Harlem, New York

The purpose of the Civil Rights Foundation is to bring to life a landmark institution dedicated to deepening and broadening the nation’s collective memory of the modern civil rights movement.

The Museum of Civil Rights will educate and empower young and old alike to build upon the significant accomplishments of the past, and inspire those who still pine for social, political and economic and equality. Founded by veteran civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton, in collaboration with the Honorable Judge Jonathan Lippman and a diverse group of committed stakeholders, the board asserts that the museum is committed “to preserv[ing] and promot[ing] knowledge of the historic and contemporary struggles for civil rights, political rights, and social justice in the northern United States.”


The Museum of Civil Rights (MCR) in Harlem, New York, is a groundbreaking institution founded by veteran activists committed to healing the historic lines of division in our society. By casting light on the powerful intersections of diverse social justice movements, MCR will broaden and deepen our collective memory of our nation’s iconic civil and human rights struggles in New York City and beyond.


A participatory educational institution, welcoming, inclusive, and accessible to all, the Museum of Civil Rights will promote a greater understanding of the history and legacy of the modern civil rights movement in New York City and across the nation, while actively nurturing future generations of visionary leaders and catalysts for social change.

A home for the northern civil rights story


The modern civil rights movement, which emerged in the United States during the mid-20th century, became an iconic struggle against injustice, transforming both the nation and the world. While celebrated globally, the true depth and reach of these leaders, organizations, and historic milestones remain underrepresented and often misunderstood. Civil rights activism invigorated movements for freedom and justice across racial, ethnic, class, gender, and sexuality lines. 

The Museum of Civil Rights will celebrate these intersecting human rights struggles and support ongoing social justice initiatives. Located in New York City’s historic Harlem neighborhood, an epicenter of national and international activist movements past and present, the Museum of Civil Rights will elevate the contributions of city and regional leaders and organizations in the many freedom struggles that continue to shape who we are today.

Areas of Focus

Promoting Knowledge of Historic and Contemporary Movements For Social Equality, Political Rights, and Economic Justice

Early Desegregation Movement of the North

The impact of the Civil Rights Legislation and the de facto discrimination in housing, schooling, and employment

The Intersection of Civil Rights and Labor Movements

The Historic March on Washington in 1963 for freedom, economic equity and good jobs

The Legacy of Civil Rights of Immigrants

The Italians, Irish and Eastern Europeans, and more recently, people from Far East and the Middle East

Intersectionality of Race, Gender and Class

Produce qualitatively different experiences of discrimination for individuals with intersecting social identities

Women’s Ongoing Struggle

For gender, political, and economic equality

The Campaign for LGBTQIA

For equal rights under law and social inclusion

Groups Victimized by Reason of their Race, Religion and Culture

Continued attacks on communities including Jewish, Muslims, Sikhs, and other unaffiliated religious groups

Social, Political and Economic Equality for Individuals and Groups

That continue to live on the margins and remain largely invisible. Native Americans were not granted the full rights and protections of U.S. citizenship until the Nationality Act of 1940 and they continue to suffer the effects of segregation and discrimination