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    MLK Chapel: Facilities and Treasures

    Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel and Plaza


    Our facility honors the memory and celebrates the legacy of Dr. King, Morehouse College’s most well-known alumnus, and Dr. Howard Thurman, our best-known interfaith theologian. Built in 1978, the Chapel seats 2,501 and features the 6,000-pipe Wendell P. Whalum organ. The Hall of Honor includes more than 150 oil portraits of global leaders of the international civil and human rights movement. Our lobby is home to busts of Mahatma and Kasturbai Gandhi. The plaza is home to the only bronze statue of Dr. King in Georgia and the Howard Thurman obelisk and crypt. The dean’s office and library houses the more than 500-piece collection of King-related photos, artifacts, and memorabilia.

    The chapel building, a multi-purpose facility, hosts people of diverse backgrounds from around the globe. The chapel is used for Morehouse academic, cultural, community, and spiritual programs and events. We welcomed more than one million people from more than 100 countries and more than 150 global leaders spoke from the chapel pulpit.

    Wendell Phillips Whalum Sr. Memorial Pipe Organ


    Our organ exists due to the tireless effort of Dr. Wendell P. Whalum Sr. He insisted his alma mater acquire this instrument. Dr. Whalum’s “chief concern is to honor the college by making available an instrument that is capable of playing organ literature from all musical periods.” The resulting instrument is striking, both visually and aurally. The façade, which measures 38 feet in width, features an exposed 32-foot principal and copper 8-foot Trompette en Chamade, the lower notes of which are hooded. The organ’s tonal design can be described as “American Classic,” with French flavor and nomenclature. At the time of the instrument’s completion, it was one of the largest organs in the South and the second largest in Atlanta.

    Howard Washington Thurman Memorial

    2022NSO543-1024x683Like the Ben Ben Stone, Morehouse’s Howard Washington Thurman Memorial is constructed in the shape of an obelisk. The Howard Washington Thurman Memorial obelisk on the Morehouse College campus is a celebration of the process of enlightenment, achieved through the deliberate acquisition of knowledge, understanding, and the slow revelation of cosmic wisdom.

    The monument rises near the footprint of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel and marks the resting place of Thurman, a 1923 Morehouse graduate and nationally-respected theologian. Thurman was considered a forerunner in the religious movement which celebrates the unity of all people and embraces a religious spirituality that is intercultural, interracial, interdenominational, and international.

    Historically (1580-1200 B.C.), the obelisk was a sun and light symbol, embodying the transcendence immanent in God’s light. The soaring lines of the obelisk were meant to evoke this transcendence, and its capstone, often coated in gold-silver alloy, reflected light that could be seen 50 miles away. The ancient priests believed that light, consciousness, and understanding were synonymous.

    The obelisk remains a symbol of man’s creativity and wisdom. At Morehouse, the monument serves as a beacon for scholarly pursuits, visionary leadership, compassionate service, and a worldview that inspires positive change.

    2014MinistersLaity133-1024x683-1Other Treasures

    • Martin Luther King Jr. Statue, National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. gift
    • The Century and Millennium marker honoring MLK Jr., Prince Hall Masons gift
    • Martin Luther King Jr. cornerstone, Boston University gift
    • International Hall of Honor Oil Portrait Gallery
    • Morehouse College presidential chair and college mace
    • Tutahnk Ahmen Mace of the chapel dean
    • Silverbluff Springfield Baptist Church founding bell
    • President’s medallion, ceremonial robe, seal, and rules of order
    • John Hope memorial
    • Chapel for the Inward Journey in Sale Hall
    • 125th-anniversary marker
    • Oikoumene cornerstone
    • Cornell Everett Talley pulpit
    • Howard Thurman chest
    • Carey Wynn urn
    • Hugh M. Gloster Memorial
    • William Danforth chapel