National Park Service hits home with King-Carter exhibit

May 3,2016

An axis of peace. That’s probably the best way to define the relationship between two of Atlanta’s greatest leaders and their families – the late Martin Luther King Jr. and former President Jimmy Carter.

It is a special multi-layered relationship that keeps building upon a shared foundation of non-violence, human and civil rights. And both MLK Jr. and Carter were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts.

The National Park Service has recently opened an exhibit called the Georgia’s Global Peacemakers – tracing the relationship between the two leaders, who both have planted their legacies in Atlanta.

The Marin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is along Auburn Avenue and encompasses the MLK birth home as well as the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. The national site museum is directly across from the King Center and the crypts where MLK and his wife – Coretta Scott King – are buried.

The Carter Center and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library are located about one mile east of the King Center, and the connecting link is called the Freedom Park – physically linking the two centers and the two legacies of the Peacemakers.

“It is about time to bring those two legacies together,” said Judy Forté, superintendent of the MLK Jr. National Historic Site, as she went on to call King and Carter “two great leaders of change.”

Often times, Atlanta does not fully appreciate or capitalize on its unique history when it comes to human and civil rights.

“This is one of the only places in the world with two Nobel Peace prize winners,” Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall said at the opening of the King-Carter exhibit. “We want to see this place continue to be developed and built on.”

The National Park Service unveiled the exhibit as part of its own Centennial celebration – an event that brought Jonathan Jarvis, the director of NPS, to Atlanta on April 18. He had just been to Plains to name Carter as an honorary park ranger.