Martin Luther King Walking Tour, Atlanta

Martin Luther King Walking Tour (Self Guided), Atlanta

Martin Luther King Junior holds a special place in the hearts of many, and his legacy is deeply intertwined with Atlanta, Georgia. The most recognized spokesperson and leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the late 1950s and '60s, he was a Baptist Minister who used non-violent and civil disobedience tactics to advance the civil rights cause.

Though Doctor King had his share of critics, this world is a better place now because of him, and Atlanta is where it all started! Several significant locations in the city pay tribute to his life and work.

The Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church is where Martin Luther King Junior was baptized and served as a pastor. You can visit the church to learn about his early years and the inspiration he drew from his faith.

New Horizon Sanctuary is an extension of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and continues to be a place of worship and reflection, preserving the legacy of Doctor King.

The Martin Luther King Park Visitor Center is a hub for understanding his contributions to the civil rights movement. It offers exhibits and information about King's life and struggle for equality.

The Gandhi Promenade pays homage to Mahatma Gandhi's principles of nonviolent protest, which greatly influenced Doctor King's approach to activism.

The International Civil Rights Walk of Fame honors individuals who made significant contributions to the civil rights movement, including Doctor King himself.

The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change is a must-visit, dedicated to advancing Doctor King's philosophy of nonviolence and promoting social justice.

Freedom Hall is part of the King Center and hosts events and exhibits related to civil rights.

Doctor King's Tomb is where he and his wife, Coretta Scott King, are interred, offering a place for reflection and tribute.

The Birth Home of Martin Luther King Junior is a preserved historic site where he was born, providing insight into his early life.

Visiting the aforementioned locations is not only a chance to honor Doctor King's remarkable legacy but also an opportunity to learn more about the civil rights movement and the ongoing struggle for justice and equality. All these places are free to observe, and you can follow our self-guided walk to maximize your experience at your own pace!
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Martin Luther King Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Martin Luther King Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Atlanta (See other walking tours in Atlanta)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Author: doris
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church
  • Ebenezer Baptist Church: New Horizon Sanctuary
  • Martin Luther King Park Visitor Center
  • Gandhi Promenade
  • International Civil Rights Walk of Fame
  • King Center for Nonviolent Social Change
  • Freedom Hall
  • Dr. King's Tomb
  • Birth Home of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church

1) Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church

Located within the confines of MLK Memorial Park, part of the National Park Service, this church is preserved in a manner that you could just have easily walked into 1960s Atlanta to hear a sermon by Dr. King, himself. Visits don't take terribly long, as there isn't much to read, nor are there exhibits to interact with. Simply take a seat and let it all sink in to get a sense of the man and his mission of peace – preferably before attending a Sunday-morning worship service in the adjacent new sanctuary.

Founded in 1886, Ebenezer played a significant role as a spiritual center of the civil rights movement from 1960 to 1968, during which time Martin Luther King, Jr., served as co-pastor. One of the best parts is the opportunity to talk with the park rangers who not only take great care of this site, but are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about all things MLK. Also, Sunday morning visitors get to see the ongoing congregation flow in and out of service – a testament to the continuity of history and tradition.

It is highly recommended that you start your visit to the MLK Memorial Park here, where it essentially all began, and set the tone perfectly for your entire visit to the area.

Why You Should Visit:
To sit in the same pews, have the same views, and actually listen (over loud speakers) to the same sermons Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave, which helped propel the civil rights movement. A surreal, moving and certainly unique experience; a great place to begin a tour of Dr. King's life and legacy – and admission is free.

Plan to spend at least 2 to 3 hours exploring the church, sanctuary, and the surrounding historic neighborhood to fully immerse yourself in the experience.
Ebenezer Baptist Church: New Horizon Sanctuary

2) Ebenezer Baptist Church: New Horizon Sanctuary

The New Horizon Sanctuary, located across the street from the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church/Sanctuary, was built in 1999 and seats 1,600 people. Choosing to maintain its commitment of service to the urban community in a time when many churches were moving to the suburbs, it now forms part of the MLK National Historical Park, and was designed by architectural firm Stanley, Love-Stanley, P.C. along with the associated educational building, Peace Plaza, bell tower and prayer garden.

As the "historic" sanctuary is now used for special occasions only, regular services (Sunday Worship: 9am/11am; Wednesdays: 7-8 pm) are held here, with a special annual commemorative service featuring tributes to the life and achievement of Dr. King from national and international leaders. The building itself, modeled after an African tribal meeting hut, has a roof ribbing that is strongly reminiscent of African thatch, while the bell tower is a weave-and-glyph-patterned obelisk.
Martin Luther King Park Visitor Center

3) Martin Luther King Park Visitor Center

The MLK National Historic Park's Visitor Center offers an opportunity to learn about the life and legacy of Dr. King. The center features exhibits and displays that highlight the history of the Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Voting Rights Act. There are also multimedia exhibits that showcase the life and work of Dr. King, including his famous speeches and letters. Visitors can view artifacts and memorabilia related to Dr. King, including his Nobel Peace Prize medal and personal papers.

The center also offers educational programs and guided tours of the historic sites in the area, including Dr. King's childhood home, the Ebenezer Baptist Church, and the Historic Fire Station No. 6. Additionally, the center has a gift shop where visitors can purchase books, souvenirs, and other items related to the life and legacy of Dr. King.

Arrive early to get tickets for your free tour of Dr. King's Birth Home before the limited number is distributed.
Gandhi Promenade

4) Gandhi Promenade

The Gandhi Promenade is a peaceful and serene pathway located within the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta. This walkway is named in honor of Mahatma Gandhi, a leader in India's struggle for independence and a source of inspiration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The promenade features a series of large, granite columns inscribed with Gandhi's teachings and quotes, along with stunning artwork and lush greenery.

