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Sundays in “Sweet Auburn” (cont.)

Posted on Sunday, March 5th, 2006.

Coretta Scott King, who passed away earlier this year, now lies in a tomb close to her husband’s. Many come to pay their respects and snap pictures of loved ones sitting by Mrs King’s resting place. In the picture above (right), one can also see the Martin Luther King Historic Site visitor’s center. It too is situated accross Auburn Avenue, adjacent, in fact, to the new Ebenezer Church. Accross the Site’s visitor’s center, stands the StoryCorps Airstream trailer! (In the picture above it is just above the head of a man dressed in black, standing on the side walk with a camera he is about to use to capture images of Coretta Scott King’s tombstone).

Martin Luther King Jr was born one block away from where he first preached with his father and from where he now lies in a tomb. The picture above was taken from the front porch of his birth home. King grew up in a neighborhood where Blacks had been forced to retreat after White mobs massacred members of the community in 1906. Black institutions and businesses that emerged after Emancipation were able to thrive despite the setback. In fact, during the interwar period, early civil rights leader and Atlanta resident, John Wesley Dobbs, used to say that Auburn Avenue was the richest Black street in the country and consequently dubbed it “Sweet Auburn”.

With integration however, came disinvestment and the neighborhood’s “sweetness” wore off. Since the 1990s there has been an effort to revitalize “Sweet Auburn”. One example of that is the restauration of the late 19th century houses seen above.

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