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National Civil Rights Museum Honors MLK Jr.

National Civil Rights Museum
(Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to Memphis in early April of 1968 in support of the city’s striking garbage collectors. He checked into the Lorraine Motel as he always did when visiting Memphis.

On April 4, he stepped out onto the balcony outside his room and was shot dead by James Earl Ray. The assassination of King struck a horrible blow to the American civil rights movement and incited riots in cities across the country.

However, despite the murder of the movement’s most important leader, African Americans continued to struggle for the equal rights that were guaranteed to them under the U.S. Constitution.

Saved from demolition, the Lorraine Motel was remodeled and today serves as the nation’s memorial to the civil rights movement. In evocative displays, the museum chronicles the struggle of African Americans from the time of slavery to the present.

Multimedia presentations and life-size, walk-through tableaux include historic exhibits: a Montgomery, Alabama, public bus like the one on which Rosa Parks was riding when she refused to move to the back of the bus; a Greensboro, North Carolina, lunch counter; and the burned shell of a freedom-ride Greyhound bus. Allow 2 to 3 hours.
Location:  450 Mulberry St, Memphis, TN                                                            

Phone:  901/521-9699                                                                                                  

Hours:  Wed-Mon 9am-5pm                                                                                          


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