Karcheik Sims-Alvarado


Karcheik Sims-Alvarado Ph.D. is the author of Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968 and serves as the CEO of Preserve Black Atlanta, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) dedicated to identifying, recording, and preserving African-American history and culture in Atlanta, Ga.

Over the years, she has taught at various colleges and universities in Atlanta and has worked with some of Atlanta’s leading historical institutions and museums: the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Atlanta History Center, and The Herndon Home.

More recently, she has served as the Program Director of the John Lewis Fellowship with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. She currently serves as the leading authority on Alonzo Herndon, Atlanta’s first black millionaire and the founder of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company.

Dr. Sims-Alvarado lives in Atlanta with her husband, Joel Alvarado, and their son, Nation.



Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968

Since Reconstruction, African Americans have served as key protagonists in the rich and expansive narrative of American social protest. Their collective efforts challenged and redefined the meaning of freedom as a social contract in America. During the first half of the 20th century, a progressive group of black business, civic, and religious leaders from Atlanta, Georgia, challenged the status quo by employing a method of incremental gradualism to improve the social and political conditions existent within the city. By the mid-20th century, a younger generation of activists emerged, seeking a more direct and radical approach towards exercising their rights as full citizens. A culmination of the death of Emmitt Till and the Brown decision fostered this paradigm shift by bringing attention to the safety and educational concerns specific to African American youth. Deploying direct-action tactics and invoking the language of civil and human rights, the energy and zest of this generation of activists pushed the modern civil rights movement into a new chapter where young men and women became the voice of social unrest.