Martin Luther King Jr.’s family home to open to public

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The Atlanta house where slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. raised his family with Coretta Scott King will eventually be open to the public, the National Park Foundation, the National Park Service and the King family said.

The home, located in Atlanta’s Vine City neighborhood, will become part of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park. It’s not clear when it will be opened for tours.

The National Park Foundation purchased the house from the estate of Coretta Scott King on January 8, and immediately transferred the property to the National Park Service. The foundation issued a news release about the acquisition on Thursday.

“African-American history is U.S. history, and the family home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King is a touchstone for us all to better understand our shared heritage,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, nonprofit partner to the National Parks Service.

Bernice A. King, one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s two daughters, praised the park service’s “dedication to preserving historic properties.” She said in a tweet that it was the house the family lived in when her father was assassinated in 1968.

“We are very pleased to have worked with the National Park Foundation to ensure that the family home that my siblings and I grew up in will be open and available to the public,” she said.

“My brothers and I are honored to have fulfilled my mother’s wish to allow future generations to know the story of our dad as a father, a husband, a minister, and a civil rights leader,” she said.

The National Park Foundation said it purchased the home via private philanthropy.

Birth home purchased last year

The purchase of the family home in Vine City comes after the purchase and transfer of King’s birth home in late 2018.

That house is where his maternal grandparents lived, in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood. King was born there in 1929 and lived there for 12 years, the King Center said.

Park officials say the acquisitions of the properties will enhance their tours

“The addition of the homes where Dr. King was born and where he raised his family with Coretta Scott King provides the National Park Service sacred spaces to more fully tell the story of Dr. King’s life and legacy,” said National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith.

“Thanks to the efforts of the National Park Foundation and the generosity of the King family, these areas are now among the many civil rights sites that are preserved as part of the National Park System and will be accessible to the American people in perpetuity.”