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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birth Home Now Owned By National Park Foundation

The King family purchased the house at 501 Auburn Ave. in Atlanta Georgia in 1909. After 100 years in the family, it’s been sold.
By Tanya A. Christian, Essence

For nearly 110 years, the birthplace of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was owned by the King family. But according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a November sale now makes it the property of the National Park Foundation.

“My mother never saw us in the interpretive or preservation business,” Bernice King told the AJC about the sale. “The National Park Service has been managing and upkeeping the birth home for years, we have just been the owner on record.”

Prior to its $1.9 million dollar sale, the home was owned by King Center for Nonviolent Social Change Inc., where Bernice King serves as the CEO. King told the AJC that the nonprofit arm is looking to focus its energy on education and training programs in the area of nonviolence.

The National Park Foundation has run and operated the home at 501 Auburn Ave. since 1984 and offers free tours to the public. It’s a part of a larger Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site that includes a visitor center, the King Center where the graves of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King are located, the Historic Fire Station No. 6, and Ebenezer Baptist Church.

With a change in ownership, Will Shafroth, CEO of the National Park Foundation, hopes to pour the necessary funds needed to renovate and maintain the current structure.

This story originally appeared in Essence.


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