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Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

460 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Savannah, GA 31401, USA

Opening Hours

10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"To truly immerse yourself in the history presented at the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, plan your visit to coincide with the guided tours that are often led by individuals who were active in the Civil Rights Movement themselves; it's an experience that shouldn’t be missed for its authenticity and depth. Also, check out the museum's events calendar before you go—locals know they occasionally host talks and community events that are not widely advertised but offer incredible insight into Savannah’s civil rights legacy."

What is Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum?

The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum is a beacon of African American history nestled in the heart of Savannah, Georgia. It is dedicated to the civil rights struggle not just in Savannah, but across the state of Georgia and the wider United States. This museum is named after Dr. Ralph Mark Gilbert, the father of Savannah's Civil Rights movement, and is located in the very building that housed the headquarters of the local chapter of the NAACP during the civil rights era. With its thought-provoking exhibits and educational programs, the museum transports visitors back to a pivotal time in American history.

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History of Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum

The building that now houses the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum was once a black-owned bank—The Wage Earners Savings and Loan Bank. Its transformation into a museum took place thanks to the tireless efforts of the local community and leaders who sought to preserve and honor the legacy of civil rights activism. Opening its doors in 1996, the museum stands as a testament to the battles fought and won by civil rights champions. Through interactive exhibits, photographs, and artifacts, the museum shares the narrative of resilience and courage that changed the nation.

The museum's namesake, Dr. Ralph Mark Gilbert, was a pivotal figure in Savannah's civil rights movement. He served as the NAACP's president from 1942 to 1950 and was instrumental in increasing the organization's membership tenfold. Under his leadership, significant strides were made in voter registration, youth council formation, and the desegregation of schools and public facilities. His impact was profound, leading to Savannah becoming one of the more strategically organized and peaceful chapters in the Civil Rights Movement.

Why is Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum Important?

Savannah's Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum is not just a repository of the past; it's a vital link to our present and future. It stands as a symbol of the struggle for civil rights and the ongoing pursuit of equality and justice. The museum educates the public, fostering understanding of the strategies used during the civil rights movement—strategies that are still relevant and necessary in current social and political climates. Moreover, it proudly honors local heroes, some of whom are unsung, keeping their stories alive and inspiring new generations.

The museum serves an important role by educating visitors about the history and the impacts of civil rights work that extend to our times. It contextualizes the progress of racial equality, showing just how far we've come and how the outcomes of past efforts are reflected in today's society. The hard-won victories and painful setbacks preserved here underscore the value of civic engagement and the power of collective action, encouraging individuals to participate actively in the dialogue for change.

Things to Do & See at Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum

Step inside the museum, and you'll find three floors of compelling exhibits. The Freedom Trail exhibit, with its authentic photography and narratives, is a stand-out, allowing you to trace the steps of Savannah's civil rights leaders. The NAACP Offices reproduction is another captivating feature, giving you a glimpse into the workings of the Civil Rights movement from one of its central hubs.

Don't miss the oral histories and lecture series, which often feature personal testimonies and scholarly insights into the civil rights era. The fiber optic map of 87 significant civil rights sites and events throughout Savannah is one-of-a-kind, allowing visitors to understand the geographical scale of the movement. These curated experiences bring to life the stories of bravery and determination that changed the face of American history.

For a truly interactive experience, the museum's lunch counter sit-in exhibit shouldn't be missed. Visitors can sit at a segregated lunch counter and experience a powerful simulation of the historic sit-ins that took place during the civil rights movement. Additional activities include guided tours, where docents share lesser-known facts and anecdotes that only deepen the understanding and appreciation for this pivotal period. Many visitors find that each return visit to the museum reveals new layers of history and insight that they hadn't noticed before.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum?

The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum is a museum in Savannah dedicated to the civil rights movement and named after the late Dr. Ralph Mark Gilbert, who was a pastor and pivotal leader in the NAACP during the civil rights struggles of the 20th century.

Where is the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum located?

The museum is located in Savannah, Georgia, in the historic African American neighborhood where much of the city's civil rights activism took place.

What exhibits can I see at the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum?

The museum features exhibits on the civil rights movement in Savannah and across Georgia, including photographs, interactive displays, and artifacts that tell the story of the struggle for racial equality.

How can I visit the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum?

Visitors can check the museum's official website or contact the museum directly for information on hours of operation, admission fees, and any potential guided tours available.

Are there any educational programs available at the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum?

The museum offers educational programs such as lectures, workshops, and special events aimed at educating the public about the history and legacy of the civil rights movement.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

460 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Savannah, GA 31401, USA

Opening Hours

10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps