The Center's Progress


National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Feasibility Study

Shirley Franklin commissioned a benchmarking and feasibility study from Central Atlanta Progress and The Boston Consulting Group.


Benchmarking and feasibility study shared with a broad audience of community members. The study included visitation and financial data from other cultural institutions and museums, Atlanta tourism information and resulted in recommendations for sustainable fundraising and operating principles.

Working Group Convenes

Blue Ribbon Working Group convened. The group is tasked with laying the groundwork for a nonprofit organization to support the idea and gathering the necessary support.

Content Council

Content Council convened. The group is tasked with creating lists of key movements and moments in history that must be captured in the exhibitions. The Council includes representation from historians, Civil Rights Movement veterans, human rights activists and educators.

CCHR Partnership

Mayor Franklin announces Center for Civil and Human Rights Partnership, the independent 501c3 organization that will raise funds and conduct programming for the planned Center.

A Major Gift

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc provides $1 million gift for pre-development activities. This is the first million dollar gift for the Center effort.

Exhibit Partner

Rockwell Group announced as exhibit design partner.

Land Donated

The Coca-Cola Company announced a 2.5 acre land parcel donation at Pemberton Place in Downtown Atlanta, the site of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Architects & Designers

Architecture designs narrowed to five for community input in a series of open, town-hall style meetings. Feelon/HOK announced as building architects. Walter Hood announced as landscape designer.

Chief Creative Officer

George C. Wolfe announced as Chief Creative Officer designing the civil rights exhibitions. In this role he is responsible for creating an interactive, multi-sensory visitor experience. Working together with exhibition design firm Gallagher & Associates, Wolfe conceptualizes Center permanent exhibitions and installations that will bring civil and human rights to life using a storytelling approach.


Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers exhibition rights paid in full. Morehouse College retains ownership of the 50,000 item collection, and the Center retains exclusive rights to display the items.

Human Rights Exhibitions

Jill Savitt announced as Human Rights Exhibition Coordinator designing the human rights exhibitions. Savitt brings genocide prevention expertise to the Center, as well as work with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Dream for Darfur and has extensive experience with strategic communications for human rights issues.

Construction Firm

Russell, Moody, Holder Joint Venture announced as construction management firm. The Russell, Moody, Holder Joint Venture is charged with executing the visionary architectural design of the Freelon /HOK architectural Design Team which uses the iconic “linked arms” motif to reinforce the National Center for Civil and Human Rights’ mission. Michael Russell, Dave Moody and Tommy Holder share a long history of collaboration on major projects of this size and scope. They have worked on over fifty joint ventures including urban projects and cultural institutions.

Construction Begins


Phase I Construction funding complete

The Center received $24 million in funding thanks to a creative deal put together by Invest Atlanta and PNC bank.

Building Complete

March - The first phase of construction of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights is complete.

Grand Opening

May - The National Center for Civil and Human Rights will officially open its doors to the public.