No visit to Atlanta should be considered complete without a stop at the historic National Site that includes Martin Luther King’s birth home, Ebenezer Baptist Church and his final resting place, the Center for Nonviolent Social Change.
The first thing most people come across is the International World Peace Rose Garden. It’s located in front of the Visitor’s Center. It’s worth taking the time to walk all the way around, reading the various poems written by Atlanta children and put on plaques at the base of the roses. It is one of five major World Peace Rose Gardens established around the world and has 185 varieties of roses. The graves of Dr. and Mrs. King can be seen directly across the street if you stand at the Peace Plaza, facing the rose garden. The Peace Plaza includes the final resting place of Dr. King, Jr. and exhibits on him, Coretta Scott King, and Mahatma Gandhi.
Inside the Visitor’s Center you can learn about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s story. There are displays outlining the struggle he faced and the changes he helped create. The featured exhibit is called “Courage To Lead” and follows the parallel paths of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement. Then join in with the marchers on their journey up “Freedom Road”.
As you cross the street to Ebenezer Baptist Church, you can’t help but notice the monument built in his honor. The Behold Monument was unveiled by Mrs. Coretta Scott King in 1990 as a tribute to her late husband and as an enduring inspiration to those who fight for dignity, social justice, and human rights. It depicts a heroic-sized, bronze figure of a father raising his infant child to the heavens, looking toward Ebenezer Baptist.
The church is significant to the civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was baptized in this church and his father gave many powerful and inspirational sermons from the pulpit there (MLK was ordained as a minister there at just 19 years of age). Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s funeral was held in this same church and services are still held there to this day.
Just a few doors down, you’ll find the home where he was born. Built in 1895, the two-story home on Auburn Avenue was the home of MLK’s grandparents, and his parents joined them. Ultimately, three children were born in the home, including the future civil rights leader. He lived there until he was 12 years old. It was recently closed for refurbishments, but re-opened in time for MLK Day of 2017.
Want another way to learn about the late Civil Rights leader? Try a walking food tour that stops in at many of his favorite places. And if you want to know about other tours around Atlanta, check out this post by my pal Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?