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Stockbridge celebrates native son “Daddy King” during Black History Month

Stockbridge Main Street Manager Kira Harris-Braggs oversees a display on the Henry city's native son Martin Luther King Sr.
Stockbridge Main Street Manager Kira Harris-Braggs oversees a display on the Henry city's native son Martin Luther King Sr.

Credit: Shana Thornton/City of Stockbridge

Credit: Shana Thornton/City of Stockbridge

The city of Stockbridge is celebrating one of its most famous citizens during Black History Month -- Martin Luther King Sr.

The Henry County town has set up a display on King, father of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., at the Cochran Public Library in Stockbridge. The exhibit, which looks at King Sr.'s life as a champion of civil rights, is a collaboration between Stockbridge Main Street Program and the Henry County Library System.

"It is our goal to ensure that Stockbridge residents, especially our youth, know about the great King legacy that exists here," said Stockbridge Main Street Manager Kira Harris-Braggs. "Many did not know that King Sr. was born and raised in Stockbridge or that he was ordained as a minister and preached his first sermon here at Floyd Chapel Baptist Church."

King Sr., later known as “Daddy King,” was born in the city in 1897 and attended Stockbridge Colored School, according to the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.

“We had no books, no materials to write with, and no blackboard, but I loved going,” the institute said King wrote of his early life. King died in 1984.

His civil rights work included leading the Atlanta Civic and Political League and NAACP, advocated for better pay for black teachers and pushed clergy to get behind voter registration drives.

"Daddy King was a civil and human rights activist long before his son, Martin Luther King Jr., was even born," Harris-Braggs said. "It was Daddy King who, through his early activism, influenced King Jr. to dedicate his life to the fight for social justice. Stockbridge is where the seeds for the great King legacy were sowed."