The answer to today's special Martin Luther King Day Cornerspotter was discovered by elusive guest #1 and guest #3—who are either the same person, or two people who are very much in sync. Our historical photo was indeed of West Girard Avenue—the 1600 block in particular. The images, taken by the Historical Commission, were snapped about three years after Dr. King's controversial visit to Philadelphia in 1965.
King was a graduate of Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, where he studied from 1948 to 1951.He'd been to Philadelphia in recent years—he spoke at the groundbreaking of the Bright Hope Baptist Church (known for William Gray Sr., Jr. and so on) at 12th and Oxford in 1963.
But his visit to Philadelphia in 1965 was initially opposed by local NAACP leader Cecil Moore, who felt he was being manipulated by sponsoring organizations. He spoke with King directly and persuaded him to cancel. The next day, King had a change of heart. There were lengthy meetings with various factions to mediate. From PAHistory.com:
Despite Moore's outbursts, Samuel A Evans brokered a compromise, including Moore in King's schedule. Arriving on August 1, King stopped at Girard College, where Moore had been leading protests challenging its refusal to admit blacks. He also addressed a breakfast meeting at Fellowship House, the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and a number of large rallies. That breakfast meeting at Fellowship House was at 1521 Girard Avenue.
For more on Dr. King's visit to Philadelphia, and on the civil rights movement in Philadelphia in general, visit Temple University's superb digital archive "Civil Rights in a Northern City: Philadelphia."
· Cornerspotter Archives [CPHI]