Mayor Shirley Franklin has launched a partnership with Atlanta Development Authority and Central Atlanta Progress to head the effort to build a Civil Rights Museum in downtown Atlanta.

The Center for Civil and Human Rights (CCHR) Partnership is coordinating pre-development activities, including fundraising, center content, and formalizing a permanent organizational structure for the center.

“The Center for Civil and Human Rights will preserve our civil rights legacy by recognizing the historic contributions of well-known and unsung leaders from Atlanta and Georgia,” Franklin said. “It will also present an opportunity for ongoing engagement with today’s human rights struggles, demonstrating how the lessons of the past can help shape a better future here and abroad. This project will stimulate economic growth across the state and build on the city’s broad range of cultural and educational offerings.”

The mayor said she envisions a day “when integrated transportation networks and cooperative programming enable visitors to move easily among these sites, giving them many options for exploring the stories of our local leaders and heroes.”

The partnership has tapped Doug Shipman as executive director. Shipman will take a leave of absence as a senior manager with Boston Consulting Group.

Cheryl Thomas Strickland, managing director of Tax Allocation Districts of the Atlanta Development Authority and A.J. Robinson, president of Central Atlanta Progress, will lead the efforts of their organizations within the partnership.

“There is tremendous momentum right now,” Strickland said. “Given the current pace of downtown revitalization activities and the city’s successful acquisition of the King Papers, this is exactly the right time to pursue and make the Center a reality. With the interest and heartfelt enthusiasm expressed by so many businesses and community stakeholders, I expect our efforts will result in a truly noteworthy project that we will view with pride for generations to come.”

In fall 2006, The Coca-Cola Co. donated 2.5-acre tract of land adjacent to the World of Coca-Cola for the new Civil Rights Museum.