Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site established on October 10, 1980, consists of several buildings surrounding Martin Luther King, Jr.'s boyhood home on Auburn Avenue in the Sweet Auburn historic district of Atlanta, Georgia. The original Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church where King and his father Martin Luther King, Sr. pastored, is also part of the national historic site. These places are critical components in the interpretation of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy as a leader of the American civil rights movement. In total, the buildings included in the site make up 35 acres (0.14 km²). The visitor center contains a museum that chronicles the American civil rights movement which follows the parallel paths of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. A firehouse (Fire Station No. 6), built in 1894, served the Sweet Auburn community until 1991, and now contains a gift shop and an exhibit on desegregation in the Atlanta Fire Department. The “I Have a Dream” International World Peace Rose Garden, and a memorial tribute to Mohandas K. Gandhi. Also of interest is the "International Civil Rights Walk of Fame" which gives recognition to those courageous pioneers who sacrificed and struggled to make equality a reality for all.
As Martin Luther King, Jr., Historic District, an area bounded roughly by Irwin, Randolph, Edgewood, Jackson, and Auburn Avenues was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on May 2, 1974. The district included Ebenezer Baptist Church, the MLK grave site, the MLK birthplace, shotgun row houses, Victorian houses, the Alexander Hamilton House, the Atlanta Baptist Preparatory Institute site, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Colored Mission, Fire Station No. 6, and the "Triangle Building" at the intersection of Old Wheat St. and Auburn Avenue. Some or all of the area was designated a national historic landmark district on May 5, 1977. By U.S. Congressional legislation, the site became a national historic site on October 10, 1980 and is administered by the National Park Service (NPS). A 22.4-acre (91,000 m2) area including 35 contributing properties was covered, including 22 previously included in the NRHP historic district. The area covered in the NRHP designation was increased on June 12, 2001.
Coretta Scott King started the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in the basement of the couple's home in the year following King's 1968 assassination. In 1981, the center was moved into a multimillion dollar facility on Auburn Avenue, near King's birth home and next to Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he preached from 1960 until his death. In 1977, a memorial tomb was dedicated, and the remains of Martin Luther King Jr. were moved from South View Cemetery to the plaza that is nestled between the center and the church. Martin Luther King Jr.'s gravesite and a reflecting pool are also located next to Freedom Hall. Mrs. King was interred with her husband on February 7, 2006. As of 2006, the King Center is a privately owned inholding within the authorized boundaries of the national historic site. However, there is debate within the King family on whether it should remain so or be sold to the National Park Service.
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