ATLANTA (April 11, 2011) -- Road Scholar/Elderhostel, the global leader in lifelong learning, has added a new adventure to its more than 8,000 programs that takes participants through the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his native Atlanta.
A group of travelers from across the United States had the opportunity to journey through this unique program and study the life and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Participants began this adventure with a visit to Morehouse College, one of the historically black colleges in America -- and King's alma mater -- which continues to serve as a bastion of education for Black men, producing some of the country's most prominent African American leaders. An expert-led exploration of the campus included a visit to the MLK International Chapel and the Hall of Honor portraits where Dean Lawrence Carter spoke to the group. Dr. Bob Holmes, a former Georgia State Representative (GA House of Representative) presented a lecture on King's contributions to Atlanta. The Morehouse visit concluded with a rare opportunity for participants to view the King papers at the Woodruff Library and to take part in an enlightening lecture by Dr. Vicki Crawford, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Collection.
Another highlight included a visit to the Sweet Auburn Historic District, once a boomtown of nightlife and entertainment for Blacks during segregation. Program participants toured the home where King was born, Freedom Hall, and historic Ebenezer Church where King served as pastor; and participated in an interactive exhibition offered at the Visitor's Center by the National Parks Service. Lastly, a visit to the burial sight of Dr. King and Mrs. Coretta Scott King completed the Auburn Avenue excursion.
A special highlight included a Sunday morning worship service at the new Ebenezer Baptist Church and a fried chicken dinner at the still-popular Paschal's restaurant where King and other Black ministers and activists frequently met for discussions during the movement.
"Dr. King's influence more than 40 years after his death is unquestionable," says Kathy Taylor, associate vice president of community development at Road Scholar. "This learning adventure
takes an up-close and personal look at both Dr. King's life and the place he called home. It was an exceptional opportunity to learn more about this pivotal figure in history and we at Road Scholar are excited to offer this new program."
There was a "Taste of Road Scholar" reception on the evening of Saturday, April 9th at the Carter Center to welcome participating Road Scholars to Atlanta and to invite Atlantans to discover Road Scholar. The Honorary Chairs of the Atlanta host committee for the reception included Dr. Robert Franklin, president of Morehouse College; Reverend Dr. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist
Church; The Honorable Patsy Jo Hilliard, former Mayor of the City of East Point; Mrs. Carolyn Young (Mrs. Andrew Young); and Martin Luther King III, president and CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. Dr .King's nephew, Isaac N. Farris, vice president of the King Center, participated on the program; and Elder Bernice King, a minister at New Birth Missionary Church, Dr. King's daughter, delivered a moving message about her father and mother and the significance role they played on America's stage. Elder King commented that among the great things that her father did was "he married the right woman." Elder King added that her mother was able to carry on in the movement because she realized that she "married the mission" when she married Martin. Jet Magazine's Clarence Waldron, also on the program, came from Chicago to MC the event that attracted more than 200 people. The highlight of the program was remarks from Tony Clark, the public affairs director for the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, and Reverend Willie M. Bolden, a civil rights activist who has the distinction of serving as one of Dr. King's grass-roots leaders.
Bunnie Jackson-Ransom , the local coordinator of the M. L. King Jr. program, was hired by Road Scholar three years ago to participate in an aggressive initiative to reach more African Americans and develop opportunities that speak directly to the Black experience. What she discovered while putting together this one-of-a-kind experience for the worldly participants of the Road Scholar program is that even native Atlantans, transplants, and citizens across Georgia more often than not have not visited some of the places that are part of the program and take these history-laden landmarks for granted.
is my home and has been since the wake of the Civil Rights movement," says
Jackson-Ransom. "I was delighted to put the program together because, as an
Atlantan, we tend to take for granted that the amazing trail Dr. King blazed
for our community -- and the world at large -- is right here in our backyard. I
am proud of the legacy Dr. King left all of us. His was a global message and I
am humbled to be able to help share it with the world.