Ralph Mark Gilbert
460 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
Civil Rights Museum
(5 blocks south of the Visitors Information Center)
The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum is named in honor of
the late Dr. Ralph Mark Gilbert, the father of Savannah's modern day
Civil Rights Movement and leader of the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Dr. Gilbert served as pastor of
historic First African Baptist Church on Franklin Square in Savannah
for 16 years. In 1942, he reorganized the Savannah Branch NAACP,
served as president for eight years and convened its first state
conference. Under his courageous leadership, more than forty NAACP
branches were organized in Georgia by 1950.
Although the building that houses this museum is modern in comparison
to others in historic Savannah, it has played an important part in
Savannah’s African-American history. Built in 1914 by Robert Pharrow,
an African-American contractor from Atlanta, the building was home to
the Wage Earners Savings and Loan Bank, once the largest bank for
blacks in this county. The building now houses the history of
Savannah’s civil rights movement.
The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum chronicles the civil rights
struggle of Georgia's oldest African-American community from slavery to
the present. Three floors of historic photographic and interactive
exhibits provide a glimpse of what life was like during the civil
rights struggle in Savannah and in Georgia. The museum also features
lecture halls, classrooms, a video/reading room, an African-American
book collection for children and a gift shop.
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