Rolls Down Like Water: U.S. Civil Rights Movement Exhibition

Rolls Down Like Water: U.S. Civil Rights Movement presents the fight for civil rights in America – from the era of Jim Crow segregation to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. This is a permanent exhibit at The National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Original Curator: George C. Wolfe. Digital Curator: Sam Landis

Photograph of the Entrance to Rolls Down Like Water Exhibit (2014) by Photographer - Dustin ChambersThe National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Entrance to the 1950's Urban South Gallery

"Curator George C. Wolfe, the Broadway producer, drew on his theatrical know-how and the “living newspapers” tradition in developing this powerful and haunting chronicle of the movement’s triumphs and human toll."
- Catherine Fox at ArtsATL

Photograph of Rolls Down Like Water: American Civil Rights Movement Exhibit (2014) by Curator - George C. WolfeThe National Center for Civil and Human Rights

1950's Urban South Gallery

This exhibit explores life in the 1950s in the Urban South through interactive displays featuring Jim Crow laws and the people in power who vocally and violently enforced segregation. 

Photograph of Rolls Down Like Water: American Civil Rights Movement Exhibit (2014) by Photographed by Dustin ChambersThe National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Despite this adversity, African-American Institutions thrived in Atlanta with a a dynamic community network of churches, colleges, schools, fraternal orders, social clubs, and a range of commercial ventures. 

Photograph of Rolls Down Like Water Exhibit (2014) by Photographer - Dustin ChambersThe National Center for Civil and Human Rights

The designers use newspaper headlines and photos as well as television news reports — playing on vintage monitors, projected on walls — to help create a “you are there” feeling. 

Photograph of Rolls Down Like Water: American Civil Rights Movement Exhibit (2014) by Curator - George C. WolfeThe National Center for Civil and Human Rights

The abundant use of broadcast and print media also reflects their role in supporting the movement, whether it was reporters speaking truth to power or savvy civil rights leaders exploiting it to make their case to the world.

Photograph of Freedom Riders Gallery (2014) by Photographer - Dustin ChambersThe National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Freedom Riders

Visitors enter a reconstruction of the same Greyhound Bus that Freedom Riders rode that day and are immersed by oral histories from the Riders, as well as a short film inside of the bus.

Photograph of Lunch Counter Sit-In (2014) by Curator - George C. WolfeThe National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Lunch Counter Sit-In

After learning about the training involved in non-violent protests, visitors are invited to participate in a lunch counter sit-in simulation and place themselves in the shoes of non-violent protestors in 1960

Photograph of the Lunch Counter Sit-In Experience (2014) by Photographer - Justin ChangThe National Center for Civil and Human Rights

"Wolfe's aim to put visitors “inside history” is most literally expressed in the lunch counter sit-in display. Though the sound loop is just 90 seconds, it is enough to appreciate discipline it took to practice passive resistance, much less remain seated for hours."
- ArtsATL

Photograph of The March on Washington Gallery (2014) by Curator - George C. WolfeThe National Center for Civil and Human Rights

The March on Washington Gallery

One of the most iconic and joyful moments of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, the March on Washington gallery is a multimedia experience that highlights the events of the day.

Photograph of Rolls Down Like Water: American Civil Rights Movement Exhibit (2014) by Curator - George C. WolfeThe National Center for Civil and Human Rights

View footage of King giving his seminal “I Have A Dream” speech.

Photograph of The March on Washington Gallery (2014) by Curator - George C. WolfeThe National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Listen to the exciting sounds of protests and songs, and learn more about key players in the event’s successful planning and execution.

Photograph of Rolls Down Like Water: American Civil Rights Movement Exhibit (2014) by Photographer - Justin ChanThe National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Photograph of Requiem Gallery (2014) by Photographer - Justin ChanThe National Center for Civil and Human Rights

The Requiem Gallery

Photograph of The Requiem Gallery (2014) by Photographer - Dustin ChambersThe National Center for Civil and Human Rights

View images of the martyrs of the movement.

Photograph of Requiem Gallery (2014) by Photographer - Justin ChanThe National Center for Civil and Human Rights

"Rolls Down Like Water, a chronicle of the American civil rights movement, is a soul-wrenching experience."
- ArtsATL

"The fight for civil rights is a great American story, filled not just with leaders of astonishing power and vision, but everyday citizens, who because of their bravery, humanity and heart, transformed this country, politically, spiritually and culturally."

Exhibit Curator, George C. Wolfe

Credits: Story

Curator: George C. Wolfe
Fabricator: Rockwell Group

Digital Curator: Sam Landis

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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