January and February are great months for celebrating the history and culture of African Americans. Since 1986, most Americans have observed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—a federal holiday that marks the birthday of the celebrated civil rights leader—on the third Monday of January each year. Additionally, February is officially Black History Month. So, what better way to commemorate a rich heritage than going to Atlanta, often called the “Black Mecca” of the U.S. This capital city is the largest in the state of Georgia and has been a major African American political and cultural center for decades. It has also served as a prime organizing spot for the Civil Rights Movement. Moreover, with hotels in downtown Atlanta, as well as the newly opened Atlanta Streetcar, you will have no problems visiting the following landmarks:
Atlanta History Center
Founded in 1926 and occupying more than 30 acres of land, the Atlanta History Center functions as a museum that emphasizes Atlanta’s role in United States history. It currently has 12 exhibits, one of which is entitled “Voices Across the Color Line: The Atlanta Student Movement.” Putting together documents, pictures, videos, and oral history interviews with Atlanta student leaders, “Voices Across the Color Line” presents a city that was very much a part of the turbulent Civil Rights Movement of the ‘60s.
National Center for Civil and Human Rights
On June 23, 2014, a new museum with a more refined focus on the Civil Rights Movement opened in downtown Atlanta, with the help of two of the era’s prominent activists: House Representative John Lewis and former mayor Andrew Young. Juanita Abernathy, the widow of Ralph David Abernathy—one of Dr. King’s associates during his lifetime—was also a contributor. Located next to other points of interest like the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights presents exhibits that not only showcase the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S., but also that of human rights movements all over the world. “Voice to the Voiceless: The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection” is an amalgamation of King’s letters and papers, and “Rolls Down Like Water: The American Civil Rights Movement” is an interactive gallery consisting of chronological sections that start with the Jim Crow era.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic Site
What’s unique about the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic Site—which was founded in 1980—is its more personal tone. Here you get to see Dr. King’s Birth Home; the preserved home where the civil rights leader grew up. You also get to see the original Ebenezer Baptist Church building, where Dr. King and his father, Martin Luther King, Sr., pastored. The site also serves as the final resting place of King and his wife Coretta Scott, who started the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change—better known as the King Center—soon after his assassination in 1968. Also, be sure to make a stop along the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame, a pathway with footsteps marked in granite and bronze that serves as a tribute to participants in the Civil Rights Movement.
Each year, thousands of travelers and locals alike congregate to the city of Atlanta to celebrate the city’s rich history, heritage and roots in the Civil Rights Movement. Come be a part of this important celebration of American History with a stay at the Ellis Hotel. Located in the heart of historic downtown Atlanta, the Ellis Hotel places you merely moments from the top historic sites and other attractions during your stay. From the minute you step out the front door, you can quickly board Atlanta’s Streetcar and be transported to the MLK, Jr. Historic Site, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and many more of the city’s top attractions. For comfort, convenience and so much more, book your Atlanta accommodations at the Ellis Hotel today!