Imagine standing where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did, right here in Charleston! Did you know that during the Civil Rights Movement he made two trips to the Lowcountry? Both of the places where he gave addresses are still standing even though the intended use of one has changed greatly throughout the years.
Mother Emanuel AME Church
First, in 1962, Dr. King attended the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at the Mother Emanuel AME Church. Founded in 1818, it is the oldest AME church in the southern United States. According to the church’s records, he came to urge members of the congregation to register to vote.
To learn more about the church’s history, visit their website: https://www.emanuelamechurch.org
Charleston County Hall
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s second visit was on July 30, 1967. There was a lot of buzz preceding his arrival on this particular visit. Over 3,000 people gathered in the former Charleston County Hall to hear him speak. According to one report, he spoke for an hour without once referring to notes.
The above building, located at 1000 King St. has had many lives. Originally built in 1902 for a manufacturing company, it later became an auditorium for the community and a county facility. It’s hosted many big names from the entertainment world as well as prominent American figures. Long time Charleston residents may recall it’s legacy in the wrestling world. Friday night matches brought in big names like Gorgeous George and Ric Flair.