The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute was developed out of a need for a deep understanding of race relations and civil rights issues. The Institute opened in 1992, spearheaded by Birmingham’s first African American mayor, Richard Arrington. Located in the heart of the city’s civil rights district, it serves as a symbol of the struggle to extend equal rights to all people. The Institute was designed not just as a place for reflection, but also for action and motivation to keep moving forward. Throughout the year, meetings, seminars, workshops, and symposia are held for the public. Kelly Ingram Park, site of several marches during the struggle for civil rights, and the Sixteenth St. Baptist Church, where four little girls were murdered in a heinous bombing by Ku Klux Klan members, are adjacent to the BCRI’s north and east. The institute has become a major repository for archives, records, documents, and first-hand accounts for scholars and students studying the history of civil rights in the South. About 145,000 people visit the institute annually.