New tour connects visitors with Georgia’s civil rights history
The new Georgia’s Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Trail has recently launched as part of a memorial service commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death.
The self-guided tour, created in partnership with The King Center, aims to memorialise and connect travellers with Georgia’s role in the civil rights movement through engaging and educational travel experiences. Georgia is often considered the home of the American Civil Rights movement because many key events were organised or enacted in the state. The life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is felt across the state where he was born, raised, preached and shaped a foundation that would lead him to becoming an icon of peace.
There are 28 sites included on the new Georgia’s Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Trail which include:
- Albany Civil Rights Institute, Albany
The institute includes a museum, research center and the rehabilitated Old Mount Zion Baptist Church, which was home to the Albany Movement.
- Dorchester Academy Boys’ Dormitory, Midway
Once a school for African American children, Dorchester’s dormitory was used by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to train activists and leaders during the civil rights movement.
- First African Baptist Church, Dublin
First African Baptist Church was established in 1867. The current historic church building was constructed in 1914 and is Dublin’s oldest African American church. In 1944, the Colored Elks Club of Georgia sponsored an oratory contest at the church, and the winner was Martin Luther King, Jr. He was 15 and his speech was “The Negro and the Constitution.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Statue at the Georgia State Capitol, Atlanta
The Martin Luther King, Jr. statue at the Georgia State Capitol was unveiled on Aug. 28, 2017. The bronze statue rises 8 feet atop a 36-inch pedestal with MLK engraved in gold on the Georgia granite. Atlanta-based sculptor Martin Dawe of Cherrylion Studios designed the bronze statue with King facing Liberty Plaza.
- Prince Hall Masonic Temple, Columbus
The Prince Hall Masonic Temple in Columbus was the site of a speech that Martin Luther King, Jr. gave to an audience of more than 1,000 people in 1958 during his inaugural year as president of the SCLC.
The collection of museums, schools, churches and other landmarks tell the important stories of how Georgia’s civil rights leaders advanced social justice and shifted the course of history. From the birth home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Atlanta to a historic school and meeting place for civil rights leaders on the Georgia coast, visitors can follow the footsteps of the dream and witness the memories from Georgia’s civil rights past.
“As the nation joins together to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are honored that his life and legacy are rooted in Georgia,” said Governor Nathan Deal. “Georgia’s Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Trail is an opportunity for visitors from around the world to explore Georgia and the destinations that played a critical role in the nation’s civil rights movement. The trail’s historic landmarks will undoubtedly educate and inspire visitors to carry on Dr. King’s legacy by serving others.”
Social media fans are encouraged to share their stories and experiences along the trail by using #FootstepsofMLK. Fans can follow @ExploreGeorgia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To find more information on the trail and to view each spot, visit ExploreGeorgia.org.