Atlanta, Georgia is one of the most important places in regards to the Civil Rights Movement. But it’s also home to Black cultural leaders like filmmaker Tyler Perry, Bronner Bros. beauty brand, and record labels like So So Def.
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Atlanta Daily World
The Atlanta Daily World is the city’s oldest black newspaper, founded in 1928 by William Alexander Scott II, a graduate of Morehouse College. It continues to operate to this day and has newsstands at the Atlanta airport.
The newspaper relocated after a 2008 tornado but the former office in Sweet Auburn is now the home of Refuge Coffee Co., a coffee shop that supports incoming refugees with job training.
Atlanta University Center
The Atlanta University Center is the epicenter of the city’s historically black colleges and universities, including Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University.
All three institutions date back to the 1800s and have a prestigious legacy of education. Notable alumni include civil rights leader Ralph David Abernathy, writer Alice Walker, restauranteur Pinky Cole, and director Spike Lee.
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Ebenezer Baptist Church is known as the place where Martin Luther King Jr. and his father both served as pastors. But that’s only part of this church’s legacy.
Founded in 1886, Ebenezer has held important events like civil rights marches and funerals for Martin Luther King Jr. and Congressman John Lewis. The current pastor, Raphael Warnock, is now a United States Senator.
Herndon House Museum
Alonzo Herndon became the city’s first black millionaire after founding his company, Atlanta Life Insurance Company, in 1905. A former slave, Herndon found success managing barbershops and later in real estate.
He built his home in 1910 not far from his office in Sweet Auburn. The Beaux-Arts mansion now operates as a museum, interpreting Herndon’s lasting legacy.
Martin Luther King National Historic Site
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is made up of a cluster of buildings related to the Civil Rights leader. It includes the National Parks System visitor’s center, which has the wagon that carried King’s casket, along with his church, childhood home, and a historic fire station.
The King Center for Nonviolent Change is also here, which has King and his wife’s tombs. Inside the center are exhibits on King’s life including his Grammy for best spoken word album and the key from his room at the Lorraine Motel.
Paschal’s is a restaurant founded in 1947 as a humble sandwich shop by brothers Robert and James Paschal. In the following years, the business boomed, expanding to a larger building and later a jazz club and hotel.
The restaurant welcomed all people during segregation and was a meeting place for Civil Rights leaders like Jesse Jackson and Fannie Lou Hamer. Paschal’s is now located in Castleberry Hill and has the same beloved dishes like sweet potato pie and fried chicken.
Sweet Auburn is like a living Black history museum, the neighborhood that political leader John Wesley Dobbs famously called the “richest Negro street in the world” in 1956.
Learn more about this area at the Apex Museum and the Auburn Avenue Research Library. Pay your respects to the late congressman at the large-scale mural of John Lewis by artist Sean Schwab. The neighborhood can be explored with Civil Bikes, a company offering Civil Rights focused walking and biking tours.
South-View Cemetery was established in 1886 in South Atlanta exclusively for Black Atlantans in the wake of Reconstruction. It’s the final resting place of baseball great Hank Aaron, Royal Peacock owner Carrie Cunningham, businessman Alonzo Herndon, and civil rights heroes Representative John Lewis, Julian Bond, and John Wesley Dobbs.
Two members of the Tuskegee Airmen are also interred here. Martin Luther King Jr. was originally buried in the cemetery but was relocated to his tomb at the King Center.