Martin Luther King, Jr., lived in this parsonage when he was minister
of the church between 1954 and 1960. On January 31, 1956, following the
successful Montgomery bus boycott, King's home was bombed by local segregationists.
At the time, King was at a meeting, but his wife Coretta was at the parsonage
with her ten-week-old daughter Yolanda Denice, also known as "Yoki."
After King had verified that both were unhurt, he addressed the angry
crowd of African Americans outside. "Don't do anything panicky," he advised.
"I did not start this boycott. I was asked by you to serve as your spokesman.
I want it to be known the length and breadth of this land that if I am
stopped, this movement will not stop." In February 1957, when King was
alone in the parsonage with Morehouse College friend Bob Williams, something
disturbed King. He told Williams they should leave the parsonage immediately.
Several hours later, after the two men had gone to Williams' house, a
bomb exploded outside the parsonage, crushing the front part of a house
and shattering the windows of three parked taxis, injuring the drivers.
At the empty parsonage, 12 sticks of dynamite lay on the front porch.
Only a few days after the bombing, police arrested seven white men. Two
of them admitted to the crime, but despite their signed confessions, they
were acquitted by a jury.
Pastorium, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church
Photo courtesy of Alabama Historical Commission
The Pastorium is located at 309 South Jackson Street in Montgomery and is expected to be open to the public in January 1999. To arrange a tour of the church, call the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church at 334-263-3970.
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