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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Family Home to Be Made Open to the Public

Dr. Bernice King said she struggled to let the family home go, but knew it was for the best

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Family Home to Be Made Open to the Public
The home where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. raised his family with Coretta Scott King will be made accessible to the public for the first time as part of Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, a part of the National Park System. Credit: Katie Bricker Photography for the National Park Foundation

The family of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the National Park Service announced that the home where the civil right icon raised his family will eventually be open to the public.

Dr. Bernice King, youngest daughter of the late civil rights leader, told EBONY on Thursday that her family home on Atlanta’s Sunset Avenue will offer visitors a “greater insight to my father holistically.”

The National Park Service purchased the home this month from King’s family through the National Park Foundation.

King said that it was tough to let go of the home, a place where she has memories from since she was 2 years old, but added that it had always been the wish of Coretta Scott King, her mother, for the home where she raised her four children to be “preserved for future generations.”

Pictured here are the steps of the kids’ slide in the backyard. Credit: Katie Bricker Photography for the National Park Foundation

“We’ve realized as a family, in order for our parent’s legacy to continue, it involved numerous people to take part in it,” said King, who added that the park service has the resources to restore the home for visitors.

King, the CEO of the King Center, said her childhood in the house was like any other kid’s.

“It was a lot of fun as a kid. We were a normal family. We had a lot of structure around us. Sometimes we would be outside in the backyard playing family,” she said. “We would gather around the dinner table and mom would go around and have discussions with us.”

The family lived in the home for three years before her father was assassinated on April 4, 1968. She said she doesn’t have many memories of the reverend from her time living there.

Park officials said it may take at least a year for the home to open to the public because of the need for restoration.

“This home has parts of our nation’s history,” said Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation.

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