SOUTHERN U.S. -- TAPintoTV recently visited Atlanta, Memphis and Birmingham, where we traveled in the footsteps of the great American Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Atlanta is the birthplace of Dr. King, and is also home to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. The 35-acre park is comprised of several buildings, and the Visitor Center museum contains multimedia presentations and important artifacts, including the podium from King’s “I Have A Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington.
You can easily spend an entire day here visiting King’s childhood home, Ebenezer Baptist Church where King was ordained as a minister, the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and the gravesite of Dr. King and his wife Coretta.
The King Center was established in the year of his death, and within the Center, you’ll find Freedom Hall, which not only celebrates the life of Dr. King, but also of Coretta Scott King, Mahatma Gandhi and Rosa Parks. Nearly a million people each year visit the National Historical Park to pay tribute to Dr. King and his legacy.
In Memphis, Dr. King stayed at the Lorraine Motel in the spring of 1968, and it is here where he was killed by an assassin on April 4th. At the time, the Lorraine Motel was one of the few places in Memphis which provided African-Americans with overnight lodging. Today, the motel has been transformed into a memorial to Dr. King and a civil rights museum, though the exterior and room where King stayed, remain as they did on that fateful day.
The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel contains many interactive exhibits that trace the history of the American Civil Rights Movement; much of course, also relates to Dr. King. Inside, you can see a replica of the Montgomery, Alabama bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, a bombed out Greyhound Bus that once carried Freedom Riders, and of course, a stirring tribute to Dr. King’s March on Washington.
In Birmingham, Alabama, Martin Luther King, Jr. and fellow activist Ralph Abernathy led a march in the spring of 1963. After starting at the 16th Street Baptist Church, Dr. King and Abernathy were soon arrested and placed in solitary confinement, which is when King penned his famous text, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
Today, just across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church, stands the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, where you can find many exhibits related to Dr. King, including the original jail cell from which he wrote his letter.
The 16th Street Baptist Church is also where four young girls were killed later that same year by a terrorist’s bomb. Today, across the street from the church, in Kelly Ingram Park, stands the “Four Spirits” sculpture, memorializing these young victims, and behind them, stands a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. himself.
To learn more about the life and legacy of Dr. King, visit www.thekingcenter.org.