Editor’s Note — Because of the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, some of the indoor venues mentioned in this article could be closed or have limited capacity. Be sure to check their websites or call before you make travel plans.
You can honor him on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, January 17) — or any other time of year — by walking in his footsteps figuratively or literally.
Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church is one of Atlanta’s most cherished sites.
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Georgia’s busy capital city is King’s birthplace and his final resting place. As such, it probably has the biggest claim on his legacy and MLK-related sites.
Some of the highlights include:
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. CNN’s Dana Bash traveled to Memphis to the sites where Martin Luther King Jr. spent his final hours.
For a city of its size, Memphis has an outsized influence on the nation’s musical, cultural and political history. The United States was deep in turmoil and scarred by violence when King came to Memphis in March 1968 in support of striking sanitation workers.
King and his group were booked at the Lorraine Motel, a safe and welcoming place to stay for black travelers at the time. On April 4, King was standing on the balcony outside of room 306 when he was shot and killed.
Today, Montgomery has numerous must-see civil rights attractions, including:
You can also see the exteriors at these King-specific sites:
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute has the jail door from King’s incarceration.
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The industrial powerhouse of the South and a bedrock of integration opposition in the mid-20th century, Birmingham also figured prominently in King’s life.
You’ll find The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials.
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It now seems inevitable that King’s march for justice took him beyond the Deep South to the nation’s capital. Here are some places you can visit:
Coretta Scott King unveils a bas relief of her late husband at the Mugar Memorial Library on the Boston University campus.
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While several cities in the South claim part of the King legacy, it may surprise some folks to know that Boston, that bastion of New England, also was a key place in shaping his life.
Did you know you can combine a Bahamas getaway with an MLK Jr. history tour?
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Combine a gorgeous island getaway with some MLK history on Bimini, the western most outpost of the Bahamas and just 50 miles off the coast of Florida.
King would come here to relax and craft his speeches, including notes for his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech he gave in Oslo, Norway, in 1964.
CNN Travel’s Lilit Marcus reported in a 2018 article that “there are two busts of King on the island — one in front of the Straw Market in the center of Alice Town and one among the very mangroves where King spent so many peaceful afternoons.”
A visit to the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana is a painful but necessary reminder of the Atlantic slave trade that went on for centuries.
The civil rights struggles in the United States and the end of colonialism in Africa came at the same time and naturally the movements dovetailed.
If you visit Mani Bhavan, the museum that was once Mahatma Ghandhi’s center of operations, you’ll have once again walked in the footstepls of MLK Jr.
Mahatma Gandhi’s crusade of nonviolent resistance to liberate India from British rule deeply influenced King.
Eventually he made his way to Calcutta (now called Kolkata), India’s intellectual center. Martin Luther King Sarani, a street named for him in the heart of the city, is not far from the Victoria Memorial.