Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site was established in 1980 at 450 Auburn Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia.

By National Park Service

“I Have a Dream” Speech by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The site protects and preserves the life and legacy of the American Civil Rights Movement leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Join us on an expedition to explore the places where Dr. King was born, lived, worked, and worshiped.

Welcome to Sweet Auburn

The Sweet Auburn community was the thriving African-American hub of Atlanta. M.L.’s childhood was typical in many ways: days were filled with school and church activities, family gatherings, and trips down Auburn Avenue to shop, go to the library, or buy a soda at the drug store.

Shotgun Homes

Middle-class two-family dwellings line Auburn Avenue. Built in the early 1900s, these houses are called “shotgun” because rooms are situated in a row opposite of the main hallway connecting the front door all the way to the backdoor. 

Birth Home

Martin Luther King, Jr., was born at 501 Auburn Avenue on January 15,1929. He grew up in an upper-middle class multi-generational household nurtured by his family, church, and neighborhood. 

Fire Station No.6

Built in 1894, Fire Station No.6 is one of Atlanta’s original 8 stations. M.L. played in the station as a child and purchased snacks from the commissary. In 1963, Fire Station No. 6 became the city’s first integrated fire station.

Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church

M.L.’s maternal grandfather commissioned the church in 1914. The sanctuary was completed in 1922. In total, both M.L.’s grandfather and father pastored the Ebenezer Baptist Church congregation for 80 years. 

Churches often functioned as centers for social, economic, and political life in addition to religious centers for the African-American community. This was a result of the post-American Civil War era in which the Church emerged as the first black institution. Martin Luther King Jr. became a third generation pastor.

Martin Luther King Sr.

From 1931-1975, Martin Luther King Sr. was the lead pastor of the church. Both M.L’s mother and father worked at the church. Erected a block down the street from their house, it was a second home for the family. 

A.D. and Alberta Williams

M.L.’s grandfather, A.D. Williams, founder of the Atlanta-branch of the NAACP and Atlanta’s first black high school, served as the congregation’s pastor (1894 -1931). His daughter, Alberta Williams, served as the choir director throughout M.L.’s life. 

The Pulpit

M.L. delivered his first sermon as an ordained minister from this pulpit at age 19. M.L. co-pastored alongside his father from 1960-1968. His memorial services were held here at 10:30 am on April 4, 1968.

“I Have a Dream” World Peace Garden

The International World Peace Rose Gardens program is a worldwide effort to help youth recognize the importance and value of peace. The garden is an artistic interpretation of Dr. King’s life and ideals of peace through nonviolence.

The garden’s starburst design brings attention to the brilliance of Dr. King’s ideals using the Official Flower of the United States, the rose.

Inspirational Messages of Peace

An annual contest is held and students from local, national, and global schools submit poems of peace. Winning poems are installed in the rose garden for one year. There were a total of 27 "Inspirational Messages of Peace" for 2016.

The King Center

Established in 1968 by Mrs. Coretta Scott King, The King Center is a global destination, resource center and community institution. It houses many personal articles of Dr. King and has the final resting place of Dr. King and his wife. 

Visitor Center

A staffed Information desk is located just inside the front doors of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site Visitor Center. This is the place to stop for a brief orientation to the historic site, which facilities are open, how to sign up for a Birth Home tour, and the location of the nearest restroom.

Freedom Road Marchers

The featured Visitor Center exhibit entitled "Courage To Lead" follows the parallel paths of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement. Join in with the marchers on their journey up "Freedom Road".

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