Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum
Savannah, GA 31401
Tuesday - Saturday: 9:00a - 5:00p
The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum is named in honor of the father of the movement charted by local African Americans and adhered to the principles of nonviolent protest. Gilbert came to Savannah as pastor of the historic First African Baptist Church on Franklin Square, where he served from 1939 to 1956.
Mr. Gilbert was the organizer and first president of the Georgia Conference of the NAACP. Under his leadership, more than forty NAACP chapters were organized by 1950 in Georgia. Mr. Gilbert also served as president of the Citizens Democratic Club and challenged the Georgia all-white primary in Savannah by launching a citywide black voter registration drive, in which hundreds of blacks were registered. This movement led to the election of a reform-minded white mayor and city council. As a result, in 1947 Savannah became one of the first cities in the South to hire black policemen, along with several other black city employees.
This building, that houses the history of Savannah’s civil rights movement, was built in 1914. The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum chronicles the civil rights struggle of Georgia's oldest African-American community from slavery to the present. The three floors present historic photographic and interactive exhibits and provides a glimpse of life during the civil rights struggle in Savannah and Georgia. The museum also has a video/reading room and an African American book collection for children.