Young Martin Luther King. Jr.'s, childhood here was entirely normal. He did his chores and received his allowance. Neighbors often saw him bouncing a ball off the side of the house or riding his bike along the street. He fought with his brother (he once hit his brother, A. D., over the head with a phone). Though physically small, he was intensely competitive; neighborhood kids risked getting hurt when playing against him in football or basketball.
King's boyhood home dates to 1895. Its 14 rooms were enough to house an extended family, which it did throughout "M.L.'s" youth. At the time of King's birth, the home belonged to his maternal grandparents—they lived downstairs, he, his siblings, and his parents upstairs. The arrangement was typical of families along Auburn Avenue. and the effect reverberated throughout King's life. He would continue to work and pray with his parents until his death in 1968.