Birmingham home of A.D. King added to civil rights network

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. carries books as he heads toward the airplane that was to take him from Atlanta to Birmingham, Oct. 30, 1967, where he faced a five-day jail term for parading against court orders during 1963 civil rights demonstrations in Alabama. With King for the trip — and the jail term — were (from left) the Rev. A.D. King, Ralph Abernathy and Wyatt Tee Walker. AP Photo

Credit: Associated Press

Credit: Associated Press

For decades, Naomi Ruth Barber King has kept a shattered ornamental plate featuring a haloed depiction of Jesus.

The plate once rested on a breakfront cabinet in the Birmingham, Alabama, home that she shared with her husband, the Rev. Alfred Daniel Williams (A.D.) King, and their children.

That was until May 11, 1963, when the home, which is located in the Ensley community, was bombed during the turbulent civil rights movement. The family was able to escape through a back door.

King, the younger brother of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., was a civil rights leader and pastor of First Baptist Church in Ensley. His brother would sometimes stay in the parsonage.

His work made him a target of hate groups.

Recently, the home was designated part of the African American Civil Rights Network, which was formed to highlight people, places and events associated with the civil rights movement.

“The King family endured incredible hardships in the fight for equality. This home is an important chapter in the story that has shaped American history,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt, in a press release about the designation. “It is a chapter that will forever be told.”

During an event last week in Birmingham, Bernhardt was joined by Naomi King; her daughter, Alveda King; Omie R. Crockett Sr., who bought the red brick home in 2005; and his daughter Jacqueline Crockett Washington.

Alveda King led those gathered in a medley of songs, including “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

In this January 2014 photo, Naomi King talks about her husband, A.D. King, the brother of Martin Luther King Jr. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

“So much happened in that home,” said Naomi King, 88, who lives in Atlanta. “It’s so important where the family is concerned. My husband was an icon in his own right and a pastor.”

The family lived in the home from 1961 to 1965.

Jacqueline Crockett Washington said her father was not only a close friend of the Kings, but was also involved in the civil rights movement and was a deacon at the church.

“He just did not want to see the house end up destroyed or in the wrong hands," she said. “There’s lot of history in that home.”

She said the house at 721 12th St. is currently occupied, but the family has discussed turning it into a museum and education center.

Other designated sites under the African American Civil Rights Network Act of 2017 include the mural of Marian Anderson’s 1939 performance at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.; the Landmark for Peace Memorial in Indianapolis; and Medgar and Myrlie Evers' home in Jackson, Mississippi.

In Other News