ATLANTA — Our last stop before returning home is the The King Center in Atlanta, GA.

The grounds are beautiful. But, I think the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis is better.

This is a fitting place to end the trip. It is doubtful that without MLK, the Civil Rights Act of 1964  and the Voting Rights Act (1965) would have been passed.  President Johnson, a Texan, realized that by signing the Civil Rights Act, it probably cost him, and all southern Democrats in the foreseeable future many elections because conservative southern whites opposed these laws. He was right.

As a girl growing up during this time, I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without the Civil Rights Act.  The act made it illegal to discriminate against blacks in public accommodations. But it also protected women from discrimination. If you are wondering what women had to fear, I can remember when my mother had a hard time getting a credit card in her own name – even though she was the sole support for our family. Martin Luther King, Jr. was there when Johnson signed the bill. The Voter Rights Act was passed the following year. Securing these two Acts was the heart of the Civil Rights Movement.

This is MLK jr. and MLK sr.'s church. It is right across the street from the King Center.

The MLK Center is devoted to King’s whole life. The National Civil Rights Museum is largely about King’s assassination, which is understandable since it happened in Memphis, TN.  Ironically, however, this museum, which is run by the National Parks Service, lacks the reverence that all the other sites we visited inspired. Children were running around, many people looked as if they were just hanging around. I didn’t see any museum or park service employees. They may have been there, but they were not an overwhelming presence. I thought it was sad. Some of the students in our group didn’t even want to look around the museum. I felt a little guilty taking pictures of displays because at all the other museums photography was not

In 1977, a memorial tomb was dedicated and King's remains were moved here from South View Cemetery.

allowed.  But, I did not see any signs that said I could not take pictures. The state of the museum is probably due to the fact that in 2006 the site became privately owned within the National Park Service. There is controversy within the King family about whether or not to sell it to the National Park Service. (according to Wikipedia, that is.)

The grounds, however, were really beautiful.  The rose garden was trimmed, the reflecting pool was clean, and the grass was mowed.

This museum has the actual simple wood horse-drawn cart that was used in King’s funeral procession. I appreciated the King lifeline. He truly did seem to be spiritually called to service from boyhood and he became a martyr for the cause (as did many others).

I have a renewed appreciation for what Martin Luther King, Jr. did and I believe having a day in honor of his life and what he gave for Americans to grow toward better race relations, is completely appropriate. He really is an American hero.

Upon leaving here, I went to Americus, GA to spend the night at a B&B. Dave and I had to stop in Tallahassee to do a walk through of a townhouse our daughter was buying.

Americus and Albany, GA. are also sites of raging Civil Rights battles.

And the battle continues:

And Dixie shall rise again! What do they think will be gained?