U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff is helping create two new Civil Rights exhibits at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta.
Ossoff successfully secured $1.4 million with bipartisan support in Congress to help the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (NCCHR) enhance its exhibits dedicated to teaching civil rights history.
The new resources will enable NCCHR to revitalize its gallery focusing on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., featuring artifacts and special works from the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection. The new gallery will be relocated to a larger space and will include rotating information about activists who inspired Dr. King and other leaders who were influenced by his legacy.
As a part of the exhibit, visitors will be able to sit at Dr. King’s desk and look through his library. There will also be a small reading area for young visitors and children.
With the new resources, NCCHR will also create a new gallery called “Bearing Witness” to shed light on various points of racial violence throughout history and the resilience of the people who were targeted.
“I’m helping upgrade exhibits at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, because this Georgia institution tells the story and keeps the flame lit of civil rights heroes like Dr. King and Congressman Lewis,” Ossoff said in a statement. “I hope more Georgia children will now have the opportunity to learn this vital history and be inspired by the examples of champions for civil and voting rights who made such sacrifices in the pursuit of equal justice for all.”
“Our new galleries — focused on Dr. King and the Reconstruction Era — enhance our teaching of history, and its connection to the world today,” Jill Savitt, President and CEO of the NCCHR. “We’re grateful to Senator Ossoff for helping us deepen our immersive experiences, which serve to create empathy about the past and understanding about the legacy of history in our lives today. Our goal is to help people tap their own power to make sure the rights and dignity of all people are protected.”
“The National Center for Civil and Human Rights plays an important role in teaching the history of the civil rights movement,” said Dr. Vicki Crawford, Director of Morehouse College’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Collection and Professor of Africana Studies at Morehouse College. “Support for exhibitions will help to preserve the rich legacy of the movement and to bring to light lesser-known stories of leaders and everyday people who risked their lives for social change. Given the context of our times and current challenges to democracy, civil rights education is needed now more than ever.”
The NCCHR is planning to mark its 10th anniversary in 2024 with a major expansion. Philanthropist and business mogul Arthur M. Blank has committed $15 million toward the center’s $48 million capital campaign that will add two wings to the downtown museum. The west wing, which will be three stories, will be named for Blank.
This story was updated to correct the amount of money Ossoff secured for the project to $1.4 million.