Ebenezer Baptist Church
Backstory and Context
Ebenezer Baptist Church, now maintained by the National Park Service, was a major influence in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life. It was here that he was baptized, delivered his first sermon, served as a pastor, and was eulogized at his funeral service. King’s maternal grandfather, Rev. A.D. Williams, and his father, Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr., led the church for 81 consecutive years between 1894 and 1975. They focused on uplifting the spiritual, social, economic, educational, and political spirits of their congregations. Dr. King, Jr. became a co-pastor of Ebenezer in 1960 and remained in that position until his death in 1968. Thanks to a Save America's Treasures grant and the contributions of many individuals and corporations, the National Park Service has restored historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.
The National Park Service undertook a full-scale renovation of the property in 2001 after securing funds via a Save America's Treasures Grant and numerous contributions from both private individuals and corporations. The restoration project was divided into two phases. Phase I of the project was completed at a cost of $1, 885,000 and included the installation of basic systems such as electrical service, heating/air conditioning, and a fire suppression system. Moreover, repairs were made to the structure's roof, the outdoor sign was restored, and a chair lift was added to the building. The second phase of the renovation project has not begun to date, but will include a restoration of the fellowship hall and sanctuary to its appearance when MLK Jr. served in the church.