Historical marker unveiled at home with ties to MLK and his family
A local family with ties to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrating.
Their family home, inside the MLK historic park, now has a sign telling everyone about their legacy. The moment brought tears to the family’s eyes.
Gail Barnes-Goodwin and her family all gathered in front of the two-story home at 530 Auburn Avenue Thursday and reminisced about front porch sitting, and the supper cooking.
The home is humid with memories for Barnes-Goodwin.
“My grandmother bought this house in 1936,” she told Channel 2′s Bryan Mims.
The Nowell family put down deep roots on the street corner. They took in boarders -- or short-term renters -- for more than 70 years.
Back during segregation, houses like theirs were the only option for Black travelers.
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“My grandmother expanded this house with rooms upstairs and rooms downstairs for boarders. Some of the boarders stayed with us 15 or 20 years. And still, I don’t think anything about it, because they were family,” Barnes-Goodwin said.
The house was just a few doors down from the King family.
Annie Nowell-Johnson lived in the house until she died in 2008, at the age of 101. The house was then turned over to the National Park Service.
For 12 years, Barnes-Goodwin worked to have a historical marker placed in front of it.
“I could hear their voices saying, ‘Keep going, just keep going. You can do it,’” Barnes-Goodwin said.
Now, she’s done it. In front of the handsome two-story house, a crowd was there Thursday as they unveiled a Park Service marker. It’s a snapshot of a family’s history. Of our nation’s history.
“After today, you will see the significance of this and your ancestors. So, it’s very special, very special day,” Barnes-Goodwin said.
The sign has a quote from Barnes-Goodwin. She said her aunts often provided Dr. King with childcare and that her father played with King as a child.
“These stories had a profound influence on me,” Barnes-Goodwin said.
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