On May 4, 1932, Al Capone was put into a special rail car on the Dixie Flyer, under heavy guard, en route for the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta. He was destined for celebrity status.
Whatever your politics, it’s awe-inspiring to stand in the full-scale replica Oval Office at the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum. The interactive displays—the result of a major renovation completed in late 2009—take you through a day in the life of a president.
As its name suggests, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, which opens to the public on Monday, is about two struggles—the American one that was fought primarily in the South in the latter half of the twentieth century, and the worldwide one that involves oppressed peoples in distant (and not-so-distant) lands. While there’s an obvious thematic linkage between the American Civil Rights Movement and the broader human rights one, the line between them must have been a challenge for the Center’s designers to straddle. One has a built-in narrative, with a beginning and middle (if not yet an ending), and the other requires navigating the vast space beneath the human rights umbrella, whether it’s oppressed women in Africa, child laborers in Pakistan, or tortured activists in Burma.
If you’ve found yourself in the Old Fourth Ward—maybe strolling up Irwin Street toward Bell Street Burritos or heading down the Atlanta BeltLine to Studioplex—you’ve undoubtedly spotted that giant concrete tower. And you’ve wondered, Just what is that? Or, more intriguingly, Does anyone live in there?