DUBLIN, Georgia. (41NBC/WMGT) – Georgia played a huge role in the Civil Rights Movement as many key events took place in the state.
Martin Luther King Junior visited several cities, but he gave his first oratoracle speech in Middle Georgia.
Dublin has two sites on MLK Jr.’s trail that highlights historic locations across Georgia – the First African Baptist Church and the Martin Luther King Jr. Monument Park.
King participated in his high school essay contest and delivered his first public speech entitled “The Negro and the Consitituion” on April 14, 1944 at the hitoric First African Baptist Church.
To commemorate fifteen year old King’s speech, the community of Dublin came together to build the Martin Luther King Jr. Monument Park in 2017.
The park features a mural by Atlanta artist Corey Barksdale depicting a girl wishing for change and the future inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.
Barksdale also sculpted a bench using African symbols for peace, love and hope.
On the First African Baptist Church’s property stands another sculpture by local artist Juan Lleras.
Rebecca McWilliam who works with Visit Dublin says Lleras “used four figures in the sculpture to really call to future generations to carry on Dr. King’s legacy, to continue standing at the podium of life and speak their truth.”
The park also features a photo-mural by local photographer Randal Garhart to show people what Doctor King would’ve experienced giving his speech inside the neighboring church.
If seeing isn’t believing, visitors of all ages can also tour the First African Baptist Church and star in a living play – acting out the historical events.
The city of Dublin and the First African Baptist Church are currently working together to get the church on the National Register of Historic Locations. For now, it is on the Georgia Register of Historic Locations.
The monument park is free to visit, any day, any time.