Ensley church, parsonage get history markers
The Birmingham News
Monday, August 20, 2007
News staff writer
A historical marker was unveiled Sunday at the First Baptist Church of
During the civil rights movement, the church was the site of mass meetings
while the Rev. A.D. King, the brother of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., was
A marker was also unveiled at the church's parsonage, which was bombed in
1963 while King and his family lived there. The parsonage is nine blocks from
King died in 1969 at the age of 38.
Some of his family members attended the unveiling ceremonies, including his
wife, Naomi, and daughter Alveda, as well as his grandchildren.
Local dignitaries and participants in the civil rights movement in Birmingham
were also on hand.
Naomi King said Sunday was another opportunity for people to learn about the
contributions of her husband, the younger brother of the Rev. Martin Luther King
"In many cases, the Rev. A.D. Williams King was not given the honors and
tributes he so richly deserves," said Naomi King, who now lives in Atlanta.
King was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Ensley on 19th Street from
1961 until 1965. His home at 721 12th St. in Ensley was bombed May 11, 1963.
The Village Creek Society, through its historical committee, led efforts to
get historical markers placed on both sites.
Efforts are also under way to get the church and parsonage designated
national historical landmarks, said Marjorie White, executive director of
Birmingham Historical Society.
First Baptist Church of Ensley was a frequent spot for mass meetings in the
spring of 1963 as civil rights leaders were making preparations to challenge the
status quo, White said.
On Sunday, area elected officials, including Birmingham Mayor Bernard Kincaid
and Jefferson County Commissioner Larry Langford, spoke of how the contributions
of those in the past had made it possible for them to be where they are today.
Officeholders, as well as others, also talked about ongoing efforts to
Kincaid said there's a lot of things happening in Ensley, but it's also vital
to remember the past.
"It's very important that those who are survivors realize we haven't
forgotten the sacrifices that were made to allow an African-American to stand
before you as mayor of Birmingham," Kincaid said.
Despite the sacrifices of the past, Langford said the black community has
become its "biggest enemy" and it's time for a change. "As we celebrate, we need
to remember the sacrifices that were made and vow to never do these things again
that we've done to each other," he said.
the Priests for Life Press Release
Read the speech
given by the Historical Society at the historical marker ceremony