On December 1st 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama. Ms Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat for another white passenger while returning home from a long day at work. This sparked a boycott that led to the formation of the Montgomery improvement association, led by a young minister from the Dexter avenue Baptist church, by the name of Dr. Martin Luther King.
The vast majority of black people in Montgomery flat out refused to ride the buses in response and protest of her arrest. Local black cab drivers showed their support in their own way by reducing their fares to 10c, the same price as a bus ticket.
The Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church is the spiritual home of Martin Luther King. This is where his struggle for racial equality, and the civil rights movement has its roots deeply entrenched.
Don’t expect to visit the church to wowed and awed by architectural splendor. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely building from the outside and it has an amazing commemorative art mural painted on the interior. This is not what this attraction is is about.
It’s about its association with the civil rights movement, and the great man that was once a minister of the church. The highlight of this attraction is being able to sit in the very seat Martin Luther King once occupied, or to stand at the pulpit where he gave many sermons and speeches, where his words of profound wisdom and truth, once echoed throughout the walls of this building. A priceless experience.
If you plan your visit at the right time, you may be lucky enough to find on street parking (paid) directly in front of the building. Located about an hour an a half away by car in Birmingham, you will find more civil rights themed historic attractions. The 16th Street Baptist Church and the Civil Rights Museum.
Self guided tours which are free of charge are only available on Fridays. Otherwise guided tours are very reasonably priced at $2 and $1 for adults and children. I advise paying for the guides as they will make you laugh and cry! They are passionate, smart, funny and worth every penny. Please kindly consider donating to the church. They receive no State funding and they are also responsible for the upkeep of the Parsonage museum. This is the home where Dr. Luther King resided with his family. It is a complete period restoration. For information on paying or group tour bookings of the Parsonage museum or church please visit their website below.
Tours are available on an hourly basis from Tuesday to Saturday at beginning at 10:00 until 15:00. The church is open on Sundays but only for sermons and tours are not offered. You are welcome to attend church services.