The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.


– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Resources for Learning

Education can spark action. The Center provides tools and resources to help our visitors maximize their experience. Whether you visit alone, with a group or as part of a school trip, you can prepare for your visit and find ideas for conversations when you leave.


When educators bring students to The Center, they are providing a unique experience that connects the U.S. Civil Rights Movement to global human rights movements today.


We seek to provoke students’ critical thinking about the relevance of history to inspire them to protect human rights in their communities and the wider world.

Groups & Families

Groups and families can schedule self-guided tours and download our educational resources. Each panel, image, and artifact we present provides a learning opportunity.

What are Human Rights?

Human Rights = A Life of Freedom + Dignity

The yearning to be free and live with dignity is shared by every human being on the planet. But how do we define such a life?

Philosophers, clergy, and even individuals have their own definitions, but in legal and practical terms, the minimum requirements for a life of freedom and dignity can be measured by a set of international standards called “human rights.”

Human rights – the right to think and speak freely, to vote, to receive a basic education, and to be free from torture or enslavement, among others – are innate:  people are born with these rights, and always have them, just because they are human.  And these rights never go away:  individuals retain them even if those in power do not recognize or enforce them.

Where Are Human Rights Defined?

Human rights standards and principles appear in all major religious texts and the founding documents of many countries – from the Magna Carta and the French Declaration on the Rights of Man to the U.S. Constitution and the more recent constitutions of India, South Africa and other nations.

On December 10, 1948, drawing on cultural, religious, and legal traditions from around the world, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) – a “Bill of Rights for all humankind.”

In 1948, just after World War II and in response to its brutality, the global community united to define the inalienable human rights of all people. This definition took the form of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Adopted unanimously by the United Nations on December 10, 1948, the UDHR is a global Bill of Rights. The UDHR begins by stating that “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.” Its 30 articles itemize the basic human rights of all people, and state that governments bear the primary responsibility for upholding and enforcing human rights.

  • Download the UDHR.
  • The UDHR was drafted under the leadership of an American woman, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
  • Social justice, civil rights activists, civil liberties groups and religious groups, including the NAACP, W.E.B. Dubois, American Bar Association and American Jewish Association called on the UN to institutionalize peace-making.
  • The Guinness Book of World Records lists the UDHR as the most translated document in the world.
  • All 192 member states of the UN have signed an agreement in support of the UDHR.
  • The UDHR was used as a framework for the UN to create the Millennium Development Goals.

Understanding Civil Rights and Human Rights

Martin Luther King Jr. Resources

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the his colleagues led the civil rights movement. Dr. King became the most prominent voice decrying the immorality of segregation and discrimination.


Installations are the individual components that make up each of The Center’s exhibition galleries. Click on one of our interactive installations features to learn more.


Fragments is an art installation featuring metal shapes engraved with King’s words in his distinctive handwriting…

Human Rights Champions

Throughout history, brave and visionary people have devoted themselves to fighting for equality, dignity and freedom. This wall features portraits of prominent human rights…

Affiliate Partner Schools