Recognized as a cultural capital for America’s black citizens, Atlanta represents both the civil rights struggle in America of the past and the great legacy of black Americans. In particular, Martin Luther King Jr. is practically synonymous with both Atlanta and Black History Month. Atlanta has many events scheduled to help the public celebrate.
450 Auburn Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30312
There are many places in Atlanta dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy. Some of these include public art such as statues and plaques, but few give people the chance to learn as much as the National Park Service’s Martin Luther King Visitor Center. Located on historic Auburn Avenue, there are video programs accessible to children as well as a special exhibition called “Courage to Lead.” The National Park Service is also in charge of The King Center, MLK’s birthplace, located nearby.
Start: Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic District
End: Underground Atlanta
Date: Feb. 23 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The Martin Luther King Visitor Center is open throughout the year, but Auburn Avenue will also be hosting its once-a-year Black History Parade on the 23rd. This is a perfect complement to the somber history of the civil rights movement because it focuses on celebrating the unique cultural accomplishments of blacks across America. The parade will feature marching bands, an Atlanta staple, as well as music from every genre imaginable. These entertainers will make this event fun for people of all ages.
Related: Most Iconic Works of Art in Atlanta
50 Alabama St.
Atlanta, GA 30303
Similar to the Black History Parade, Underground Atlanta offers a very accessible entry point to black history. The location is very well traveled, and besides the shopping options, there are actually a few interesting pieces of history. There are railcars which used to be a big part of Atlanta, but more importantly there is also a place to see plantation quilts. There is somewhat of an academic controversy over the claims that these antebellum blankets were actually “Quilt Codes.” Some have claimed that secret messages or maps were written into the patterns of these quilts. This claim aside, these handmade works of art are still worth seeing.
130 W. Paces Ferry Road N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30305
The Atlanta History Center will be displaying a traveling exhibit starting February 1st which will last through July 7. “Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: How the Word is Passed Down” is presented as a partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Drawing on oral history from almost two hundred people, this exhibit illustrates the lives of enslaved blacks in the Jefferson estate. The hypocrisy of the great American historical figure is something still relevant today and worth exploring. This is an exhaustive look at every aspect of black families traced through stories down to their contemporary descendants.
223 James P. Brawley Drive S.W.
Atlanta, GA 30314
Clarke Atlanta University has a permanent collection of over 600 pieces, which it defines as African, African American and Contemporary American. Perhaps most prominent is Hale Woodruff’s “Art of Negro” mural series located in the atrium. Mostly developed between 1940-1970, CAU’s collection of art tells a cultural story of America from the black perspective. Household names like Romare Bearden, Radcliff Bailey and Henry O. Tanner are just some of the artists represented.