Building a Center for Civil and Human Rights for the future
'The Center is a forward-looking institution. It is not, as some have said, a civil rights museum'
Last week, CL news editor Scott Henry criticized the decision-making process — and the ultimate decision — to locate the planned National Center for Civil and Human Rights next to the World of Coca-Cola and Georgia Aquarium near Centennial Olympic Park. Doug Shipman, the center's executive director, responds.
Questions arise from time to time about the selected location of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, a prime swath of land in Downtown Atlanta on Pemberton Place.
The site is steps from Centennial Olympic Park, adjacent to the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium. The land was donated by The Coca-Cola Company in 2008, and is one of thousands of gestures of support we have received since Ambassador Andrew Young, Evelyn Lowery and The Honorable Shirley Franklin began leading the effort to bring the long-held vision of the Center to life.
From 2006 to 2008, a dedicated group of staff and volunteers assessed the Center’s feasibility, exploring locations, design needs and exhibition content. The potential sites were evaluated by John Grant (100 Black Men of Atlanta), Egbert Perry (Integral Group), Frank Catroppa (King National Historic Site, retired) and Herman Russell (HJ Russell & Company), among other community members. Dozens of locations were considered, but based on the merits of the site including land quality, transportation accessibility, zoning issues, support for the Center’s long-term sustainability and construction logistics, the site at Pemberton Place was recommended and accepted.