Stroll in Martin Luther King Jr.’s footsteps: 7 locations to go to

(CNN) — Martin Luther King Jr. was born and raised within the American South, however his dream of racial equality and social justice reverberated out of his area, into the entire nation and world wide. And it wasn’t simply his imaginative and prescient that spanned the globe – the person himself launched into travels far and huge.

You possibly can honor him on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, January 15) – or another time of yr – by strolling in his footsteps figuratively or actually.

From his homeland within the coronary heart of the South to surprising locations far past America’s shores, listed below are the locations that formed and impressed the person:

Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia’s busy capital metropolis is King’s birthplace and his last resting place. As such, it most likely has the most important declare on his legacy and MLK-related websites.

A lot of them are clustered collectively on the MLK Jr. Nationwide Historic Park within the Candy Auburn neighborhood of downtown Atlanta, together with the tombs for MLK and Coretta Scott King.

A few of the highlights embody:

• Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church: That is the place MLK was baptized and the place he co-pastored along with his father beginning in 1960. It’s been magnificently restored inside and outside to the way it appeared within the Sixties and is a perfect place for prayer and quiet reflection. 407 Auburn Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30312.

• MLK Beginning House: You possibly can tour the two-story home the place MLK was raised, when Candy Auburn was the epicenter for African American life in Atlanta. 501 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30312.

• The King Middle: Coretta Scott King established the The Martin Luther King Jr. Middle for Nonviolent Social Change in 1968. Nearly 1 million folks would go to yearly pre-pandemic to be taught extra in regards to the Kings’ private and non-private lives and to pay their respects at their tombs, the reflecting pool and the everlasting flame. 449 Auburn Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30312.

Only a few miles away, prestigious Morehouse School is King’s alma mater. (Actually, MLK Jr. was considered one of quite a few King household males to attend school there). The campus grounds are a stunning place to take a stroll the place the younger collegian walked. 830 Westview Dr. SW, Atlanta, GA 30314.

Memphis, Tennessee

For a metropolis of its measurement, Memphis has an outsized affect on the nation’s musical, cultural and political historical past. America was deep in turmoil and scarred by violence when King got here to Memphis in March 1968 in assist of placing sanitation employees.

King and his group had been booked on the Lorraine Motel, a protected and welcoming place to remain for black vacationers on the time. On April 4, King was standing on the balcony outdoors of room 306 when he was shot and killed.

Right now, the Lorraine is the positioning of the Nationwide Civil Rights Museum, the place you possibly can be taught in regards to the broad sweep of civil rights historical past in addition to see the room the place the person who modified America spent his last residing hours.

On the Monday vacation, the museum is internet hosting an all-day celebration that may embody youngsters’s actions and stay leisure in addition to a meals drive. Admission to the museum on Monday will likely be free from 8 a.m. to six p.m. A brand new exhibition, “Tarred Therapeutic,” that includes images by Cornell Watson, opens on Monday. 450 Mulberry St., Memphis, TN 38103.

If you need to additionally eat the place King usually broke bread, go to the soul meals restaurant The 4 Means. Opened since 1946, it serves Southern favorites equivalent to fried rooster, turnip greens and lemon meringue pie (stated to be an MLK favourite). 998 Mississippi Blvd., Memphis, TN 38126.

Montgomery, Alabama

It’s tough to overstate the impression of King’s time within the segregated capital of Alabama through the mid-Fifties. His coordination of the lengthy bus strike after Rosa Parks famously refused to yield her seat put him on the nationwide and worldwide map.

Right now, Montgomery has quite a few must-see civil rights points of interest, together with:

• The out of doors Nationwide Memorial for Peace and Justice, which explores the historical past of lynching, Jim Crow legal guidelines and extra. 417 Caroline St, Montgomery, AL 36104.

• The indoor Legacy Museum, about 1 mile away from the memorial. It’s located on a website the place Black folks had been compelled to labor in bondage. 400 N.Court docket St, Montgomery, AL 36104.

Each had been based by the Equal Justice Initiative and will likely be open on Monday for MLK Day with free admission.

• The Rosa Parks Museum at Troy College, which is devoted to Parks’ legacy and the teachings of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. 252 Montgomery St, Montgomery, AL 36104.

• Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church: This church was based in 1877 in a slave dealer’s pen and was initially referred to as Second Coloured Baptist Church. King served as its pastor from 1954 to 1960. It was from right here he deliberate the bus boycott and different efforts to dismantle segregation. Excursions of the church are by appointment; you possibly can go to on Sunday morning for worship. 454 Dexter Ave, Montgomery, AL 36104.

• Dexter Parsonage Museum: That is the clapboard home the place King lived – and which was bombed a number of occasions through the civil rights wrestle. Open Fridays and Saturdays; in any other case by appointment. 309 S Jackson St, Montgomery, AL 36104.

• Take pleasure in some meals and historical past at Brenda’s Bar-Be-Que. In the course of the Montgomery bus boycott, organizers gathered on the restaurant and Black folks had been taught find out how to learn and write there so they may go literacy assessments and vote. Menu favorites for locals embody ribs and a pig ear sandwich.1457 Cell Highway Montgomery, AL 36108.

