Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, United States, North and Central America
January 15, 1969; printed 2011
Mourners gathered at Southview Cemetery after the memorial service. Many people came to visit Dr. King's tomb. Southview Cemetery on Jonesboro Road was Dr. King's original burial site. His tomb was later relocated to Auburn Avenue, where both Dr. King and his wife Coretta are entombed today.
This black and white photograph was taken the day of the first commemorative event for Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday in 1969. The photograph shows a group of unidentified people visiting King's original burial site at South-View Cemetery. There are a few men at proper right, one of whom is facing the tomb. The other is turned toward another individual who is mostly obscured in the image. An unidentified man and woman are standing behind the grave.
The large white marble tomb reads [REV MARTIN LUTHER KING JR / 1929-1968 / "FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST, / THANK GOD ALMIGHTY I'M FREE AT LAST."] There is a space in front of the headstone that is filled with small pebbles and lined in stone. Sitting on the rocks is a small ceremonial flame.
There is a wreath on the tomb with a cursive signature [Alpha Phi Alpha / Eta Lambda Chapter]. The flowers are in the shape of the Alpha Phi Alpha greek letters. The back of the photograph has a manufacturer's mark, and handwritten and printer's inscriptions.