Archives For Atlanta

auburn street

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Day 15 was our last day in Atlanta. After picking up Mtuseni from church, we headed to the birthplace and resting place of Martin Luther King, Jr. — the Sweet Auburn neighborhood.

Not far from the shiny towers of downtown, the tree-lined street has humble, well-kept wood frame houses with porches and picket fences. It seemed a little crazy to just park on the street like we were going to pop in to someone’s house for coffee and cobbler — when we were visiting the home of a renowned leader. But it’s the same at JFK’s birthplace in Brookline. Actually, the street reminds me of Brookline a little.  

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king plaque

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Martin Luther King Juniors birthplace house in Atlanta

MLK’s birthplace. Who could have imagined the life this sweet little house would produce.

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The house offered timed tours but neither of us was that interested; it’s basically an old house. But we did browse the gift shop on the first floor and picked up some souvenirs on the way back. 

Just about a block down the street is the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Sr. and his son had preached. I could imagine the family just walking from home to the church, waving and chatting with people sitting on their porches along the way. 

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Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta Georgia

Ebenezer Baptist, the original church where MLK — and his father before him — preached.

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Ebenezer Baptist Church neon sign in Atlanta Georgia

I love old neon signs. This one is pure and simple — don’t need more for a church!

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A block down from the church is the museum and the newer Ebenezer Baptist. The museum is well done with artifacts and timelines. It’s amazing how much impact MLK had at such a young age.

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Martin Luther King Junior National Historical Park sign

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Mtuseni was engrossed in the civil rights history exhibits. He has a unique perspective with South Africa’s experience of apartheid — there are similarities and differences in both situations. Yet there’s still so much work to be done in South Africa. I’ve come to realize through my years with Mtuseni how deep the scars of apartheid run. 

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timeline

bbMartin Luther King Jr speaking at the March on Washington in 1963

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Wagon that carried Martin Luther King Junior's coffin.

The wagon that carried MLK’s coffin during services.

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Tomb of Martin Luther King Junior and Coretta Scott King in Atlanta, Georgia

The tomb of Martin and Coretta is in a long reflecting pool painted bright blue. It’s garish and distracting; a quieter, neutral color would be more fitting and respectful.

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The contemporary Ebenezer Church was closed for services. Looking through the photos of this day recently, I saw that Mtuseni had taken photos inside the church. I asked how he was able to do that — and when. He said that he went inside after the service ended, and I was probably looking for a bathroom. Haha… that sounds about right!

After the museum we headed back to my friend’s house to just hang and eat takeout. It was nice to relax and avoid hotels (and those damn waffle machines!) We were recharged and ready for the next stage of our swing through the South…. music and history!

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stadium trio

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After two weeks on the road, we got a respite from hotels for a few days, staying with a friend in Atlanta. It was nice to have some home-cooked meals. Wait… did Annie cook? No. Hahaha. But it was nice to hang out with an old friend and “lil’ sis” again after many years. (Yet we forgot to get a photo of us — biggest regret of the trip!)

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Biltong Bar in Atlanta

Calling biltong “beef jerky” doesn’t do it justice. Biltong Bar is great!

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The first morning Mtuseni and I went into swanky Buckhead to pick up his new glasses — and stumbled on a biltong place! I’m not a huge meat fan, and American beef jerky is like old shoe leather. But biltong — South African beef jerky — is thick and meaty and succulent. I first tried it on my trip to SA in 2012 and have been craving it since.

We sat at the bar and got a biltong platter with chutneys. Mtuseni was in heaven — and raved about how biltong is so much better than jerky (though he always eats jerky when he’s in the US.) Cool vibe, great decor, enticing menu — we need a Biltong Bar in Boston! 

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biltong in

Another taste of South African home in America — biltong and chutney!

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Mtuseni found a kindred spirit in Atlanta in my friend’s son: another soccer fanatic! They figured out we could get tickets to an Atlanta United game — so suddenly we were on a MARTA train to the stadium.

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ballers

These guys are both pretty deft with handling a soccer ball. I’ve got video to prove it!

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The atmosphere outside was lively. Mtuseni and Nolan would have happily kicked a soccer ball around all night! The stadium was a sellout… and the facility is impressive with the retractable roof. 

Once the match started the guys were all in; I surfed my phone. I don’t get soccer. The ball bounces around the field like pinball — and everyone goes crazy if it even approaches the goal. But any pro sporting event is a pretty cool production, and Mtuseni was thrilled.

Oh, and Atlanta won. 

stadium pair