Frequently Asked Questions about Dr. King's Birth Home
1. Were all the furnishings in the Home owned by the King family?
No. The family did not own everything in the Home. A few pieces belonged to the King family, however most of the furniture is period furniture acquired by the National Park Service.
2. What is period furniture?
Period pieces are furnishings of the time period, i. e. The 1930’s.
3. Is this the way the Home looked when Martin lived here?
The Birth Home lacks a few items. However, Mrs. Christine King Farris, Dr. King’s sister, believes the Home looks much the way it did when she was a child.
4. Did the dishes belong to the King family?
Yes, the dishes on the dining room table are family-owned pieces.
5. Was Dr. King born in this bed?
No, this bed is a period piece. It is identical to the one in which he was born.
6. Who was M. L.?
Martin Luther King, Jr. Many people called him M. L. to distinguish him from Martin Luther King, Sr.
7. Was Martin ever called Michael?
Yes. Daddy King was named Michael Luther King by his mother. His first son was Michael Luther King, Jr. When the son was five, Daddy king changed his name to Martin Luther King and the son became Martin Luther King, Jr when both were baptized in 1931.
8. What was the small black stove in the kitchen used for?
This stove was a hot water heater.
9. Why are some doors in the Birth Home closed?
All the rooms in the Birth Home are not restored; consequently, those that are not restored are not open to the public.
10. How much is admission?
There is no admission charge to the Birth Home.
11. Why can’t I get on a Birth Home tour?
The National Park Service is responsible for preserving the Birth Home for future generations. Because of the age of the Birth Home we can only let a limited number of people on each tour. Unlimited tours would quickly lead to the deterioration of this important cultural resource.
12. Can I reserve a tour?
Since there are so few spaces we only give them out on a first come, first served basis for that day. No advance reservations are permitted.
13. I have come here every summer for years and I have never gotten a Birth Home tour. Tell me exactly why I can not get one.
During our busy season the tours fill up early in the day. Please come back at 9:00 am when we open.
14. Can I take pictures?
No. Picture taking is not allowed in the Home.
15. Why is picture taking not allowed in the Home?
The KingCenter, the owner of the Home, has asked the Park Service to prohibit picture taking inside the Home.
16. When did the Birth Home become a part of the National Park Service?
The Birth Home became a part of the National Park Service in October of 1980 when Congress established the Martin Luther king, Jr. National Historic Site.
17. When was the Home restored?
The KingCenter began to restore the Home in the early 1970’s. Restoration was completed in 1975. Shortly afterward, the Home was opened to the public. The National Park Service completed the restoration and took over the maintenance and tours of the Home in 1984.
18. Did the KingCenter find all this furniture?
In the early 1990’s, the National Park Service brought in some smaller pieces to complete the restoration.
19. Who lived here after the Kings moved out?
After the King family moved they rented the house to various families. At one point it was converted into a two-family dwelling. The Rev. A. D. Williams King, Dr. King’s brother, and his family lived on the second floor in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.
20. Where did the King family move to in 1941?
During the summer of 1941 the Kings moved to 193 Boulevard. The home was about three blocks north of the intersection of Auburn and Boulevard.
21. Why did the family move?
In his autobiography Daddy King stated that the Birth Home was beginning to run down. As a child Daddy King dreamed of owning a yellow brick house. In 1941 the Kings moved into a yellow brick house.
22. Were Daddy King and Rev. Williams native Atlantans?
No. Neither was born in Atlanta. Daddy King was from Stockbridge, Georgia and Rev. Williams was from Greene County, Georgia.
23. Is this the house that was bombed?
No. The house that was bombed was the DexterAvenueBaptistChurch parish in Montgomery, Alabama.
24. Is the sewing machine a family piece?
No. The sewing machine is a period piece.
25. Is this the Wallpaper that was in the Home when Martin was a child?
The present wallpapers are modern reprints of patterns chosen from old wallpaper pattern books to match what was here when the King family was here.
