The museum is named after a prominent civil rights activist, Ralph Mark Gilbert. He originally came to Savannah as a pastor for the First African Baptist Church. While living in Savannah Gilbert organized a children's center and West Broad street YMCA. He also helped to improve the Savannah branch of the NAACP. While being president of the Savannah chapter of the NAACP he also became president of the Georgia conference for NAACP. Throughout Gilberts tenure more than fourty NAACP chapters were organized. Some big movements that he helped contribute to was launching a city wide black voter registration drive. After so many African Americans were registered to vote in Savannah a shift in the type of politicians that ran the city came and in 1947 Savannah became one of the first cities in the South to hire black police officers.
Without the help of W. W. Law this wonderful museum probably would not be in Savannah today. He wanted people to know about the civil rights history right here in Savannah through a non profit organization. In the early 1990’s he worked to find funding for the museum and a location. W. W. Law is also talked about in the museum and he was another one of Savannah's activist. After Gilbert’s term was up as president for NAACP Law took over in the 1950’s.
Over all the museum is a great history learning experience for everyone. you will love the way material is displayed in an interesting, interactive matter. They used the wonderful architecture of the old bank, making the displays extremely attractive as well as educational. By visiting this museum, you will have gained a wonderful view of the Civil Rights Movement and a very real piece of history. After visiting the museum you will realize that Savannah played a major part in the civil rights movement. Often these events are not talked about in text books but they were definitely just as important. You learn how Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard was once a block full of prospering black businesses and how African Americans in the community helped fight discrimination.