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Head South of the U.S. for Martin Luther King Jr. Tours!

mlk-jr-tour
Written by Suzy Guese

If you don’t already know, Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday observed each year on the third Monday of January. During young elementary school years, you probably were educated on what this day was all about and the reason everyone had the day off from school. On MLK day we honor the man who dedicated his life to the civil rights movement in America. Visiting the historical places where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born, lead movements, and was assassinated is both fascinating and self-educating. If you find yourself down south in the US on this recognized day or any other day of the year, then you should definitely tour these historical places listed below to fulfill your knowledge of  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Birth Home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Atlanta, GA.

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Image via Flickr CC-Ken Lund

Located at 501 Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia was once the home of one of the greatest leaders of our time. Take a tour and see where MLK was born and spent the first twelve years of his life. All tours are a first come first serve basis so don’t be completely bummed if you’re unable to join a group tour on your first try. Upon entry, you’ll see that the home has been restored to look as it did when MLK resided there. The tour will take you upstairs to the location where Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. Put this first on your list MLK tour list if you’d prefer to follow his life from the beginning of time.

Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA.

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Image via Flickr CC- Adam Jones

This historical place of worship is where Martin Luther King Jr. served as c0-pastor while helping the church’s cause towards being the spiritual center of the civil rights movement from 1960 to 1968. Ebenezer Baptist Church wasn’t an unfamiliar place for MLK as his father and grandfather both served as pastors here prior to and during his service as co-pastor. It’s certainly a place for you to put on your MLK tour list as it’s where MLK served as Reverend until his funeral, which was also held here.

The King Center, Atlanta, GA.

Image via Flickr CC-Ken Lund

Image via Flickr CC-Ken Lund

Established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King is The King Center, also referred to as the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, this museum, memorial, and educational center is dedicated to the civil rights leader and his cause. The King Center holds important memorabilia including King’s Bible, a handwritten sermon, and the key to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis where he was assassinated. You can find the world’s largest collection of books on the civil rights movement in the library here and can also visit the final resting place of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., located outside in Freedom Plaza with an epitaph from his I Have a Dream Speech: “Free at Last. Free at Last. ThaAlmightyAlmight I’m Free at Last.”

Dexter Avenue King Baptise Church and the Dexter Parsonage Museum, Montgomery, AL.

Home to where King and his young family lived between 1954 and 1960 at Dexter Parsonage Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. On your tour, you’ll see the same furniture that MLK and his wife Coretta Scott King filled their house with and will visit the study where King would prepare for his Sunday sermons. The Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church is where King first preached as a young pastor. Both locations hold a strong history of MLK’s efforts of the civil rights movement.

The National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN.

Image via Flickr CC-Reading Tom

Image via Flickr CC-Reading Tom

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated as he stepped out onto his balcony at the Lorraine Motel. This site later became the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum located in Memphis, Tennessee mainly focuses on the struggles of African American freedom and equality. As you tour you’ll come across a few rooms from the hotel that were left as they were during King’s time, giving a feeling of presence and importance of MLK.

Have you been to any of these MLK Jr. sites? Tell us about it in the comments! 

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About the author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at http://suzyguese.com.

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