This two-day family program focuses on the appreciation and commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. Guests explore the themes of freedom and family history through activities, immersive museum theatre performances and crafts. 

This is a free admission day at Atlanta History Center. 

Schedule of Activities

Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968 lecture and book signing by Karcheik Sims-Alvarado
Saturday at 11:00 am
Duration: 45 minutes

Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968 is a pictorial history of the modern Civil Rights movement. From seeking power through the ballot to making calls for Black Power, Atlanta has been at the epicenter of social change. As early as World War II, African American Atlantans organized in a concerted effort to achieve civil and human rights. The actions of many Civil Rights leaders and their supporters were documented by numerous photographers, professional and lay, who understood that history was unfolding before their eyes and needed to be captured for posterity. The faces, the voices, the strategists, and the photographers of the movement are honored in the pages of Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968.

For nearly 20 years, Karcheik Sims-Alvarado, Ph.D., has studied the history and culture of African Americans. Whether in the classroom, museum or in the field, she has sought to document and teach the African American odyssey.

Tracing History with Emma Davis Hamilton
Saturday at 2:00 pm  

Duration: 90 minutes

Join Emma Davis Hamilton, past president of the Metro Atlanta chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS), for a detailed 90-minute program designed to help participants work with the important records of Freedman’s Savings Bank. This Washington, D.C., institution was created after the Civil War, to assist newly emancipated enslaved and African American soldiers. Its records contain valuable genealogical information such as birthdate, birthplace, where raised, former owner, employer, occupation, residence, and relatives. The bank not only provided services for African-Americans, but white citizens as well.

Emma Davis Hamilton has 26 years’ experience as a genealogy researcher. In addition to being past  president of the Metro Atlanta chapter of the AAHGS, she is a Georgia Genealogical Society board member, Friends of the Georgia Archives Board trustee, and vice president of Friends of the National Archives at Atlanta. She is an adjunct instructor for the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at University of Georgia.

Freedom: Jubilee and Uncertainty
Saturday at 11:30 am, 12:30, 1:30, and 3:30 pm
Duration: 20 minutes

Jackson and Nicey are preparing for their future as newly liberated citizens by planning their wedding. On the eve of this momentous occasion, Nicey’s estranged sister, Ginny, returns with plans of her own. In this Meet the Past museum theatre experience, journey with these three individuals as they explore the challenging options freedom offers.

 Afterward, visit with the performers as they shed light on the complex history of enslavement and the Reconstruction era.

Clay: Palm to Earth
Saturday at 12:15, 1:15, 3:15, and 4:00 pm 
Duration: 20 minutes

This Meet the Past performance of “Clay: Palm to Earth,” by Atlanta History Center playwright Addae Moon, dramatizes the story of noted South Carolina potter Dave Drake. Born enslaved in 1801, Drake – who came to be known as Dave the Potter – was taught to turn large clay pots and learned to read and write, often signing much of his pottery and inscribing them with poems, revealing his literacy at a time when it was illegal for a slave to read and write. This performance explores the notion of literacy as a form of resistance, and its impact on the shaping of one’s identify. 

After the performance, admire two major Dave the Potter works on display in the Atlanta History Museum exhibition Shaping Traditions: Folk Arts in a Changing South.

The Order of Freedom
Saturday at 12:30, 2:30, and 3:45 pm
Duration: 30 minutes

Ever wondered about the history behind Juneteenth? Written by Atlanta History Center playwright Addae Moon, The Order of Freedom explores the impact of the issuance of General Order No. 3, by General Gordon Granger, on June 19, 1865, and the challenges faced by Cora and James Lewis as they begin their journey from slavery to citizenship.

Mama Koku’s stories
Saturday at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 pm
Duration: 30 minutes

Lean in, watch, and listen, as Atlanta storyteller Mama Koku shares stories from freedom, through slavery, to sweet freedom again. If the spirit hits, she might ask you to come up on stage and help her tell it!  

Meet the Past: News Boy
11:30am, 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30 pm
Duration: 20 minutes

The fight for freedom did not end with emancipation. Encounter a paperboy in 1906 is educating new recruits on the “tricks of the trade” while highlighting the challenges he encounter as a witness to the Atlanta Race Riots.

Meet the Past: Connie Curry
2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 pm
Duration: 15 minutes

The battle for equality continued long after the Civil War. Meet Connie Curry as she trains a new group of student volunteers for SNCC and explores her journey in the struggle for civil rights.

African American Civil War Soldier Experience
11:00 am, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 pm
Duration: 45 minutes

Take on the role of a real soldier who fought in the Civil War for the United States Colored Troops and volunteered for duty in 1863. As you are presented with various real-life scenarios, you must make vital decisions that could affect your life and well-being.