June 5, 2011

MEMPHIS, TN –We’re here to tour the Lorrain Motel, the spot where MLK was assassinated April 4, 1968. The motel has been transformed into the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel.

King was staying here and on the day he was shot, and he had just received news that the court injunction preventing him from marching in Memphis in support of the sanitation workers – the beginning of his Poor People’s Campaign, had been lifted.

We were not allowed to take pictures in the museum. It’s too bad because there are many well-done displays and replicas that successfully recreate the march in Memphis. The museum is the Lorraine Motel. It gives a time line of the civil rights struggle in general and the days leading up to the sanitation workers strike on March 28th 1968, King’s assassination on April 4th, and much of the FBI evidence against James Earl Ray. Visitors can walk into the hotel room where King was staying and also to walk into the room where James Earl Ray stood at the bathroom window and fired the shots that killed King. I actually got goose bumps when I realized I was standing in the actual room. It was the one museum we had three hours to tour and it still wasn’t enough time. Sadly, I think this museum, tucked away in Memphis, is far better than the Atlanta MLK Center run by the National Park Service, surrounded by rose gardens, manicured lawns and crepe myrtle trees and MLK and Coretta Scott King tombs are surrounded by a long blue reflecting pool. More on that later.