CIVIL RIGHTS LANDMARK
Nearly 50 years ago, on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis during a visit to support sanitation workers on strike.
Today, the former motel is home to the National Civil Rights Museum. Much of the building has been renovated, but room 306—where King spent his last hours—remains as it was on the day he died, down to the unmade bed where he took an afternoon nap.
The museum covers 400 years of history, with 260 artifacts and more than 40 films. Visitors can view King’s preserved room and sit by a statue of Rosa Parks on a replica of the bus where she refused to give her seat to a white passenger.
The museum’s MLK50 commemoration will culminate in a day of remembrance on April 4, with a chorus of bells tolling nationwide at 6:01 p.m. CT, the exact time King was shot.
Museum president Terri Freeman hopes that visitors will carry on King’s work today: “People leave here understanding that they are ordinary people who can do extraordinary things.”