First heritage plaque for Martin Luther King in London

By Desmond Davies

London, Jan. 26, GNA – Dr Martin Luther King has been honoured by the Camden Council in London through the United Kingdom’s first heritage plaque recognising the work of the legendary American civil rights leader.

The blue plaque was unveiled at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, where Dr King preached a sermon for the first time in London on October 29, 1961, during a visit to the UK.

It is mentioned in the church’s history, and six decades later is still remembered by people who were there at the time.

Dr King, born on January 15, 1929, was a Baptist minister and one of the most prominent leaders of the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.

London’s blue plaques scheme, founded in 1866, and run by English Heritage, celebrates the links between notable figures of the past and the buildings, grand and humble, in which they lived and worked.

There are 1,000 such plaques in London.

Camden Council, alongside the Nubian Jak Community Trust (NJCT) and Bloomsbury Baptist Church, organised the unveiling of the plaque on Wednesday.

They said that not only was this the first plaque honouring Dr King in the UK, but was also the first commemorative plaque to be unveiled in 2024 and the first to be installed on a place of worship.

“As a borough we want to do more to shine a light on those who have made a real, lasting difference in this world,” said Camden Councillor Sabrina Francis, Cabinet Member for Young People and Culture.

“It was an honour to unveil a plaque for Martin Luther King with local communities to celebrate his life and work, with the hope more people can learn about his crucial campaigning for equality and peace.

Councillor Nadia Shah, Cabinet Member for Voluntary Sector, Equalities and Cohesion, said: “What a fantastic day honouring Martin Luther King with a commemorative plaque at Bloomsbury Baptist Church – a place visited by Dr King over 60 years ago.

“Ensuring our public spaces celebrate and reflect the diversity of our communities is a priority for us and why we are committed to honouring individuals from communities that have been historically underrepresented.”

Dr Jak Beula, CEO of NJCT, said: “Although Martin Luther King is a name that has transcended generations, I’m pleased that we have identified a space where he had a presence in the UK, and where future generations can go to feel connected with him.

The NJCT says it is dedicated to installing blue plaques commemorating significant individuals from underrepresented communities.

Since 2006, it has installed over 90 commemorative blue and black plaques around the UK.