Led by a preacher who called Atlanta, Georgia home, what started as a dream became a revolution of peaceful protest for equal rights. His name is known and his legacy felt, but his whole story hasn’t been told. Scattered around Atlanta are sites that Martin Luther King, Jr. has left his mark on, his childhood home among the more popular of them.
However, it’s the lesser known sites around Atlanta that show the communal involvement in the fight for civil rights here in Georgia…. So next time you’re in Atlanta, take a visit to these thee places and experience MLK’s civil rights movement from a perspective you’ve never seen before.
(1) Busy Bee Cafe-ATL: Restaurants became a popular meeting spot for many civil rights leaders here in Atlanta. Among the well-known ones like Paschal’s Restaurant are small, humble spots that provided the ideal rendezvous location for continuing the fight for equal rights. Busy Bee Cafe became one of them. Experts in serving southern soul food, MLK and other civil rights influencers would often gather here. Today, locals and outsiders alike flock to Busy Bee Cafe to experience what travel site Expedia calls a “humble down-to-earth setting that satisfies the appetites of all those who grace its counters.” In true commemorative fashion, Busy Bee Cafe is located off of (810) Martin Luther King Dr. (Atlanta, GA 30314).
(2) WERD Radio: Atlanta-based news station CNN praises WERD radio for being “the first black-owned radio station in the United States.” Still in use today, WERD radio station also used to be the hub of weekly addresses given by MLK to spread his messages to a growing audience of supporters dedicated to the civil rights movement. Nowadays, WERD lives on with evening vinyl sessions and as a volunteer-run museum with the neighboring hair salon that was previously owned by Madam C. J. Walker. (54 Hilliard St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30312).
(3) Butler Street YMCA: A bit more difficult to find, the Butler Street YMCA is where MLK learned how to play basketball and where the African American Registry argues his foundation for civil rights exposure began. MLK’s membership at the YMCA placed him into a setting of local influencers who were involved in both prayer and protest. In his adult life, the influence seems widespread and reflective of the YMCA’s club motto of coming together in spaces with “food for taste and food for thought for those who are hunger for information and association.”
We are proud to be Dr. King’s hometown and to celebrate his achievements every week on our Atlanta Food Walks tours. Join us on a tour to learn much more about Dr. King and his life here in Atlanta.