Ebenezer Baptist Church

This past weekend I went to Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. was baptized and where his father served as a pastor. From a religious view, the space does not welcome me because I identify with Judaism. However, it does not exclude me because I am not Christian. The church’s mission is to allow anyone interested in Martin Luther King Jr.’s life the opportunity to learn more about his childhood. As I approached, I saw a family with a child in a wheelchair could not get into the church because of a two-stair stoop guarding the front door. Even if they had been able to get inside, they would have been challenged with more stairs in order to see either the chapel or the basement where Dr. King was baptized. The whole space captures a past time and thus allows visitors to experience some fraction of the actual experience it once provided for its congregation. This effect moved me because it demonstrated how much suffering a group of righteous and incredibly intelligent individuals faced for attempting to preach peace because of their race. The sociality in the space reflects those who visit. When I went, I felt everyone there wanted to learn about this history of Martin Luther King Jr. I did not feel any segregation, which I was somewhat expecting. On the other hand, not many people talked to me because I do not have extensive knowledge of the subject about which they were seeking information.

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