Martin Luther King Jr.’s Childhood Atlanta Home Sold to the Federal Government

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home is no longer in the hands of the King family.

This week it was announced that the historic site located on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta was sold to the National Park Service. The two-story home was sold for $1.9 million, according to sources of CBS 46, although neither the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change nor the National Park Service confirmed the amount.

The home was first purchased in 1909 for $3,500 by King’s maternal grandfather, Rev. Adam Daniel Williams, who was the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church. Dr. King was born there on Jan. 15, 1929, and Congress declared it a National Historic Site in 1980. The house has been owned by the King family, and later the King Center, for more than 100 years, but now it has been placed in the hands of the federal government.

Martin Luther King
The childhood house of Martin Luther King Jr during the MLK March and rally on Jan. 19, 2015, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Prince Williams/FilmMagic)

The King family negotiated a sale of the property with the National Park Service in late November, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The National Park Foundation stated that the organization “facilitated through private philanthropy the purchase of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth home and its immediate transfer to the National Park Service. The transaction closed on November 27, 2018.”

In 1982, the National Park Service began offering tours of the home on behalf of the King Center. Since then, the Park Service has been maintaining the home for more than 30 years.

Dan Moore of African-American Panoramic Experience told Cleveland 19 he believes the move will help preserve the historic site.

“When you look at preservation, it’s much better in the hands of the National Park Service, who has the funds to preserve it,” Moore said. “The National Park Service has a long record of preservation, and of course this is their first national park for a Black individual, so we have to maintain all of the things we can as long as we can.”

The foundation stated that more details of the transfer will be revealed after the MLK holiday in January.

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