A Kingdom Divided: The King Center vs. the MLK Jr. National Historic Site

Learn the difference between the two entities
1145

One million tourists visit the King historic district every year—it’s one of Atlanta’s top draws. The busiest month is January, loaded with events celebrating the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Visitors are often baffled to find that two entities operate here.

The King Center
The King Center

Photograph by Allyson Busch

At 449 Auburn Avenue sits the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, established by the family of the late civil rights leader. Here you will find the crypt containing the remains of King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, as well as an eternal flame and an archive (appointment required).

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

Photograph by Allyson Busch

Across the street at 450 Auburn Avenue is the visitors center, part of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, which is run by the National Parks Service. That explains something else: the presence of rangers in outdoorsy gear. They lead tours of King’s birth home, the 35-acre district, and historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.

On the calendar: Service events, marches, and concerts honor MLK’s legacy during King Week, January 19-25.

This article originally appeared in our January 2015 issue.

Advertisement