Once a parking lot for an antique store and repair shop, this site is now a testament to young Martin Luther King, Jr.'s first speech given at First African Baptist Church in 1944. The Monument Park stands proudly as the gateway to Downtown Dublin and serves not only to honor that historic moment, but also to inspire people, young and old to consider the social impact of one man's struggle against injustice.
An audio station onsite recounts stories of locals' experiences during the Civil Rights Movement and a modern recounting of Dr. King's first speech. A painted mural by Georgia artist, Corey Barksdale, depicts a young girl wishing for the message of Dr. King to be carried across future generations. The interior mural, produced by Dublin artist Randall Gearhart, depicts the interior of First African Baptist Church where the dream first began. A sculpture crafted by Corey Barksdale represents the speech that subsequently sent shock waves of hope across racial boundaries and into our future.
Funded through grants by Georgia Tourism and Georgia Power, a complete renovation by Visit Dublin GA and Dublin Downtown Development Authority transformed the once dilapidated building located at 417 Telfair Street into the home of Betta Focus Photography. Owners Zack and Stephanie Whipple combine a vibrant couture styling with an intensive knack for capturing the essence of their subjects to craft photography and video projects that turn memories into art.
Established in 1867, First African Baptist Church is the oldest African American church in Dublin. The current building was built in 1914 after the original church was torn down. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his first speech, The Negro and the Constitution, as part of an essay competition at the age of 15 at First African Baptist Church on April 17, 1944.
First African Baptist Church has been listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Visit the church each Sunday during services at 8 AM and 10:45 AM. Each April, church leadership hosts an annual oratorical contest to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and continue his legacy of peaceable activism, humanitarianism, and leadership. A sculpture on the church grounds by Dublin artist, Juan Lleras, challenges future generations to continue King's dream.
Telfair Street/Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard at Lawrence Street
Watch the world roll by
Commemorating the major influence of railroads on the development of Dublin, this park sits on the site of former rail lines and railway warehouses and features a red caboose from the Norfolk and Southern Railway, a public service memorial with eternal flame, and benches for viewing Dublin’s active railway.