughout the gallery that continued to share these historical moments, including a room that honored the four young girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Ala. Stained glass windows that hang high on the wall depict each little girl with her name.

An educator’s guide, available on the center’s website, includes kid-level explanations of concepts like civil disobedience, discussion and reflection activities, an overview of kids’ rights, descriptions of historical heroes and crossword puzzles and a word searches.

We also visited the “Voice to the Voiceless” Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection. On display here are portions of Dr. King’s most honored speeches, handwritten on scraps of paper with markings and changes throughout. I used the moments we stood surrounded by his work to share with my daughter the value in making your voice heard to change the world for the better.

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