The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park commemorates the life, work, and legacy of the Civil Rights Movement leader. The center—which takes up several blocks in Sweet Auburn, the center of black Atlanta—includes King’s birth home and the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where both King’s father and grandfather served as ministers.
At the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, stroll around to follow the journey of Dr. King from his birth to his rise as one of the country’s most important leaders. Inside the visitor center is a museum that chronicles the American Civil Rights Movement, and Dr King’s role in it. The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change has more information on MLK’s life and work, and a few of his personal effects, including his Nobel Peace Prize. His grave, between the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and the King Center, is surrounded by a long reflecting pool and rose garden.
The National Park Service offers free, guided tours of Dr. King’s Birth Home; pick up a timed ticket at the information desk. Other tours from downtown Atlanta via bus, electric car, or Segway make stops at this historic site along with other city sightseeing highlights.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Fire Station No. 6, a restored firehouse, has a gift shop selling memorabilia relating to Dr. King’s life.
- Most portions of the National Historical Park are accessible to wheelchair users. Wheelchairs are available for use on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Most exhibits and tour routes are inside, but you must pass between buildings, so dress accordingly for the weather.
How to Get There
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park is in Midtown Atlanta, east of the CNN Center. The site is also part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic District, an area bounded roughly by Irwin, Randolph, Edgewood, Jackson, and Auburn Avenues. You can get here easily by bus and MARTA trains.
When to Get There
A typical visit to the National Historical Park takes between one and two hours. The visitor center, historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Freedom Hall are open from 9am to 5pm daily. The Birth Home is open for ranger-led tours from 10am to 4pm daily. Fire Station No. 6 is staffed by park volunteers and is open from 9am to 5pm. All facilities are closed on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
The Eternal Flame
Martin Luther King Jr. and Mrs. King are buried in a crypt at the King Center. The eternal flame there symbolizes the continuing effort to realize Dr. King’s dream of the “Beloved Community,” which was his vision for a world of justice, peace, and equality for all mankind.