This year marks the 50th Anniversary commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death. If you are looking to fully memorialize this event, then you should visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. This museum happens to be the former Lorraine Motel—the very site of the assassination. The entire museum is dedicated to the fight for civil rights in America, starting with the shipping of slaves right up to the present day Black Lives Matter Movement.
The building is completely gutted of its motel accommodations, all except the very room 306 which Dr. King resided in before his death along with the neighboring room of other civil rights leaders. Just across the street, the National Civil Rights Museum extends to the building and room in which the assassin stayed. As with Dr. King’s room, this room is kept in fashion with the timing of the shooting and includes an exhibit of documented pieces of evidence including the gunman’s binoculars and rifle.
Floor after floor of the museum houses interactive exhibits, some even life-size replicas of buses and trash trucks used in during the civil and labor strikes of the 50’s. One ticket buys you a literal walk into history via replica court rooms and audio/visual play-back of key trials like Brown v. Board of Education, and jail cells with pictures and stories of freedom-riders told from their very own mouths detailing jail stays and other incidents, and meeting rooms of the black coalitions crusading to enlist black voters or the meeting rooms of the Black Panther Party showing their plans when readying the execution of neighborhood programs.
The comprehensive reach of the museum in its thoroughness is breathtaking and a bit overwhelming to say the least. This national treasure is the perfect place to gain a deeper understanding of the history and imprint African Americans continue to have on this country.