Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968

Dates and Times
  • Mon, Jul 1, 2019 - Sat, Feb 29, 2020

Woodruff Park
91 Peachtree St NW


Historian and author Karcheik Sims-Alvarado, Ph.D. will present her photography exhibition “Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968,” at Woodruff Park and Freedom Park sponsored the National Black Arts (formerly the National Black Arts Festival).

The photography is sourced from Dr. Sims-Alvarado’s book Images of America: Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968 (Arcadia Publishing, 2017). The book is a portable exhibition that offers a pictorial history of the modern civil rights movement in Atlanta, curated from photographs largely taken by award-winning Associated Press photojournalists. From testing the landmark US Supreme Court decision in Smith v. Allwright to mourning the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the exhibition illustrates how Atlanta came to be recognized as the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement.

“Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968” will be presented at Woodruff Park and stretching across the walking trails at Freedom Park. The exhibition was initially presented as a 4-mile outdoor on  the Eastside and Westside trails of the Atlanta BeltLine and attracted more than 2 million views from June 2018 to July 2019. Today, it is recognized as the longest outdoor exhibition on civil and human rights in the United States. Marrying her experiences as a museum professional and historian, Dr. Sims-Alvarado says, “The photographs tell a beautiful narrative of the struggle, fortitude, and organizational strength of a people determined to eradicate Jim Crow segregation once and for all.”

Celebrating the city’s legacy as the epicenter of the civil rights movement, Dr. Sims-Alvarado used historic photographs to document and to identify the cross-generation of Atlanta activists who changed history. “Honoring the nation’s civil rights leadership in downtown Atlanta and the Old Fourth Ward community is so fitting considering that many of the movement’s leaders lived, organized, and demonstrated in the neighborhoods where the outdoor exhibition exists,” said Dr. Sims-Alvarado.

To ensure that the arts and the learning of the city’s history are accessible to all, she says, “This massive public exhibition allows families in Atlanta to boast that they have a museum, not bound by walls, just walking distance from their homes or schoolyards. They can learn the names and identify the faces of community residents or relatives, both past and present, who helped secure civil and human rights for citizens 100 years since the ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.”

Dr. Karcheik Sims-Alvarado is Assistant Professor of the Africana Studies Department at Morehouse College and the civil rights historian and exhibition consultant with the Nobel Prize Museum in Stockholm. Sweden. She also serves as the CEO of Preserve Black Atlanta, a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to identifying, recording, and preserving African-American history and culture. She has developed a model for utilizing historical and cultural assets as a catalyst for economic and community development in African-American communities.