Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum
460 Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31401, USA
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.