Five Boston Destinations that Helped Shape MLK’s Life

Most people might not realize that Boston has a strong connection to MLK Day. Boston is known for many great things, from their famed marathon to excellent cuisine to Harvard University. Boston is also a notable location in the history of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. MLK spent quite some time in the city and considered Boston to be his second home. It was the city where he earned his Ph.D. in Theology and the city where he met his wife, Coretta Scott King.

On this MLK Day, consider a visit to his ‘second home,’ Boston

There are actually a handful of places that people can visit to experience just a little bit of how Boston helped shape Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, let’s look at Boston destinations that helped shape one of the most influential men in U.S. history.

Boston University School of Theology

King previously studied theology in Pennsylvania before arriving in Boston in 1951 to study the subject at Boston University’s School of Theology.

He had a particular interest in ethics as well as philosophy, but he ultimately earned a Ph.D in systematic theology. This degree earned him his title of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

William E. Carter Playground

Between studying at Boston University and spend time at his home on Massachusetts Avenue, King also spent some time at the humble William E. Carter Playground, located in the South End, to unwind with a game of pickup basketball.

One can imagine that King had many introspective thoughts during his time at the historic playground, which was remodeled in 2018 and is open to the public.

397 Massachusetts Avenue

This location was the home of King from 1952 to 1953. The multi-story brownstone flat in the South End now boards a plaque outside to commemorate King’s time there.

396 Northampton Street

King did not exclusively like at 397 Massachusetts Avenue during his three-year stay in Boston. He also listed 396 Northampton Street as an address in a litter in 1954.

It is assumed that the apartment was the first home he lived in with Coretta Scott king after they were married in 1953.

Ford Hall

After his departure from Boston, King returned to the city several times during the 1960s. In particular, King spoke at Ford Hall in March of 1963 to deliver a speech mere weeks before he was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama.

One quote from his speech notes, “The estrangement of the races in the North can be as devastating as the segregation of the races in the South.”

The Ford Hall Forum is one of the oldest free public lecture series in the country and has hosted numerous famous speakers, including King, Maya Angelou, and Malcolm X.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or any other day, we suggest adding these locations to your list of Boston destinations, to honor and remember the civil rights leader.


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