Harry Belafonte confers with Mrs. Coretta Scott King while seated next to Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. and Mrs. Alberta King. Dr. King's parents were affectionally [sic] known as "Mama King" and "Daddy King".
Beautiful music filled Ebenezer Baptish [sic] Church on this 15th day of January in 1969 as they celebrated the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Here we see the renowned Dr. J. DeKoven Killingsworth, chairman of the music department, conducting the Clark College Philharmonic Society.
Many adoring fans sought to get close enough to Harry Belfaonte to shake his hand, but because of this extraordinary event for which he was in Atlanta, they showed restraint and respect during his visit.
Notice the press covering the program as Mrs. King is surrounded by family members and friends. I have been told that there are very few recorded and published images from this first birthday celebration which make the photographs that you are seeing here extremely rare. I've seen no others.
The Rev. E. W. Lumpkin conducts the Iterdenominational [sic] Theological Center male chorus during one of the many musical presentations at this first ecumenical service for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You may be able to identify some of the I.T.C. students in the chorus if you look carefully.
"When an usher who saw me with my camera took my arm and led me down to the front of the church with the rest of the media, I was so nervous that I almost froze up. But after a few minutes of finding out that no one was paying any attention to me I loosened up, raised my camera and started shooting."
There was a lot of press coverage at this first memorial service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but most of the media represented was local. There was not a large number of representatives from the national media present.