A Visit to the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site

Created by legislation signed in 1980 by President Carter, the Martin Luther King National Historic Site continues to promote peaceful approaches to change in our country and honors one of the world’s greatest civil rights leaders.

As a teenager living in Europe, I had an opportunity to learn about World War II firsthand, from touring Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam to standing among thousands of white crosses overlooking the beaches of Normandy.  But the most human experience of all was visiting the Dachau Concentration Camp near Munich, Germany where more than 32,000 men, women, and children were murdered by Nazis.

In Atlanta, the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site provided a similar human experience, reinforcing that people should be judged by the content of their character, and not the color of their skin.

Created by legislation signed in 1980 by President Carter — the only US President who never dropped a bomb and never went to war — this national historic site continues to promote peaceful approaches to change in our country and honors one of the world’s greatest civil rights leaders.  There is no fee to visit the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site, including MLK’s birth home and the Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Pro Tip:  If you also want to tour MLK’s birth home, be sure to pick those up right when the National Historic Site opens, because they go quickly!

Martin Luther King in prison at the King Center
According to the King Center, the civil rights leader went to jail 29 times for acts of civil disobedience and on trumped-up charges. He was once jailed in Montgomery, Alabama for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone.

 

Children of Courage Exhibit

Geared toward younger children, like Louise, this exhibit helps kids understand the humiliating unfairness of segregation and appreciate the courage of the children who participated in the Civil Rights Movement.

Pro Tip:  Follow this itinerary based upon the time you have available to visit the Martin Luther King National Historic Site, from an express visit of 30 minutes to a leisurely visit of up to four hours.

 

Peaceful Protesters at the Martin Luther King National Historic Site

 

Peaceful Protest

Inspired by India’s Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr focused on peaceful protests.  On the surface, peaceful protest may sound easy, but I believe it’s much harder than it seems.  Imagine continuing to stand your ground for peaceful protest, rather than fight back, when you’re a young black woman sitting at a whites only lunch counter while other patrons shout obscenities at you, pour hot coffee in your lap, or slap you. Imagine staying calm and not fighting back as a young black student when police turn water cannons and attack dogs on you.

Pro Tip:  From the History channel, here are ten things you may not know about Martin Luther King, Jr.

What about you?  Have you visited the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Share Your Thoughts