The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Decatur

Year Erected: 2021

Marker Text: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was sentenced here, at the site of the former DeKalb Building, on October 25, 1960, to four months of hard labor for protesting segregation with the Atlanta Student Movement at a Rich’s Department Store dining room. His arrest violated parole conditions set by Judge J. Oscar Mitchell, who had convicted King of driving without a Georgia license, even though he carried a valid Alabama license. Mitchell’s harsh sentencing of King’s parole violation energized Civil Rights activists and amplified demands to end racist laws and policies. King’s mistreatment focused national attention on the Civil Rights Movement when John and Robert Kennedy intervened to free King from prison. As a result, many Black voters switched parties to help elect John F. Kennedy president, setting the stage for major Civil Rights legislation.

Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, Students of Decatur High School, Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights, and the City of Decatur

Tips for Finding this Marker: On the corner of N. McDonough Street and W. Trinity Place in Decatur.