2. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
Photo: Bill Rand
The histories of Georgia, of the South, and of the nation as a whole are inextricably joined, and no one figure better embodies that fact than Martin Luther King, Jr. The late minister and civil rights activist was born and raised in Atlanta. His memorial, located in the Sweet Auburn district where King grew up, is split between the museum itself and several nearby historically important buildings that include King’s family home and Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he and his father before him preached.
The King Center for Non-Violent Social Change details many aspects of King’s life, naturally focusing on his enormous contribution to the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s. However, the museum also features many civil rights-related exhibits from times and places other than King’s. Artifacts of the Jim Crow era, which began before King was born, are a striking reminder of the kind of hateful and violent behaviors that humans are capable of under certain circumstances.
Not surprisingly, the King National Historic Site also contains a memorial to Mohandas Gandhi. King was famously inspired by Gandhi, whose long and hard-fought struggle against British rule in India managed to achieve the goal of independence by non-violent means. As a reminder of the importance of dialogue and peace, the King memorial area is an invaluable resource and a must-visit for travelers exploring Atlanta.