Birmingham, Alabama

The commercial powerhouse of the South and a bedrock of integration opposition within the mid-Twentieth century, Birmingham additionally figured prominently in King’s life.

It was from Alabama’s largest metropolis, in any case, that he penned his well-known “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in 1963, through which he passionately defended nonviolent civil disobedience to skeptical white ministers who questioned his techniques and perceived impatience on the tempo of change.

You possibly can see the precise door from his jail cell on the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in addition to vital paperwork and oral histories from the civil rights motion. 520 sixteenth St N, Birmingham, AL 35203; +1 205 328 9696

Kelly Ingram Park, which was a gathering spot for the Southern Christian Management Convention and different teams within the civil rights motion, has sculptures depicting the wrestle. fifth Avenue N & sixteenth Avenue.

Washington, DC

It now appears inevitable that King’s march for justice took him past the Deep South to the nation’s capital. Listed below are some locations you possibly can go to:

• Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial: The primary memorial to honor an African American particular person on the Nationwide Mall, it opened to the general public in 2011 and incorporates a highly effective 30-foot statue of King rising from boulders. It’s also possible to learn inspirational quotes made in carvings on the positioning. 1850 West Basin Drive SW, Washington, DC 20024 (closest Metro station is the Smithsonian)

• The Lincoln Memorial: Fittingly, it was from the steps of this beloved memorial that King gave his most well-known speech – “I Have a Dream.” Sit on the steps, shut your eyes and simply think about the ambiance there on August 28, 1963, as greater than 1 / 4 of one million folks stuffed the Nationwide Mall to listen to what turned one of the vital vital speeches in US historical past. 2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20037

• The Nationwide Museum of African American Historical past And Tradition: The museum made a wonderful addition to the capital’s many high-quality establishments when it opened in 2016. The museum comprises artifacts instantly associated to King in addition to a sweeping have a look at the contributions and tribulations of Black Individuals. 1400 Structure Ave NW, Washington, DC 20560

Boston, Massachusetts

Whereas a number of cities within the South declare a part of the King legacy, it could shock some of us to know that Boston, that bastion of New England, additionally was a key place in shaping his life.

Earlier than returning to the South, King attended Boston College within the early Fifties. Simply as you possibly can stroll within the undergraduate’s footsteps at Morehouse in Atlanta, you are able to do the identical for grad scholar King at BU. 771 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215.

You might need to go to the grounds of the spectacular Massachusetts State Home, the place King addressed a joint session of the legislature in April 1965. 24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133

It’s also possible to see a 22-foot memorial referred to as The Embrace in Boston Widespread park that commemorates MLK and Coretta Scott King. That is the town, in any case, the place they met and the place they started married life.

Bimini, Bahamas

Mix a beautiful island getaway with some MLK historical past on Bimini, the western most outpost of the Bahamas and simply 50 miles off the coast of Florida.

King would come right here to loosen up and craft his speeches, together with notes for his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech he gave in Oslo, Norway, in 1964.

CNN Journey’s Lilit Marcus reported in a 2018 article that “there are two busts of King on the island – one in entrance of the Straw Market within the middle of Alice City and one among the many very mangroves the place King spent so many peaceable afternoons.”


The civil rights struggles in the US and the top of colonialism in Africa got here on the similar time and naturally the actions dovetailed.

In 1957, the Kings went to Ghana in West Africa to attend its independence ceremony from Britain, in accordance with the King Encyclopedia at Stanford College. Within the capital of Accra, he met then-Vice President Richard Nixon, amongst others.

His first abroad journey, Ghana had a profound impact on King. Upon his return to the US, he stated, “Ghana has one thing to say to us. It says to us first, that the oppressor by no means voluntarily provides freedom to the oppressed. It’s important to work for it.”

Earlier than the pandemic, Ghana was rising as a first-rate vacationer vacation spot not simply in West Africa however the whole continent. Whereas many individuals come for the seashores, wildlife and meals, it additionally holds vital historic websites.

These embody Cape Coast Fort, which was a hub of the transatlantic slave commerce. A go to there’s a somber reminder of centuries of oppression and its ramifications throughout MLK’s time as much as immediately. Victoria Highway, Cape Coast, Ghana, +233 57 710 1707


Mahatma Gandhi’s campaign of nonviolent resistance to liberate India from British rule deeply influenced King.

In February and March of 1959, King embarked on a five-week tour of India to be taught extra in regards to the motion that impressed him. In Delhi, he met with Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, amongst others. He talked with college students at New Delhi College.

Finally he made his option to Calcutta (now referred to as Kolkata), India’s mental middle. Martin Luther King Sarani, a avenue named for him within the coronary heart of the town, just isn’t removed from the Victoria Memorial.

In Bombay (now referred to as Mumbai), King visited Mani Bhavan, which is the place Gandhi labored and lived for 17 years. Right now, it’s a museum the place you possibly can see artifacts from Gandhi’s life. 19, Laburnum Raod, Gamdevi, Mumbai-400 007, India.


In case you’re merely not in a position to make it to any of those locations in particular person this yr, hint the journeys of King on-line at Stanford College’s intensive King Institute. It’s a deep dive into his life, but simple to navigate.


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