Celebrating Dr. King's Legacy at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee!

Since our daughter is very young and grows up in a world where she can eat in any restaurant, stay at any hotel, and attend any school, she has trouble understanding the challenges that people have faced and still face for being different. Each year we try to take her to places that help her understand how far we have come as a country so she can truly appreciate the opportunities available to her and the people who sacrificed so she could gain those opportunities.

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.

Keep your tickets and go across the street to experience "The Legacy." This building focuses on James Earl Ray and the events surrounding the assassination.

The exhibit includes a replica of the car James Earl Ray drove.

You can also see the Lorraine Motel from a similar perspective to what James Earl Ray saw.  The exhibit doesn't glorify James Earl Ray but better understand the investigation regarding the assassination.

How do you celebrate Dr. King's legacy?

Let us know in the comments.

This post contains affiliate links to help you build your shopping list and travel list for your family. We are passionate about the product and the experiences listed in this post, but we also wanted to provide easy links you can click to purchase products for your busy lifestyle.

This week,

Have a great week and plan for the weekend!


The @WeekendsCount Family!

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About Weekends Count - Weekends Count is a Millennial Family Travel, Fun, Food and Activities blog based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas. We review hotels, travel and household items, and millennial family experiences!

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