Lonely Planet Writer

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by visiting his newly reopened childhood home in Atlanta

Just in time for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the childhood home of the civil rights activist and American icon will reopen to the public on Monday, 16 January in Atlanta.

USA, Georgia, Atlanta, Martin Luther King National Historic Site, birthplace of Rev. Martin Luther King, King family home.
USA, Georgia, Atlanta, Martin Luther King National Historic Site, birthplace of Rev. Martin Luther King, King family home. Image by Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

On the national holiday, people around the US are inspired to celebrate and learn more about the Baptist minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was assassinated in 1968. Naturally, celebrations in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, are held at historic sites within the city. 

After being closed since August for repairs on the first floor, the home, which is located in the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic site, will partially reopen. The public will be able to tour the building on Auburn Avenue. The two-storey structure was built in 1895 and King was born there in 1929, living there for the first 12 years of his life.

Martin Luther King Jr. Mural at the National Historic Site in Atlanta, GA .
Martin Luther King Jr. Mural at the National Historic Site in Atlanta, GA . Image by ©Forty3Zero/Shutterstock

The National Historic site includes a number of buildings, including a visitor centre, the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where King was baptised, Dr. and Mrs. King’s grave site, and the historic Fire Station No. 6. Naturally, thousands of visitors to the home are expected on the holiday, and there will not be guided tours on Monday. Around Atlanta, there will be a number of free and public events planned for the day.

There will be the annual commemorative service held at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, an event described at the “spiritual hallmark” of the holiday’s observance. There will also be a commemorative march and rally, an event started by Coretta Scott King and begun before the national holiday was created. Travellers to Atlanta who want to learn more can visit the King Center for Non-Violent Social Change, established by King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, and learn about non-violent activism. There will be a free talk for the public at 5 pm.