26. Did they have electricity in the 1930’s?
Yes, the Birth Home had electricity in the 1930’s. In fact, all the major utilities were available in this neighborhood by 1900.
27. Does the Birth Home have a basement?
The Birth Home does have a lower level. However it is not a basement, it is a cellar. The furnace was located in the cellar.
28. Who owns and maintains the Birth Home?
The KingCenter owns the Birth Home. The National Park Service maintains it.
29. Does anyone live in the Birth Home?
No. No one lives in the Birth Home.
30. Was the Home air conditioned during Martin’s childhood?
No. The Birth Home was not air conditioned when Martin was growing up. The air conditioning was added to help preserve the furniture.
31. Was this the soap they used?
No. This was not the bar of soap used by the King family.
32. Whose hats are in the hall?
The hats in the hall are period hats like the ones that belonged to Daddy King.
33. Are the towels in the bathroom family articles?
No. The towels are not family items but they are from the time period.
34. Was Martin really born in this house?
Yes. Martin, his brother and sister were all born in the house.
35. Which room was Martin’s?
Martin and A. D. shared the bedroom next to their parent’s room. As you face the backdoor upstairs, it is the last room on the left.
36. Who is the couple in the picture over the piano?
The couple in the picture is Rev. A. D. Williams and Mrs. Jennie C. Williams (date unknown). Other photographs of the Williams’ are in the family room.
37. What was Rev. Williams’ full name?
Rev. Williams’s full name was Adam Daniel Williams.
38. When were the exterior stairs in the back added?
The back stairway was added when the home was rented as a duplex.
39. When was Martin born?
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born at twelve noon on Tuesday January 15, 1929.
40. How many siblings did Martin have?
Martin had one brother, A. D. and one sister Willie Christine.
41. What was A. D.'s full name?
A. D.’s full name was Alfred Daniel Williams King.
42. Did the King family sell the home after they moved?
No. The Kings did not sell the Home. They rented the Home to various families.
43. Has the Birth Home been used in the filming of any movies?
Yes. It was used in the filming of “The Boy King”, a movie about Dr. King’s childhood. The Home has also been used to film interviews with the King family.
44. Why is there a barrier around the cellar?
The barrier was placed there as a safety precaution when the cellar door was kept open.
45. What is down in the cellar?
The coal-burning furnace that the King family used is still in the cellar. The door was open to show it. Martin’s favorite chore was hauling coal from a shed in the back yard to stoke the furnace.
46. Why is this room referred to as the Birth Room?
This room is referred to as such because the King children were actually born in this room.
47. How much did Rev. Williams pay for the Birth Home in 1909?
Rev. Williams paid $3,500.00 for the Birth Home. He paid a $500.00 down payment and $30.00 plus interest for 100 months.
48. When was the Birth Home constructed?
The Birth Home was constructed in 1894.
49. Where is the Birth Home?
The Birth Home is located at 501 Auburn Avenue, N.E.Atlanta, Georgia.
50. Was the Birth Home a parish or parsonage?
No. Rev. Williams owned it EbenezerBaptistChurch did not own the Birth Home.
51. When is the Birth Home open?
Tours of the home are given every hour from 10:00 am to 5:00 PM. Summer hours are every half-hour from 9:30 am to 5:30 PM.
52. Where do I sign up for the Birth Home tours?
Tour tickets are issued at the National Park Service Visitor Center at 450 Auburn Avenue, N.E. across from the KingCenter. The VisitorCenter is open 9:00 am to 5:00 PM and 9:00 am to 6:00 PM summer hours.
53. How much are the tours?
There is no admission charge for any building or tour at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. Donations are accepted.
Did You Know?
Mama King (Alberta) was playing the organ in 1974 when a young Black man named Marcus Wayne Chennault stood up and opened fire. He killed Mama King and a Deacon and wounded two other Deacons. He was sentenced to life in prison and died in 1988. No reason was ever given for why he killed Mrs. King.