Atlanta – Birthplace of Martin Luther King

After visiting Atlanta Zoo and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, I didn’t have much hope of getting a ticket for the birthplace of Martin Luther King. So, my plan was just to go to the visitor centre and see that, but I thought I’d ask about a ticket anyway. And, good fortune prevailed, there was one ticket left for the last tour of the day. This isn’t always possible, many reviews state just how difficult it is to get a ticket to visit the property and it’s recommended to go early on in the day.

It’s a short walk from the visitor centre to the birthplace home of Martin Luther King, one of the greatest of American political leaders. There were 15 people allowed on the tour and access is only granted to the house to those who have a ticket, which is issued free of charge.

The plaque at the entrance to the property, which is at 501 Auburn Avenue in Atlanta. King was born on 15 January 1929 in what was a predominantly black area at the time, living at the house with his grandparents, parents and siblings for the next twelve years. King was assassinated in Memphis in 1968 and so he feels like a figure from history, but if events had turned out differently, he could still be alive today.

Given how many people were living in the house, it’s not the largest, but the family were comfortable there. The tour lasts for around half an hour and it was led by an enthusiastic ranger who gave information about the building and the family who lived there. Photos inside aren’t allowed, which is probably for the best as there isn’t much time for the rangers to guide people around as it is.

The building was owned by the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change after his death, but the National Park Service purchased it relatively recently for $1.9 million. It’s fortunate that the property has survived, a sweeping plan to modernise the area was proposed in 1966 which would have seen its demolition, but there was too much opposition to that.