Cross Country Trip

Cross-Country Trip V, Day 4: Memphis ~ National Civil Rights Museum

Lorraine Motel / National Civil Rights MuseumNo trip to Memphis should be complete without at least stopping by the former Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed on April 4, 1968.

The motel is now the National Civil Rights Museum, which opened in 1991.

We walked there from our hotel first thing in the morning, and paused to reflect on the outside of the building. Then we went inside from the brutal heat and bought our museum tickets.

There’s a 30-minute film when you first enter, which we decided to skip. To the left of the movie theater is an exhibit room that primarily focuses on the history of the motel, and the history of the museum. If we had known how much else there was to see, we wouldn’t have spent so much time in this room.

We finally moseyed down to the right of the theater entrance, and we found that the National Civil Rights Museum’s exhibits span pretty much the history of America, and covers the history of African Americans’ struggle for civil rights in great detail. There’s a lot of great information, and very interesting displays. We found ourselves a bit rushed toward the end, which was very unfortunate.

MLK Memorial at the Lorraine MotelOne of the last exhibit rooms is a restoration of the actual room in which MLK was staying when he was shot. It is a worthwhile experience.

There are additional exhibit spaces across the street. It’s too bad that we missed out on seeing those, because it seems they focus on the assassination itself, James Earl Ray, the investigation, etc.

It would be worth planning to spend about three hours here, but unfortunately we only had an hour and a half.

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