In the Spring of 2018, I had the pleasure of photographing one of the International World Peace Rose Gardens located in Atlanta as it prepared to receive international school children as part of the 26th anniversary celebration of the rose garden.
The International World Peace Rose Garden organization was established in 1988 by TJ David and Sylvia Villalobos in Sacramento, California. Their purpose for creating these gardens was to create beautiful, freely accessible spaces for the public to enjoy.
There are currently 6 themed gardens worldwide including the rose garden at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site.
The other gardens are located at other cultural, historical and sacred centers of the world and focus on different aspects of peace.
Those gardens include: The Lake Shrine-Gandhi World Peace Rose Garden, Pacific Palisades, California, USA; Peace and Harmony between Cultures & Religions. The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Rose Garden, Mexico City, Mexico; Friendship between Mexico and the United States. National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sacramento, California, USA; Sister Garden to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Rose Garden. The Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Assisi, Italy, Europe; Universal Peace with all Creation.
The International World Peace Rose Garden Youth Program is a worldwide effort to help youth recognize the importance and value of peace.
Each year a writing contest is held for elementary to middle school students from local and international schools to submit poems of peace. Winning poems are installed in the “I Have a Dream” rose garden, where they remain for a year.
In 1992, the Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream” World Peace Rose Garden was installed at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. The theme for this installation is “Peace through non-violence.” This spectacular rose garden receives approximately 750,000 to 1 million visitors annually.
The garden is located directly south of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site Visitor Center just southeast of the Ebenezer Baptist Church sanctuary. It has approximately 185 rose varieties in a rainbow of colors and fragrances. The tomb of Dr. and Mrs. King can be seen directly across the street from the garden.