Celebrating 75: The creation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center

ATLANTA — As we continue to celebrate 75 years here at WSB-TV we are looking back on some of the stories that have made history since we went on the air.

The national historic site honoring one of Atlanta’s native sons – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – is one of the highlights in our history.

We were there as the late Coretta Scott King got the ball rolling to make the center a reality.

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“We have raised thus far approximately 4 1/2 million dollars and that includes all that the mayor has talked about the investment in land and properties and the development of the birth home,” King said when she announced the creation of the center.

King raised money for what is now the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Change. The center is run by the National Park Service.

“When it was first originally established, the park did not own much of anything. It was really under the guidance and mothership of Coretta Scott King, who had the vision to make sure that her husband’s legacy is here for future generations,” the National Park Service said.


The park encompasses Dr. King’s birth home, which was built in 1895. It was purchased by his grandparents in 1909 for $3,500 when his parents married. They moved into the home and Dr. King was born in January 1929.

“The park service has complete control and management of the interpretation education and preservation of the home in the community,” the National Park Service said. “We also work closely with Ebenezer Baptist Church. We were fortunate to use the heritage sanctuary, which is where Dr. King preached or co-pastored with his father, also where he was funeralized.”

There’s a visitor center, museum, Victorian houses, row houses, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church and Fire Station No. 6 all included on the site, which was listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in May 1974. The area was designated a National Historical Landmark in May 1977.

The site was expanded to include more property and designated as a National Historical Park through a bill proposed by the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis and signed in January 2018 by former President Donald Trump.


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