The birth home of a truly great American
Last year, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr Day, I painted this portrait of the Atlanta, Georgia home where the great orator, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and leader of the American civil rights movement was born. I wanted to pay my respect and celebrate his life and legacy the best way I know how — with my paintbrush.
Martin Luther King Jr. (originally named Michael Jr.) was born on the second floor of this clapboard Victorian house on January 15, 1929, and he lived there for the first twelve years of his life. His home was a happy one, and he once said, “I grew up in a family where love was central and where lovely relationships were ever present.” Located on Auburn Avenue, and built in 1894, the house is now part of the 34-acre Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park that includes other notable buildings such as Ebenezer Baptist Church, the World Peace Rose Garden and the Prince Hall Masonic Temple, first headquarters of the SCLC. The National Park is an essential place to visit to learn more about America’s civil rights era.
I found a great article about the Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth home on Houzz. The house was recreated to resemble how it looked when the young MLK lived there. Here are a snippets from the article.
Some history about the house
The two-story clapboard house with its welcoming porch was purchased for $3,500 in 1909, by King Jr.’s maternal grandfather, the Rev. Adam Daniel Williams. King Jr.’s mother grew up here. When she married, King Jr.’s father moved in with her and her parents. All three of the couple’s children — Michael (later Martin), his older sister, Christine, and his younger brother, Alfred were born here.
The parlor in the King home was used by both the family and the community. This is where the elder King conducted church and political meetings; his wife, who was the choir director at Ebenezer Baptist Church, held rehearsals; and their daughter helped serve choir members hot chocolate and cookies.
King Jr.’s grandmother ran the kitchen and prepared many of the family meals. She was an important family figure because the elder Kings’ work as a minister and choir musician often took him away from home.
The kitchen was a comfortable room. The home had electricity and, by the 1930s, central heating, the latter somewhat unusual in Atlanta at the time. A box of Wheaties — said to be the young King Jr.’s favorite breakfast cereal — has a prominent spot on the kitchen table
The Parents’ Bedroom
The three King children were all born in this master bedroom. In her book, My Brother Martin, Christine King Farris, the elder sister of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, stated that because she arrived early, her parents hadn’t yet bought a crib, and had to place her “in the chifforobe drawer that stood in the corner of their upstairs bedroom.”
The Boys’ Room
As with all the rooms in the house, the boys’ bedroom was restored under the guidance of King Jr.’s mother and sister. Rumpled beds, toys on the floor — the upstairs bedroom that the King brothers shared was always in disarray. King Jr. was a precocious child. He learned to read early, and when at the age of 5 his parents tried to enroll him in school, he was refused because he was a year too young. He entered David T. Howard Elementary School at age 6.
For a more in-depth look at the MLK Birth home, here is the Houzz article.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief look into the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and may his spirit for reform and equality for all — no matter ones race, color or creed — forever live on!