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Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Park

MLK Park with sculpture

Experience one child’s rise to greatness at Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Park in Dublin GA.

Mural by Corey Barksdale

Located at the gateway to Downtown Dublin, Monument Park features a 54’ 7” wide by 10’ high mural by Georgia artist Corey Barksdale depicting a young girl wishing for a better tomorrow and highlighting the need for future generations to carry Dr. King’s message of peaceable change onward through the years. The vivid mural challenges viewer’s first reactions and stereotypes, using bold colors and a timeless call to action.

Audio Tour

Listen as the art of storytelling reveals four stories of the past, bringing the era of the Civil Rights Movement to life at the audio station installed at Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Park.

Stories include:

  • Button 1 : Young man reading Dr. King’s speech given in Dublin on April 17, 1944 entitled The Negro and the Constitution.
  • Button 2: Audio developed by GDEcD for the Civil Rights app
  • Button 3: Interview with local leader, Julie Driger, relating her experiences marching with Dr. King in St. Augustine, FL during the Civil Rights Movement. Mrs. Driger is a member of First African Baptist Church and part of the MLK Monument Committee in Dublin. These stories are engrossing, personal, and capture the personal experiences of one young women during an integral moment in Georgia and US history.
  • Button 4: Audio developed around Dr. King’s retelling of his experiences in Dublin and his return trip to Atlanta, when for the first time, he was asked to relinquish his seat to a white passenger and step to the back of the bus.
Freedom Ascension 

This 7′ foot high sculpture by a Atlanta artist, Corey Barksdale, captures the Park’s theme: “Sound waves that sent shock waves heard around the world” using African symbolism, vibrant colors, and outreached arms to inspire future generations to carry on Dr. King’s legacy of peace, love, & unity. Using Afrikan symbols for the sky, love, and peace, Barksdale incorporated a bench into the design, giving visitors a place to be introspective about their hopes and dreams. Barksdale carried the vision of dreams into his sculpture titling it, Freedom Ascension, explaining it captured, “Civil rights leaders ascending to a different realm and reality where their ideas, thoughts, and actions would be transformed into reality.”

First African Baptist Photo Church Mural

A vinyl mural capturing the interior of First African Baptist Church and the speech young King gave on that historic day in 1944 by Dublin photographer and graphic artist, Randall Gearhart graces the interior of the gateway wall. Read young King’s speech and see through King’s eyes the church as it was on April 17, 1944. Imagine sitting in one of the church’s original pews under the dappled colors of the stained glass windows as King delivered his first public speech.

Downtown Dublin Historic Walking Tour

Learn more about King’s experience in Dublin GA that day and during the Civil Rights Movement with the Downtown Dublin Walking Tour. Start your tour at the MLK Monument Park, then journey through downtown experiencing 71 different site, including the Dudley Motel where King and other prominent Civil Rights leaders would eat, stay, fuel up, and meet as they planned marches across the Southeast.

Live the Civil Rights Movement

Step into history with Dublin’s living play called One Day: Dublin’s Civil Rights Experience, where visitors to First African Baptist Church will step into the past and take on the role of Civil Rights leaders. This live action play captures the world of segregation through the life and world of Hub Dudley, a Dublin businessman who set the stage for Civil Rights activity in Dublin at Dudley Motel, where he welcomed leaders like Dr. King, Andrew Young, and Reverend Abernathy. Developed with the assistance of Carl Pearson, DuBose Porter, and Scott Thompson, this play catapults Dublin into the spotlight as the place where the Civil Rights Movement not only began, but was planned. To book your experience call 478-272-4002 or email

Footsteps of MLK Trail

Take a walk through the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia with Georgia Tourism’s Footsteps of MLK Trail. Announced April 9th, 2018, Georgia’s Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Trail,  was created in partnership with The King Center and was launched as part of the memorial service commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death. Dublin has two stops on the trail: First African Baptist Church and Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Park.

An Experience

On April 17, 1944, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his first public speech at historic First African Baptist Church in Dublin, GA. A desire to inspire positive social change was planted in young Martin Luther King, Jr. that day in Dublin, GA.

This monument commemorating his first public speech at 1st African Baptist Church honors and preserves not only the historic moment, but inspires other people, young and old, to consider how they can effect social change. This project bridges social and economic gaps, creating links to African American achievement through art and education, inspiring social action and unity.

The Catalyst

Capture a glimpse into the child that became a legend of the Civil Rights movement. On April 17, 1944, the Colored Elks Clubs of Georgia held their state convention at First African Baptist Church in Dublin and sponsored an essay contest. A 15 year old student at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta delivered a speech entitled “The Negro and the Constitution.” Little did the audience realize they were witnessing the first public speech by Martin L. King, Jr., and the start of the Civil Rights Movement.

The speech detailed the struggle for true equality, ending with the quote, “My heart throbs anew in the hope that inspired by the example of Lincoln, imbued with the spirit of Christ, they will cast down the last barrier to perfect freedom. And I, with my brother of blackest hue possessing at last my rightful heritage and holding my head erect, may stand beside the Saxon- a Negro-and yet a man!”  In his autobiography, King recalls that the reading of this essay was his first public political speech, and he spent the next twenty four years of his life fighting for the constitutional rights of the people of his race.

On the return trip to Atlanta from Dublin, young Martin Luther King, Jr. was asked, for the first time in his life, to relinquish his bus seat and stand in the rear of the bus with his teacher. Dr. King initially refused the demand, but was later convinced by his teacher to give up his seat.

Oratorical Speech Contest

Each year, Dublin celebrates the speech-making tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when First African Baptist Church hosts an annual Oratorical Speech Contest, inviting youth from around the globe to put pen to paper and words into action and deliver speeches of action, inspiration, and hope.

*Photo courtesy of Premier Properties