MLK Places to See in Atlanta Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
When visiting Atlanta, Georgia, travelers must visit the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, which includes Dr. Martin Luther King’s birth home and tomb.
On January 15, 1929, Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. and his wife Alberta Williams King welcomed the birth of their son, Martin Luther King, Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s family actively supported education, equality, and political activism, and it was those early social justice roots that eventually led Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to become one of the most prominent leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.
In 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was supporting a sanitation worker strike. Despite the great loss of this American Civil Rights leader who fought against racial prejudice, his legacy lives on.
Travelers can honor his legacy by visiting the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia, and learn more about his life and the Civil Rights work that helped transform the United States of America.
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site was established in 1980 and is considered a national park.
The park, made up of several buildings within about three blocks of each other, includes a residential area that preserves the historic integrity of the community where Martin Luther King Jr. grew up and later returned to serve as co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
The layout resembles a university campus where visitors can walk from building to building and learn something new. Winter hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Summer hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The park is open year-round except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
Stop at the Visitor Center first to get oriented.
MLK National Park Service Visitor Center
Short films, interactive exhibits, and photo galleries on Martin Luther King Jr.’s early life, his academic years, and Civil Rights struggles can be found in this museum. Especially significant, is the display of the wooden wagon that carried Martin Luther King Jr.’s casket following his death.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s Childhood Home and Birthplace
Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in a prosperous African American neighborhood known as “Sweet Auburn.” His maternal grandparent’s home — built in 1895 — served as his home for 12 years. Martin Luther King Jr. was born there and lived in a multi-generational household.
The King family emphasized quality time with formal dinners every night, where the children were encouraged to discuss a newspaper article of their choice for dinnertime conservation with adults.
Park rangers offer guided tours of the restored home for free. Tour is limited to 15 people and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign up for the tour at the Freedom Hall of the King Center.
Freedom Hall and Martin Luther King Jr.’s Gravesite in the King Center
Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King’s personal items make Freedom Hall a special treat for visitors. Some treasures include Dr. King’s Nobel Peace Prize, the suitcase items he had with him when he was shot in Tennessee, and his Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album of 1970.
Displays honoring Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks and Mahatma Gandi are also included.
The King Center, which was founded in 1968 by Coretta Scott King, features a reflecting pool where Dr. King’s and Mrs. King’s body now rests.
Historic Fire Station
Located in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood, this 1894 fire station was the first in Atlanta to desegregate. It now houses a gift shop for Martin Luther King Jr. memorabilia. It also features a restored 1927 fire engine, typical of the kind that young Martin Luther King Jr. would have seen while growing up just a few doors down from the fire station.
Tours of the MLK birth home leave every hour from here.
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Ebenezer Baptist Church was an integral part of the King family history. Martin Luther King Jr.’s grandfather the Rev. A.D. Williams served as pastor there until his death in 1931. Martin Luther King Sr. took over and was later joined by Martin Luther King Jr. as co-pastor in 1960.
After Dr. King’s assassination in 1968, his brother Alfred Daniel continued as co-pastor until his death a year later. Ebenezer caught the world’s attention when it held Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral.
In 1974, tragedy struck at Ebenezer. Dr. King’s mother Alberta Williams was shot during a Sunday morning worship as she played the church organ.
Ebenezer also served as a community meeting place to plan actions during the Civil Rights Movement.
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park
450 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30312