Dr. King’s ties to Louisville

Recognizing Louisville’s connections to Martin Luther King Jr. — including the March on Frankfort and A.D. King.

A black and white photo of Jackie Robinson, Georgia Davis Powers, and Lawrence Montgomery standing outside, backdropped by a crowd of people.

Jackie Robinson, Georgia Davis Powers, and Lawrence Montgomery attended the March on Frankfort in 1964. | Photo via the Frazier History Museum Collection.

Louisville might not be the first place to come to mind when thinking about Martin Luther King Jr., but he has more connections to Derby City than you might think.

His brother, A. D. King was a pastor in Louisville at the Zion Baptist Church. He began serving as a pastor at the church in 1965, and led protests to seek open housing for African-Americans. A.D. King left the church in 1968 and returned to Atlanta after the assassination of his brother.

Dr. King visited River City at least three times to see his brother, but perhaps his most influential trip to Kentucky was in March of 1964 when he led the March on Frankfort. Alongside Georgia Davis Powers and Jackie Robinson, an estimated 10,000 Kentuckians marched on the state capitol. This led to the passage of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act in 1966 — and A.D. King was invited to its signing.

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