Martin Luther King's Birth Home
501 Auburn Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia
This house is best associated with...
Martin Luther King Sr.
Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., Pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta
A "Quite Ordinary" but "Wholesome Community"
Martin Luther King Jr. described the community in which he was raised as, "quite ordinary in terms of social status. No one in our community had attained any great wealth... The community was characterized with a sort of unsophisticated simplicity. No one was in the extremely poor class. It is probably fair to class the people of this community as those of average income. It was a wholesome community, notwithstanding the fact that none of us were ever considered members of the 'upper-upper class'. Crime was at a minimum, and most of our neighbors were deeply religious".
First Brush with Racism
Before school age, MLK became friends with a white boy who lived nearby. In 1935, when they were both sent to separate schools, the boys' parents put a stop to the two boys playing together, explaining to MLK, "we are white, and you are colored". When he told his parents of it, they sat him down at home and explained the history of slavery and separation in the south. At that moment, he was, "determined to hate every white person," but his parents instructed him that it was his Christian duty to love everyone. Nonetheless, his mother made it clear that she opposed the system and it must never let him feel inferior and the following year he witnessed his father lead hundreds of African-Americans in a Civil Rights march to City Hall over both discrimination and segregation.
National Historic Site & House Museum
In 1971, MLK's mother, Alberta, deeded the home to the King Center and it has since been restored to its original appearance during the years in which he grew up here. In 2018, it was purchased for $1.9 million from the King Center by the National Park Foundation. It is run by the National Park Service and free tickets for guided groups of 15 at a time can be obtained from the Visitor Center at 450 Auburn Avenue which features interactive exhibits and memorabilia relating to MLK's life and mission. Entry is always free, but tickets are not required on every third Monday in January: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
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