Visitors to the Gandhi Promenade can take a reflective stroll through the pathway while learning about Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolent resistance and how it influenced the Civil Rights Movement in America. The promenade offers a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, allowing visitors to connect with nature and find a sense of peace and inspiration.

One of the highlights here is the statue of Gandhi that sits at the center of the pathway, surrounded by benches for contemplation. The statue was created by Indian sculptor Gautam Pal and was unveiled in 1998 by Nelson Mandela during his visit to Atlanta.

The Gandhi Promenade is a beautiful tribute to the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and a reminder of the importance of nonviolent activism in the pursuit of justice and equality. A must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, social justice, and peaceful activism.
International Civil Rights Walk of Fame

5) International Civil Rights Walk of Fame

The International Civil Rights Walk of Fame is a unique tribute to the individuals and organizations that played a significant role in the civil rights movement. Located at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, the walk of fame honors those who have made a lasting impact on human rights and social justice around the world.

What makes this Walk of Fame so interesting is the diverse range of inductees that have been honored. From world leaders and activists to musicians and athletes, the walk of fame recognizes the contributions of a broad spectrum of individuals who have fought for equality and justice.

Visitors to the walk of fame can see the bronze plaques embedded in the sidewalks, each commemorating an inductee and their accomplishments. Some of the notable inductees include Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, and Muhammad Ali, among many others.

In addition to the walk of fame, visitors can explore the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, which includes the childhood home of Martin Luther King Jr., the Ebenezer Baptist Church where he preached, and his final resting place. The park is a powerful and moving tribute to the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement.
King Center for Nonviolent Social Change

6) King Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Admirers of Martin Luther King, Jr. will be enthralled by many of the historical displays collected by the King Center, which also includes a theater for audiovisual and interpretive programs, interactive exhibits, a gift shop and a bookstore. It's fronted by a beautifully landscaped plaza with a reflecting pool, King's crypt (which his wife had returned to the site several years ago), and an outdoor amphitheater for NPS programs.

History buffs should definitely visit the museum, which houses some the most memorable artifacts from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. These include the jail cell Dr. King stayed in after being arrested for civil disobedience in Birmingham (where he also wrote "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"), to the carriage that carried his casket from Ebenezer to Morehouse with some 200,000 mourners. There is even a clock with the time of King's assassination – almost as if time stood still at that exact moment.

Spending about an hour at the museum is recommended, but those who want to watch the many video clips from the era should give themselves more time.
Freedom Hall

7) Freedom Hall

Located within the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, the Freedom Hall served as the original headquarters of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the organization that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. co-founded in 1957.

Today, Freedom Hall serves as an exhibition space for visitors to the King Center. The exhibits include photographs, artifacts, and documents related to the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King's life and legacy. Visitors can view exhibits such as "Courage to Lead," which explores the leadership of Dr. King and other Civil Rights leaders, and "The Montgomery Story," which tells the story of the Montgomery bus boycott.

One of the notable features of Freedom Hall is the mural on the building's exterior, titled "Behold." The mural depicts a group of Civil Rights leaders, including Dr. King, gathered around a table. Visitors can also view the "International Civil Rights Walk of Fame" located outside of Freedom Hall, which honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.

Overall, Freedom Hall at the King Centre offers visitors a unique and informative look into the history of the Civil Rights Movement and the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. All of this for no charge, but there are donation boxes to make a contribution.
Dr. King's Tomb

8) Dr. King's Tomb

Serving as both a museum and a hub of social-justice activity, the King Center is also Martin Luther King, Jr.'s final resting place, attracting tens of thousands of visitors annually as a living memorial to the inspiring leader. Dr. King's white-marble crypt lies outside in the Freedom Plaza, surrounded by a magnificent five-tiered Reflecting Pool that symbolizes the life-giving power of water. The tomb bears an inscription of his famous words: “Free at Last. Free at Last. Thank God Almighty I’m Free at Last.”

A small circular pavilion in front of the crypt houses an eternal flame that burns continuously. The Chapel of All Faiths, located at the end of Freedom Walkway, represents the ecumenical nature of Dr. King's work and the universal principles of the world's major religions.

A store on the premises sells King memorabilia and an extensive collection of books. Ranger talks, focusing on the community and civil rights movement, occur regularly on Freedom Plaza.
Birth Home of Martin Luther King, Jr.

9) Birth Home of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Stoked in history and nostalgia, this Queen Anne–style house in the Sweet Auburn Historic District is a treasure and a delicate piece of history to visit. Built in 1895, it was bought 14 years later by King's maternal grandparents for $3,500. In 1926, when King's father married Alberta Williams, the couple – a Baptist minister and elementary-school music teacher – moved into the house, where King Jr. was born in 1929 (he lived here through the age of 12 before moving with his family a few blocks away).

Free half-hour guided tours are given on a continual basis, daily from 9am to 5pm, but to get tickets you will first have to book on the day at the National Park Service Visitor Center, at 450 Auburn Ave. On weekends, especially, arrive early as demand for tickets often exceeds supply.

Led by park rangers, the tours give an up close look at how MLK Jr. was raised, giving context to his work and the time he lived in. The first level includes the front porch, parlor, study, dining room, kitchen, laundry, bedroom and a bathroom, while the second level includes four bedrooms and a bathroom. The furnishings are all originals or period reproductions, and some personal items belonging to the family are on display. All in all, a must-see if you're in the area!

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