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Martin Luther King Jr.'s birth home in Atlanta will reopen in time for Monday holiday

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was born in this Atlanta home on Jan. 15, 1929.
(Raymond Boyd / Getty Images)

Eighty-eight years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was born in a modest Atlanta home. Now the house where he lived until age 12 will partly reopen Monday after being closed since August.

“We had some minor repairs that needed to take place,” says Judy Forte, superintendent of Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta. “There was wear and tear from foot traffic. … It needed some tender love and care.”

Repairs were limited to the first floor, she said, and more are needed on the home’s upper floor. Indeed, the house built in 1895 typically draws about 20,000 visitors in a four-hour stretch on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

On the Monday holiday, the first floor of the house will be open, but not for ranger-led tours. The 30-minute guided tours resume after the holiday.

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King’s birth home at 450 Auburn Ave. N.E. is one of a series of buildings that comprise the historic site, which also features the Visitor Center, historic Ebenezer Baptist Church (where he was baptized and ordained as a minister), grave site, Freedom Hall (part of the King Center) and historic Fire Station No. 6.

Planned celebrations include a day of service at the historic site Saturday and a celebration of King’s life from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday at Ebenezer Baptist Church, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in attendance.

For those who plan to immerse themselves in King’s legacy, there’s a new civil rights landmark to see in Atlanta too.

Last October, a plaque was dedicated at the site of the Atlanta Student Movement’s protest on Oct. 19, 1960. Students launched a sit-in to desegregate a restaurant at Rich’s department store, now the site of the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center. King and others were arrested, but their actions inspired more lunch counter actions.

Info: Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, the King Center at 450 Auburn Avenue, NE

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