Historical Marker Dedication: Martin Luther King, Jr. in Decatur

Saturday, Apr 24, 2021

On April 24, 2021, the Georgia Historical Society will dedicate a new historical marker for The Rev.  Martin Luther King, Jr. in Decatur. The marker will be dedicated in a closed ceremony in consideration of COVID-19 protocols.

The new marker will be commemorated through a series of blog and social media posts published the week of April 19.

The historical marker reads:

The Rev.  Martin Luther King, Jr. in Decatur

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was sentenced here, at the site of the former DeKalb Building, on October 25, 1960, to four months of hard labor for protesting segregation with the Atlanta Student Movement at a Rich’s Department Store dining room. His arrest violated parole conditions set by Judge J. Oscar Mitchell, who had convicted King of driving without a Georgia license, even though he carried a valid Alabama license. Mitchell’s harsh sentencing of King’s parole violation energized Civil Rights activists and amplified demands to end racist laws and policies. King’s mistreatment focused national attention on the Civil Rights Movement when John and Robert Kennedy intervened to free King from prison. As a result, many Black voters switched parties to help elect John F. Kennedy president, setting the stage for major Civil Rights legislation.

Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, Students of Decatur High School, Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights, and the City of Decatur