Birthplace of MLK Dream, A Tour of the Parsonage in Montgomery

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By Ellis Eskew

Montgomery played a big role in the birth of the civil rights movement.
Dr. King lived here from 1954 to 1960 and was a pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

He lived at a parsonage on South Jackson Street.

Parsonage tour director Shirley Cherry tells the history that unfolded at 309 South Jackson Street.
You can still see the crater in the front porch where the house was bombed in 1956.
The house caught on fire and riots broke out.

"I tell everybody who comes in this house the highest honor I've ever had is putting a key in the door where Martin Luther King Jr. put a key because that is the symbol of unlocking the world for humanity," said Cherry.

Today, she gave me (Ellis Eskew) the honor of unlocking the door to the historical home.

Inside the parsonage looks very much like the way it looked in the mid to late 50s.
With some of the same furniture.

In the dining room, you can see the same table and chairs where the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was formed. And it was also the place of many discussions of the bus boycott.

In the hall way was a phone where the Kings received 30 to 40 hate calls a day.

King's study also looks very much the same.
It's where he typed his sermons, studied the Bible, and read books on Ghandi.
 
"This was his chair. That was his desk," said Cherry.

Cherry tells us that one night King was frustrated after receiving a disturbing threatening phone call.
He sat down at the kitchen table and prayed. It's where he is known to have had an epiphany, where he felt God speaking directly to him.

According to history, Cherry says this is what King heard from God:


"Martin Luther, stand up for truth, stand up for justice, stand up for righteous and know that I will be with you even into the end of the world..."


Tours of the Dexter parsonage museum or the church are done Tuesday through Saturday.
You can contact them for more information.

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