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Art on the Atlanta BeltLine presents “Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968”

ATLANTA – From July 7 through December 1, 2018, Art on the Atlanta BeltLine will host the photography exhibition “Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968,” curated by historian and author Karcheik Sims-Alvarado, Ph.D. An opening ceremony to celebrate the exhibition will be held at 3:00 p.m. on July 7 on the Westside Trail across from Gordon White Park.

The photography is sourced from Dr. Sims-Alvarado’s book Images of America: Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968 (Arcadia Publishing, 2017). The book is a portable exhibition that offers a pictorial history of the modern civil rights movement in Atlanta, curated from photographs largely taken by award-winning Associated Press photojournalists. From testing the landmark US Supreme Court decision in Smith v. Allwright to mourning the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the exhibition illustrates how Atlanta came to be recognized as the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement.

“Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968” will be presented across four miles of the Eastside and Westside Trails, making it the longest outdoor exhibition on civil and human rights in the United States. Marrying her experiences as a museum professional and historian, Dr. Sims-Alvarado says, “The photographs tell a beautiful narrative of the struggle, fortitude, and organizational strength of a people determined to eradicate Jim Crow segregation once and for all.”

“Honoring the nation’s civil rights leadership right here on the Atlanta BeltLine is so fitting considering that many of the movement’s leaders lived in BeltLine neighborhoods,” said Brian P. McGowan, President and CEO of the Atlanta Beltline, Inc. “We are committed to using our public art program to celebrate and highlight the history and unique culture of our neighborhoods – it is this culture that makes Atlanta great.

Celebrating the city’s legacy as the epicenter of the civil rights movement, Dr. Sims-Alvarado used historic photographs to document and to identify the cross-generation of Atlanta activists who changed history – many of whom resided in the neighborhoods around the Atlanta BeltLine.

To ensure that the arts and the learning of the city’s history are accessible to all, she says, “This massive public exhibition allows families in Atlanta to boast that they have a museum, not bound by walls, just walking distance from their homes or schoolyards. They can learn the names and identify the faces of community residents or relatives, both past and present, who helped secure civil and human rights for citizens 100 years since the ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.”

Dr. Karcheik Sims-Alvarado is the CEO of Preserve Black Atlanta, a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to identifying, recording, and preserving African-American history and culture. Dr. Sims-Alvarado has developed a model for utilizing historical and cultural assets as a catalyst for economic and community development and has worked with some of Atlanta’s leading institutions: the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta History Center, Herndon Home Museum, and Central Atlanta Progress.  

This exhibition was made possible by the following sponsors:

  • Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.                                                      
  • Art on the BeltLine
  • Preserve Black Atlanta, Inc.                                        
  • District 3, Atlanta City Councilmember Ivory L. Young, Jr.
  • Home Depot Cascade, Store 0130                           
  • H.J. Russell & Company
  • Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau                
  • Central Atlanta Progress
  • Fulton County Arts and Culture                                 
  • Atlanta Public Schools
  • Herndon Home Museum                                             
  • Matlock Advertising and Public Relations
  • Post 3 At-Large, Councilmember Andre Dickens
  • Post 2 At-Large, Matt Westmoreland              


About the Atlanta BeltLine

Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.’s vision is to be the catalyst for making Atlanta a global beacon for equitable, inclusive, and sustainable city life. As one of the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment programs in the United States, the Atlanta BeltLine is building a more socially and economically resilient Atlanta with our partner organizations and host communities through job creation, inclusive transportation systems, affordable housing, and public spaces for all. For more information on the Atlanta BeltLine, please visit

About Art on the Atlanta BeltLine

Art on the Atlanta BeltLine is largest temporary public art exhibition in the history of Atlanta. It showcases the work of hundreds of visual artists, performers, and musicians along the Atlanta BeltLine corridor. This spectacular project places working professionals alongside emerging artists, and draws residents and visitors into some of the most unique public spaces in the City of Atlanta, providing powerful new perspectives on the city and its vibrant neighborhoods. The exhibition showcases how art strengthens and beautifies current and former industrial areas and creates signature spaces exemplifying the transformation of the city through the Atlanta BeltLine. Art on the Atlanta BeltLine touches almost 20 intown communities.

Presenting Sponsors for Art on the Atlanta BeltLine are 10th & Monroe, Georgia Natural Gas, Northside Hospital and Ponce City Market.  Additional sponsors include MailChimp, Park Tavern, Turner Foundation, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; and Flashpoint Artists Initiative. The Lantern Parade is presented by Cox Enterprises and Salesforce, and is sponsored by Ponce City Market. The Lantern Parade is presented by Cox Enterprises and Salesforce, with additional sponsor Ponce City Market

Major support for this project is provided by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. Major funding for this organization is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. The project is also supported by an Art Works award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit


Join the Discussion

  1. Bruce burton says:

    I have seen the civil rights art display several places. I have explored many many sits that describe the event. Other than the dates and the fact that it is on the east side trail, all of the sites are lacking in a phone to call, location, other than east beltway , west beltway. I am one hour out of town and a little worried about coming into town to a walking trail in 90 degree heat, with so few details. The two phone numbers that might shed some light o the event, and the Beltline website are so poorly designed, it makes I hard to justify a trip into town.

    Reply | July 29, 2018 at 1:14 pm
    • JR says:

      Thanks for the feedback. Are you asking how to get to the Eastside and Westside Trails? Or are you asking about the length of the trail? Which numbers have you attempted to call for answers? Our main line is 404-477-3003.

      Hope that helps.

      Reply | July 31, 2018 at 10:01 am
  2. Nakisha Polite says:

    I am trying to organize a group to come and view this exhibit – but as the previous post stated, it is hard to get more information in regards to where to start the walk. Is there a suggested start or stop place for the exhibit?

    Reply | September 10, 2018 at 11:21 am
    • JR says:

      Hi Nakisha,

      Thanks for the comment. There is no official start or end as you can access both trails from multiple points, but it may be helpful to see the specific locations of the works along the Eastside and Westside Trails here:

      Hope that helps!

      Reply | September 10, 2018 at 1:37 pm
  3. Alexmi says:

    _____1234______Art on the Atlanta BeltLine presents "Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968" // Atlanta BeltLine_____1234______

    Reply | October 18, 2018 at 9:41 pm

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