Before he was a major civil rights leader and then an international icon, Martin Luther King Jr. was but a lowly grad student at Boston University in the early 1950s.
While studying here, he did grad student things: played pick-up basketball games to unwind; dated his future spouse; and happily dined gratis at friends' homes.
King likely spent most of his time in the South End, including residing at three known addresses, as well as in and around the BU campus. He would leave in 1954, as he wound down his PhD, but returned to deliver a forceful speech at the Massachusetts State House months after he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
397 Massachusetts Avenue
King lived for a time in this three-story South End rowhouse with the bow front. It's the only address of his where there's an official plaque commemorating the tenancy.
170 Saint Botolph Street
King lived in this South End brownstone for a time as well.
396 Northampton Street, #5
King lists this South End apartment as his address in correspondence in 1954. This was likely the first home for King after his 1953 marriage to Coretta Scott.
William E. Carter Playground
King unwound from his graduate studies with basketball games in this South End park next to Northeastern University. The Carter Playground, interestingly enough, was the first public park in Boston named for an African-American, in this case a veteran of the Spanish-American War and World War I.
21 Holyoke Street
King was a dinner guest of the long-time owners of this South End townhouse, which traded for a whopping $3,823,803 in January 2013.
League of Women for Community ServiceCoretta Scott lived at the long-time headquarters of the League of Women for Community Service at 558 Massachusetts Avenue while she was dating King.
Massachusetts State House
On April 22, 1965, King spoke to a joint legislative session inside everyone's favorite Federal touchstone. He closed his remarks by quoting his "I Have a Dream" speech almost verbatim.
Myles Standish Hall
Where Martin met Coretta... And where King lived when he first got to BU. It's at 610 Beacon Street in the South End.
· Martin Luther King Dined Here: 21 Holyoke and Its Record [Curbed Boston]
· The Best Examples of Boston's Famed Federal Architecture [Curbed Boston]
· Our History Lessons archive [Curbed Boston]