Twenty eight years after his death, Martin Luther King, Sr. will be honored with a building. On Sunday, November 4, 2012, Ebenezer Baptist Church will dedicate the new Martin Luther King, Sr. Community Resources Complex (MLK, Sr. CRC).
A tribute will be offered during Ebenezer’s 8:00 and 11:00 a.m. Worship Services in Horizon Sanctuary and the Official Dedication Ceremony will follow at 1p.m. at 101 Jackson Street, N.E. Atlanta. During both worship services, Ambassador Andrew Young will deliver the dedicatory sermon. After the outside service, there will be a ribbon cutting at the MLK, Sr. CRC front door and a reception will follow. All events are open to the media.
Friday, November 2, 2012 Media Day interviews and building preview tour with Dr. Raphael G. Warnock and Dr. Christine King beginning at 5 p.m. at 101 Jackson Street in the Music Suite
The building will be a living memorial to Daddy King and will continue his life’s work which was service to humanity regardless of race, creed, or gender. It will house some of his memorabilia and papers. And, in the Music Suite, the organ that his wife, Mrs. Alberta Christine Williams King played so often during Ebenezer services will be on display.
It was on June 30, 1974, while she was playing the very organ that a deranged young man fatally wounded Momma King and a church deacon during the worship hour. Daddy King, a man of great physical power and emotional strength watched powerlessly as his wife’s life was taken right before his and his family’s eyes.
The MLK, Sr. CRC is the only worldwide tribute to the father of the iconic civil rights leader and social transforming dreamer Martin Luther King, Jr. Martin Luther King, Sr., or Daddy King – who served as Ebenezer’s 3rd pastor for 44 years -- as he was known by persons of every pedigree was the driving force behind MLK, Jr. Not much credit has been given to this notion. The world has not viewed Daddy King as the orchestrator of Dr. King’s audacious ability to dream big dreams against insurmountable odds. In 1934 Rev. Michael King, upon returning from taking his family on a trip to Germany, officially changed his name and that of his son Michael Jr. to Martin Luther in honor of the German reformer. This speaks to a certain visionary trajectory that Daddy King had for his own life and the kind shaping that he was sculpting for his son’s vocation.
“Daddy King had the prophetic ability to look 30 years into the future to see what his son would become,” says Ebenezer’s pastor, Rev. Raphael G. Warnock.”
The Historic Ebenezer is affectionately referred to as America’s Freedom Church with a global presence. It was founded 127 years ago in 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia. Ebenezer Baptist Church is where Martin Luther King, Sr. planted the seeds for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to preach his ministry of nonviolence. Ebenezer is not only a legendary institution with a global reach but also serves as a conduit for social justice and meaningful social change today.
The Martin Luther King Sr. Community Resources Complex was born out of a desire to honor the memory of Martin Luther King Sr. who served for 44 years as the third pastor of the now 127-year old Ebenezer Baptist Church, and was also an advocate for equal justice and an early civil rights leader. As a major figure in the Georgia civil rights movement, he rose to become the head of the NAACP in Atlanta and the Civic and Political League. He led the fight for equal teachers’ salaries in Atlanta and played an instrumental role in ending Jim Crow laws in the state. After a vicious attack on black bus passengers, King Sr. stressed the need for an educated and politically active ministry.
The Martin Luther King, Sr. Community Resources Complex, which is a 32,000 square foot building, will allow the congregation of Ebenezer and the community to honor the memory of Martin Luther King Sr. by reaching beyond the walls of the church. The complex will improve the economic stability of families living in the area by working alongside residents to achieve measurable outcomes in the areas of financial literacy, work force development, education and family support. To achieve this goal, collaboration was formed by four nationally recognized organizations: Ebenezer Baptist Church, Casey Family Programs, Operation HOPE, Catholic Charities Atlanta, and The Center for Working Families, Inc. All five entities will be housed in the complex. It is expected that this collaboration of resources will become a national model for how faith-based institutions can partner with corporations, government agencies and non-profits to assist vulnerable hard working families.
“Through a recession, Ebenezer Baptist Church has constructed the Martin Luther King, Senior Community Resources Complex to extend our long legacy of standing for the poor, the marginalized and the disenfranchised in order to build what Martin Luther King, Jr. called the beloved community,” Dr. Warnock said.
The Martin Luther King, Sr. Community Resources Complex will be a beacon of hope to the members of the surrounding community and beyond. The complex is a standing testimony of Daddy King’s strong belief in home ownership, financial literacy and education. As a church in this community, the MLK, Sr. CRC is a living memorial because it continues upon Daddy King’s legacy of fighting for human dignity and freedom.