Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel
The Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel – the world’s most prominent religious memorial to Dr. King – is a unique, tangible metaphor of his World House concept.
The Chapel building and plaza honor the memory and celebrate the legacy of Dr. King, Morehouse College’s most well-known alumnus, and Dr. Howard Thurman, our best-known interfaith theologian.
Built in 1978 under President Hugh Morris Gloster, the Chapel seats 2501 (2,500 and always room for one more). The Chapel backdrop Features the 6,000-pipe Wendell P. Whalum organ. Hall of Honor includes 158 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 only bronze statue of Dr. King in Georgia and the Howard Thurman obelisk and crypt. The Dean’s Office and Library houses a 500+ collection of King related photos, artifacts and memorabilia.
The Chapel building, a multi-purpose campus facility, hosts people of diverse backgrounds from around the globe. Chapel is used for Morehouse academic, cultural, community and spiritual programs and events. 1 million people from 100 countries have visited the Chapel over the past 32 years and over 150 global leaders have spoken from the Chapel pulpit over the past 32 years.
The credit for the success of the organ at Morehouse College rests with Dr. Wendell P. Whalum Sr. It was through his insistence and tireless effort that Morehouse College, his alma mater, acquired this instrument.
Dr. Whalum described the organ he envisioned as follows “My chief concern is to honor the college with making available an instrument that is capable of playing organ literature from all musical periods.” It is also an effort to create an instrument that would attract the world’s greatest organists. In the chapel that seats 2,501 and with this organ, we are able to further enrich the music education of Morehouse students, community and move into first place with facility and equipment.”
To fulfill these varied requirements, Morehouse College called upon the Wicks Organ Company through Mr. Arthur Schlueter of Atlanta, to do the construction and installation. The Wicks Organ Company is located in Highland, Michigan. Charles Mosely of Houston, Texas, directed the tonal design and construction to ensure an instrument suited to its particular mission.
The resulting instrument is striking, both visually and aurally. The façade, which measures thirty-eight feet in width, features an exposed 32’ Principal and copper 8’ Trumpet en Chamade, the lower notes of which are hooded. The tonal design of the organ can be described as “American Classic,” with French flavor as well as nomenclature. At the time of the instrument’s completion, it was one of the largest organs in the South, and second largest in Atlanta. The Wicks Organ was featured at the 1992 National Convention of the American Guild of Organists during its Opening Convocation.
The College has a List of Treasures that are to be added.