In Memphis there is a Civil Rights Museum that was once a motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King was shot. The Lorraine Motel was a place blacks were accepted back when segregation was a big issue. I went in thinking it would be great cultural information, history and nice place to explore. All of those things were true, however; I didn't realize how emotional it would make me. I found myself wiping tears away as I walked through exhibits that showed how slaves were brought over and sold. Explore the Civil Rights Museum and learn more about history, society and what the world once was.
One of the exhibits details slavery from 1619-1861. The travel, trade and sale of people brought over from Africa. The images are so vivid and make you feel like things are happening around you. How people were treated and what kept people going makes you wonder about the life.
Standing up by sitting down is an exhibit that details and shows the young black teenagers sat at a lunch counter while others threw food, spit and taunted them to leave. The facial expressions and voices playing over the sound monitors could only be a small reality to what these youngsters went through just to be able to sit at a bar in a restaurant.
Is this America is a short documentary-style exhibit that explains how the Mississippi Summer Project, including voter registration, volunteers from white colleges, and so much more. Learn what it took just to become a person who could make a difference.
The "I Am A Man" movement exhibit shows men on strike starting February 12th, 1968 when two black sanitation workers died. This brought on more than 1300 angered black men who had no safety or sick days from work. They were fighting for wages, overtime, safety and things we take for granted today. While this was happening, Dr. King made one of his famous speeches, Mountaintop.
One of my favorite exhibits is the Rosa Parks bus exhibit. Here you will see Mrs. Rosa Parks sitting in a seat on the bus facing forward with a bus driver turned facing her as a loud, powerful voice keeps telling her to move to the back or get off. I sat on a seat in front of her listing to the man, thinking it took courage to resist saying anything. My emotions flared as I wiped a tear from my eye being grateful that people like her sacrificed so much to make our lives today possible.
The civil rights museum had different races and backgrounds of people exploring and learning history. One thing I wasn't aware of were the list of white people that were pro non-segregation and died along with many blacks to bring America together. The history of this place brings fear, sadness, hope, love, and growth.
When you get to the end of the museum, just before you exit, you will see two rooms. One is room 306, Dr. King's room and the other 307 was left as a memory for the motel owners wife Loree, as she died just hours after MLK from a stroke.
Explore the Civil Rights Museum and find yourself taking a walk into history. Learn what the past has done for our future and the evolutionary changes it created. Even now as a museum instead of a hotel this establishment welcomes travelers from all over the world. If you've been here share your thoughts on it. Stay safe, stay focused and stay traveling. Happy Travels.
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