During our visit to Memphis, Tennessee, we stopped to visit the National Civil Rights Museum! The former Lorraine Motel was the place where Dr. King stayed in Memphis after delivering the now famous "I've been to the mountaintop" speech. He was shot by James Earl Ray from the building across the street.
The Lorraine Motel was one of the motels that would allow Dr. King and other African Americans to spend the night during segregation. In fact, there was a publication called the Green Book which highlighted these hotels and motels for African American travelers. As modern-day travelers, this trip makes us extremely grateful to be able to stay in great hotels.
The beginning of the museum experience focuses on Africa and the slave trade.
While these images aren't fun, they do give our daughter a sense of what her people have endured.
The next part of the museum dealt with segregation during the era of Jim Crow.
We have read to our daughter about Rosa Parks so she knew African Americans had to ride in the back of the bus and give up their seats to whites, but the bus and life size photos helped her better understand what people faced. On the bus, they play audio of a bus driver shouting at African Americans to give up their seats.
She also got a chance to see a recreation of a sit-in where African Americans endured abuse to sit at a lunch counter in a restaurant that didn't allow African Americans to eat there.
We also saw an interactive video screen with events around the United States where people fought against segregation. One of the events was in Dad's hometown of San Antonio, Texas, where people fought to sit anywhere in a movie theater.
There was another interactive board that displayed videos and facts about Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement. Since our daughter knows how to use tablets, she loved this exhibit!
The museum experience concludes with a recreation of the rooms as they were when Dr. King stayed at the Lorraine Motel. In this space, you hear a recording of Mahalia Jackson singing "Precious Lord." It's a very emotional experience.
The exhibit includes a replica of the car James Earl Ray drove.
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Have a great week and plan for the weekend!
The @WeekendsCount Family!
Authors - Jennifer and Tony Edwards
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