A home that Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King, Jr. once lived in has been able to avoid a terrible fate. The home, located at 753 Walnut Street in Camden New Jersey, was home to MLK when he and his friends were refused service at the Maple Shade Restaurant in 1950. On the police report, King listed the address as his residence. When one local historian, Patrick Duff, decided to dig deeper into the matter he discovered from the owner that King did indeed live there once upon a time.

Jeanette Hunt, the owner of the home, received a demolition notice in July 2016. According to Hunt, the home had been vacant for 20 years and was not deemed a historic preservation site. Once the NAACP and others were brought up to speed on the history they had in their backyard, the fight to preserve it commenced. The movement drew in the likes of Congressman John Lewis, who worked alongside MLK during the Civil Rights Movement.

“The work Dr. King started decades ago is still unfinished,” said Lewis, “The property, which stands now as as a simple row home, can serve as a touchstone for generations to come as they learn about Dr. King and his deeds to make our country stronger and more inclusive.”

Thanks to the hard work of the community and elected officials, the home is avoiding demolition. The Camden County Historical Society will list the property as historic during the next meeting. Hunt has also agreed to a deal with non-profit Cooper’s Ferry Partnership to repair and find an organization to maintain the property.

Now there will be an extra piece of our history open for generations to come.

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