Atlanta, Georgia: MLK Birthplace, Hometown, and Tomb in Historic Sweet Auburn

We actually ended up walking all around the neighborhood MLK Jr was born in and grew up in on the anniversary of his “I Have a Dream” speech. That was total coincidence, but it made the experience that much more significant. The house in which he was born was closed off for renovations, but we did get to see a firehouse from the time-period that he would have played around and the church he would have attended growing up, where he watched his father preach. We also visited the King Center, where he and Coretta Scott King are buried.

“The Sweet Auburn Historic District is a historic African-American neighborhood along and surrounding Auburn Avenue, east of downtown Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The name Sweet Auburn was coined by John Wesley Dobbs, referring to the ‘richest Negro street in the world,’ one of the largest concentrations of African-American businesses in the United States. A National Historic Landmark District was designated in 1976, covering 19 acres (7.7 ha) of the neighborhood, significant for its history and development as a segregated area under the state’s Jim Crow laws” (via Wikipedia).

 

Atlanta, Georgia: Art and Americana in Sweet Auburn

In October 2016, a Nashville friend mentioned she was house-sitting for a few weeks for her brother in Atlanta, Georgia. Since I’d never been to Atlanta, I promptly invited myself to stay with her for the weekend, and we spent two days exploring this amazing city. I didn’t really have any idea of what Atlanta looked like, and I didn’t do much trip prep, so I was blown away by how cool and beautiful the city was.

These photos are from the Sweet Auburn neighborhood, mostly from Edgewood Ave SE, which was covered in gorgeous street art and murals. My favorite was the detailed statement piece, “Education is Not a Crime,” pictured in the first photo on this post. Take a sec to open the image in a new tab and zoom in. It’s a powerful visual essay on the way African American history is sanitized into a single paragraph in textbooks. You can learn more about the mural and the artists here and here.

This is a very important part of Atlanta’s political and cultural history: “The Sweet Auburn Historic District is a historic African-American neighborhood along and surrounding Auburn Avenue, east of downtown Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The name Sweet Auburn was coined by John Wesley Dobbs, referring to the ‘richest Negro street in the world,’ one of the largest concentrations of African-American businesses in the United States. A National Historic Landmark District was designated in 1976, covering 19 acres (7.7 ha) of the neighborhood, significant for its history and development as a segregated area under the state’s Jim Crow laws” (via Wikipedia). It’s in this neighborhood that Martin Luther King Jr was born and grew up. It’s also in this neighborhood that Coretta Scott King built The King Center, where both she and her husband are now buried.

[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000.]

The Hike to Sunset Rock in Lookout Mountain, TN

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Last spring I went on a weekend trip with a new friend to hike. We hiked 14 miles across the Tennessee border into Georgia and back out again on the Bluff and Gum Spring Trails before ending up, exhausted, at Sunset Rock, where we had a grand finale of an overlook after over an hour of great views as we walked along the Bluff trail, which follows the base of bluffs on Lookout Mountain. (That’s me below enjoying the view before begging water off other hikers).

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After the hike, we grabbed dinner in Chattanooga, then headed back up to Falls Creek Falls, where we pitched our tent (lousy camping FYI). The next day we did some easy hiking to see the beautiful waterfalls in the park, then headed up to Cookeville (pronounced Coke-ville) for a Mothers Day brunch at a great New Orleans style restaurant.

 

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While I’m always down for weekend adventures, this may have been one of my most spontaneous trips ever. I’d been using Bumble’s BFF feature to meet new friends. I met up at Bar Taco in Nashville on a Thursday to get drinks with a woman I’d been chatting to on the app. While eating, we realized we both had been looking for folks to go camping with us that weekend. So, that Friday, we met up to adventure together. I love those moments when you connect with someone and instantly make adventure plans. It was a great weekend. My toenails are still healing today, almost a year later, from the damage my too-small boots did, but it was worth the pain!
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[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more photos of Tennessee.]