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This Day in Georgia History

December 19, 1897

Martin Luther King, Sr. Born

Martin Luther King Sr. was born to Delia and James Albert King in Stockbridge, Georgia. In 1926, he married Alberta Christine Williams, daughter of A.D. Williams, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. The following year, King became assistant pastor at Ebenezer. They lived up the street from the church at 501 Auburn Ave., where on Jan. 15, 1929, their first son, Martin Luther King Jr., was born. King Sr. attended Morehouse College, obtaining a bachelor of arts degree in theology in June 1930. After A.D. Williams died in 1931, King was chosen to succeed his father-in-law as pastor of Ebenezer, officially becoming pastor in April 1932. He became active with the Atlanta Baptist Ministers Union, and was elected as its president in 1935. The same year, King staged a protest against segregated elevators in the Fulton County courthouse and also participated in a call for black voter registration. In 1936, King led a membership drive for the NAACP in Atlanta and was active in civil rights causes for the remainder of his life. In 1946, King was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Morris Brown College. After 48 years with Ebenezer Baptist Church, “Daddy King” retired as pastor on Aug. 1, 1975. He died in Atlanta of a heart attack on Nov. 11, 1984.