Georgia Tourism, a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), today announced a new trail, the Georgia’s Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Trail. The trail was created in partnership with The King Center and was launched this morning as part of the memorial service commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death.
“As the nation joins together to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are honored that his life and legacy are rooted in Georgia,” said Governor Nathan Deal. “‘Georgia’s Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Trail’ is an opportunity for visitors from around the world to explore Georgia and the destinations that played a critical role in the nation’s civil rights movement. The trail’s historic landmarks will undoubtedly educate and inspire visitors to carry on Dr. King’s legacy by serving others.”
This self-guided tour aims to memorialize and connect travelers with Georgia’s role in the civil rights movement through engaging and educational travel experiences.
“Georgia’s tourism destinations and experiences play an important role in preserving and connecting visitors to our history and heritage,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Georgia’s Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Trail underscores Dr. King’s legacy by highlighting landmarks across the state that were pivotal in his family, life and development as a civil rights leader. We are especially grateful to The King Center in Atlanta, as well as tourism industry partners statewide, for the support and participation in this new trail.”
The trail brings visitors closer to the events and leaders who fought for sweeping social change at 28 sites that are included on Georgia’s Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Trail. Some of the sites include:
· Albany Civil Rights Institute, Albany
The institute includes a museum, research center and the rehabilitated Old Mount Zion Baptist Church, which was home to the Albany Movement.
· Dorchester Academy Boys’ Dormitory, Midway
Once a school for African American children, Dorchester’s dormitory was used by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to train activists and leaders during the civil rights movement.
· First African Baptist Church, Dublin
First African Baptist Church was established in 1867. The current historic church building was constructed in 1914 and is Dublin’s oldest African American church. In 1944, the Colored Elks Club of Georgia sponsored an oratory contest at the church, and the winner was Martin Luther King, Jr. He was 15, and his speech was “The Negro and the Constitution.”
· Martin Luther King, Jr. Statue at the Georgia State Capitol, Atlanta
The Martin Luther King, Jr. statue at the Georgia State Capitol was unveiled on Aug. 28, 2017. The bronze statue rises 8 feet atop a 36-inch pedestal with MLK engraved in gold on the Georgia granite. Atlanta-based sculptor Martin Dawe of Cherrylion Studios designed the bronze statue with King facing Liberty Plaza.
· Prince Hall Masonic Temple, Columbus
The Prince Hall Masonic Temple in Columbus was the site of a speech that Martin Luther King, Jr. gave to an audience of more than 1,000 people in 1958 during his inaugural year as president of the SCLC.
“We are extremely excited about the Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Trail,” said Dr. Bernice A. King. “This trail is an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of courage, love, sacrifice and an unyielding commitment to humanity.”
This collection of churches, courthouses, schools, museums and other landmarks across the state tells the important stories of how Georgia’s civil rights leaders advanced social justice and shifted the course of history.
“Georgia was at the epicenter of the nation’s history-changing civil rights movement. Critical events took place all across the state, and landmarks and museums that celebrate Georgia leaders’ sacrifices and accomplishments now inspire new generations to continue the legacy,” said GDEcD’s Deputy Commissioner for Tourism Kevin Langston. “No matter where you travel along the trail, the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is felt. From Dr. King’s birth home in Atlanta to a historic school and meeting place for civil rights leaders on the Georgia coast, and many sites in between, experiencing these landmarks in person enables visitors to immerse themselves in the history made here and to draw their own inspiration.”
Social media fans are encouraged to share their stories and experiences along the trail by using #FootstepsofMLK. Fans can follow @ExploreGeorgia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To find more information on the trail and to view each spot, visit ExploreGeorgia.org.