Atlanta Stories and Tips

Martin Luther King, Jr's Tomb

Dianne in Front of Martin Luther King's grave Photo, Atlanta, Georgia

After touring Ebenezer Baptist Church, Mom and I walked further down Auburn Avenue towards Martin Luther King, Jr's tomb.

On April 4, 1968, while in Memphis, Tennessee giving a sermon to striking workers there, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray, a white supremacist who was against desegregation and Martin Luther King's activism. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated as he was standing outside his room at the Lorraine Hotel with Jesse Jackson and other Civil Rights activists, and one of the most moving pictures of history is the photo of Dr. King lying dead in a pool of blood while Reverend Jackson and the others point up to the location of James Earl Ray's sniper position.

After Dr. King's assassination, his body was brought back to Atlanta for the funeral and burial. His funeral was held in the Old Ebenezer Baptist Church where King had preached from 1960-1968, but he was originally buried in South View Cemetery near his family. In 1977, Dr. King's remains were moved to its current place in the plaza between Ebenezer Baptist Church and The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center. There is a reflecting pool surrounding his grave along with an eternal flame in front.

Coretta Scott King was buried next to her husband on February 7, 2006 after spending decades continuing her husband's cause. Mom and I visited the tomb after touring the center and Ebenezer Baptist Church, and it was very moving for both of us. Although I was only 26 days short of my first birthday in 1968, I have always been moved by Dr. King and his non-violent search for peace and equality for all, and visiting his grave was a dream come true for me and my mother who spent a short period of her life working in Washington, DC in the 1960's and saw what segregation was like there.

The wind made the eternal flame in front of Dr. King's tomb hard to see, but we could hear the whoosh of the gas and once in a while a spark or flare of flame would show up. People have thrown coins into the reflecting pool to give them luck and peace, but I just made a sign of the cross as a sign of respect before Mom and I left for Martin Luther King, Jr's Birthplace. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center and sites have left an indelible impression that I will remember for the rest of my life.

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