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MLK House

Year Listed:



Camden, Camden County


753 Walnut Street, Camden, NJ, USA

MLK House

The MLK House Camden, located at 753 Walnut Street was built circa 1900. The site has juggled with issues such as neglect, flooding, vandalism, and fire. Dr. Martin Luther King resided at 753 Walnut Street on weekends and during the summers while he was attending Crozer Theological Seminary from 1948 - 1951. During Dr. King's time in Camden, he and his friends were refused service in a local bar, Mary’s Café, and physically threatened by the bartender. This event took place on June 11, 1950. Dr. King would later cite this event as setting him down the path of civil rights activism through passive resistance. Further research is being conducted to understand how Dr. King used the newly enacted New Jersey state anti-discrimination law which led to the arrest of the café owner, and about his life and community role in Camden. This site and Camden, NJ is considered the first combination of legal action and nonviolent civil disobedience that Dr. King would make that would later define his civil rights campaign. New Beginnings Behavioral Health, a not-for-profit organization, purchased the property two (2) years ago with the intent to convert the property into a museum and cultural hub for the Camden community. Since the purchase, the organization has worked tirelessly to secure funding to restore the site and conduct programs regarding Dr. King’s legacy in Camden. Lack of funding for the site is one of its many challenges. In facing several preservation issues, the organization remains optimistic and continues to make strides in advocating and fundraising for the site's needs. In PNJ’s review of the nomination, New Beginnings has marked a 'tremendous and a real community effort' that should also be recognized.  Preservation New Jersey supports this nomination and those advocating for the restoration of the site and its adaptive reuse into a cultural center for the Camden community. PNJ also recognizes the significance of this site, not only to African American history, but to telling an important chapter of New Jersey’s story and remembering the legacy of MLK and all those who influenced the Civil Rights Movement.

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