Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site

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The MLK National Historic Site honors the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The MLK National Historic Site honors the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site consists of several buildings surrounding Martin Luther King, Jr.'s boyhood home on Auburn Avenue in the Sweet Auburn district of Atlanta, Georgia. Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church where King and his father Martin Luther King, Sr. pastored, is also part of the National Historic Site. Although the Baptist congregation moved to a new sactuary across the street, the historic church is used occasionally for services and special events.

The area was designated a National Historic Landmark district on May 5, 1977. The site became a National Historic Site on October 10, 1980 and is administered by the National Park Service. In total, the buildings included in the park make up 39 acres (158,000 m²). The visitor's center contains a museum that chronicles the American Civil Rights Movement and King's role in the movement. Fire Station No. 6, a firehouse built in 1894, contains a gift shop and an exhibit on desegregation in the Atlanta Fire Department.

Free tours of King's boyhood home at 501 Auburn Avenue are led by National Park employees and are available by reservation at the visitor center. The house, built in 1895, was King's home for twelve years from his birth while his family was living with his maternal grandmother.

When not used for special events, Ebenezer Baptist Church is open to the public for self-guided tours. Martin Luther King, Jr. was baptized in this church and later was pastor of the church from 1960 to 1968. His funeral was also held at Ebenezer Baptist.

King's tomb is located next to the King Center
King's tomb is located next to the King Center

Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, a nonprofit agency dedicated to achieving the goals of Dr. King, is housed in Freedom Hall, located across Auburn Avenue from the visitor's center. The King Center was established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King. Martin Luther King Jr.'s gravesite and a reflecting pool are also located next to Freedom Hall.

Average annual attendance to the National Historic Site for 2002 to 2004 was 626,365. Annual events surrounding Martin Luther King Day in January typically draw large crowds. Speakers have included U.S. Presidents, U.S. and local politicians, and civil rights leaders. Rememberances are also held on April 4, the anniversary of King's assassination.

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