|From Sweet Auburn|
When I lived in Orlando, People would always come down and ask me, what is your favorite attraction talking about Disney and its kind. I would say vehemently before any of the things you are thinking of you have to go to the beach and, if you can, go see a shuttle or missile launch at Cape Kennedy. If asked the same question about Atlanta, I would say that the Georgia Mountains are our Beaches. And the important achievement of mankind, our equivalent of
American Space exploration is the legacy of Martin Luther King and Civil Rights movement. A person would be a lesser person, and definitely a lesser Atlantan, if you didn't get down to the Martin Luther King Historic Sites of Sweet Auburn.
The whole street is lined with important moments in the progress of African Americans in Atlanta. From Alonzo Herndon's Atlanta Life Building, the first black led Fortune 500 company to the Atlanta Daily World, the first black owned daily newspaper. The top locations are the Martin Luther King Birth Home, Ebenezer Baptist Church, The King Center and the Martin Luther King Historic Site.
The Parking is free at the Historic Site and entry to each section has no charge (though donations are appreciated). The birth home itself can be toured, if you sign up in the historic site early enough. It is notable because of the size of the building. It was a truly grand home with many rooms and a nice backyard. Here it is easy to see how Sweet Auburn earned its reputation as the richest black neighborhood in the USA.
The Church is also open, but requires equal if not more respect than your standard house of God. Most of the day you can sit in the pews and listen to recordings of MLK's speeches. I wound up sitting there for about an hour and a half. If you aren't moved you have no heart.
The focal points of the King Center are the tombs of Dr. King and his wife Coretta. Set in a majestic reflecting pond, it is beautiful and poignant way for a man of the people to remain among the people.
You could visit the tombsite and time of day or night, if the mood presented. The Center building has rooms dedicated to the history of Dr. and Mrs. King, as well as a room dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi.
The National Historic Site is really a museum of the history of the Civil Rights movement. It hit me like the Vietnam Memorial or the Holocaust Memorials. It is important that places like this exist so that we never forget. It also contained a very interesting display on the Atlanta Race Riots of 1906. At the back of the site toward the parking lots stands the first Statue of Gandhi placed on US Federal Lands.
Go see these things if you have never gone. Go again if its been awhile. Take your visitors down there. What was birthed in this three block area changed the world for the better. It is clearly Atlanta's best testament to how great man can be.