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Welcome to Sweet Auburn, Atlanta.
This neighborhood east of Downtown is best known as the birthplace of civil-rights legend Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most prominent citizens in Sweet Auburn and America. People from all over the world come to visit the National Historic Site of the fallen hero's childhood home. Sweet Auburn is a designated historic district and has long been home to a large African-American population. The area is concentrated along a short strip of Auburn Avenue, and the neighborhood is a monument to Atlanta's African American history, heritage and achievements. Similar to other African-American communities in the country, the neighborhood thrived thanks to the residential patterns that were once forced upon the black community. Because of the strict segregation during the early 20th century, the community of Sweet Auburn became tight-knit and home to many successful businesses, congregations and social organizations. Plenty of old churches line the Auburn Avenue, including the Big Bethel and First Congregational, which once helped build the community of Sweet Auburn to what it is today. The Royal Peacock Club is another historic landmark, where the citizens of Sweet Auburn could perform African-American popular music in an elegant Atlanta venue. The club was opened in 1938, and once hosted legends like B.B. King, the Four Tops, the Tams and Atlanta's very own Gladys Knight. One of the most important testaments to the people's past is Atlanta Life Insurance Company, the second largest African-American insurance company in the country. The story behind it is quite remarkable, since a former slave, Alonzo Herndon, started the company in 1910. He grew the business so rapidly that in 1910, the insurance company had more than 42 branch offices.
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