*(Via CNN) – While architect Philip Freelon imagined designs for Atlanta’s new National Center for Civil and Human Rights, he did the usual research into the past, scanning images of the civil rights marches and protests it would surely address.
Around the same time, he couldn’t help but notice the front pages of modern newspapers that showed protesters around the world resolutely fighting their own battles. They were in different times, different worlds, but always, he saw the same image: People united, their arms interlocked or fingers woven together.
The gestures became the foundation for the design his team created, one that’s visible today as the new museum opens in downtown Atlanta. Even after the recession and planning decisions edited the grand space to less than half the size originally proposed, the symbol endured. The building evokes two linked hands; its exterior walls feature a mix of earthy shades that suggest different races coming together. Inside, exhibits in the nearly 43,000-square-foot museum link the historic stories of the American civil rights movement and modern human rights struggles around the world.
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