By Maria Saporta
The King Center has agreed to postpone its planned demolition of the building at 220 Sunset Ave. – the building that was once the home of former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson Jr.
Bernice King, CEO of the King Center, met with Bishop John H. Lewis II, the chairman of the Vine City Civic Association and other concerned members of the community, met on Saturday afternoon to discuss the possibility of saving the red-brick building adjacent to the home where Martin Luther King Jr. and his family lived.
“Vine City is my home,” Bernice King said in a statement. “My family moved to 234 Sunset Avenue in 1965, several years after the Jackson family moved out of the apartment building next door. Last week I was surprised to learn that the late Mayor Maynard Jackson, Jr. and family lived at 220 Sunset Avenue during a period of his youth. In the spirit of nonviolence, it was personally important to learn of its history, meet with the community, and provide an opportunity for the property to be preserved,”
The statement said “there will be a brief stay on the planned demolition” so that the King Center can work with the community and “enable Vine City community stakeholders time to acquire and preserve the property, if possible.”
The permanent solution also will impact the plans of the U.S. National Park Service, which has recently acquired the King residence at 234 Sunset Ave.
“Ultimately, the outcome is not in The King Center’s hands alone,” Bernice King said in a statement. ‘But we temporarily postponed the demolition and asked the U.S. National Park Service and its charitable partner National Park Foundation to work with us in supporting the community’s effort to perform due diligence and explore the acquisition and preservation of 220 Sunset. This is teachable moment for all of us as we continue to discover and attempt to preserve missing and overlooked history.”