Tag: Lorraine Motel

March in Memphis to Honor Martin Luther King Jr. on 50th Anniversary of his Death

People hold signs resembling the signs carried by striking sanitation workers in 1968 as they join in events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (photo via eurweb.com)

by Errin Haines Whack, Adrian Sainz & Kate Brumback, Associated Press via blackamericaweb.com

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. remembered him as “the apostle of nonviolence” as admirers marked the 50th anniversary of his assassination Wednesday with marches, speeches and quiet reflection.

The Rev. Bernice A. King recalled her father as a civil rights leader and great orator whose message of peaceful protest was still vital decades later. “We decided to start this day remembering the apostle of nonviolence,” she said during a ceremony to award the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize held at the King Center in Atlanta.

In Memphis, where King died, hundreds of people bundled in hats and coats gathered early in for a march led by the same sanitation workers union whose low pay King had come to protest when he was shot.

Dixie Spencer, president of the Bolivar Hardeman County, Tennessee, branch of the NAACP, said remembrances of King’s death should be a call to action. “We know what he worked hard for, we know what he died for, so we just want to keep the dream going,” Spencer said. “We just want to make sure that we don’t lose the gains that we have made.”

The Memphis events were scheduled to feature King’s contemporaries, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, along with celebrities such as the rapper Common. In the evening, the Atlanta events culminate with a bell-ringing and wreath-laying at his crypt to mark the moment when he was gunned down on the balcony of the old Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968. He was 39.

Wednesday’s events followed a rousing celebration the night before of King’s “I’ve Been To the Mountaintop” speech at Memphis’ Mason Temple Church of God in Christ. He delivered this speech the night before he was assassinated.

Inside the church, Bernice King called her older brother, Martin Luther King III, to join her in the pulpit, and she discussed the difficulty of publicly mourning their father — a man hated during his lifetime, now beloved around the world.

“It’s important to see two of the children who lost their daddy 50 years ago to an assassin’s bullet,” said Bernice King, now 55. “But we kept going. Keep all of us in prayer as we continue the grieving process for a parent that we’ve had yet to bury.”

A gospel singer led a rousing rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and the gathering took on the air of a mass meeting.

Lee Saunders, a national labor leader, recounted how on that night in 1968, King made an unplanned appearance to deliver the famous speech without notes after his aides saw how passionate the crowd was: “There was one man they wanted to hear from.”

But Saunders stressed that the purpose of the week’s commemorations was not just to look to the past.

“Dr. King’s work — our work — isn’t done. We must still struggle; we must still sacrifice. We must still educate and organize and mobilize. That’s why we’re here in Memphis. Not just to honor our history, but to seize our future,” he said.

Some of the sanitation workers who participated with King in a 1968 strike sat in the front row and were treated like celebrities, with audience members stopping to take photos with them before the event started.

To read more: https://blackamericaweb.com/2018/04/04/many-march-in-honor-of-martin-luther-king-jr-s-death/

National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis Completes $27.5 Million Renovation, Reopens Today

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Lorraine Motel in Memphis holds a historic place in world history.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated there on the hotel balcony near his room on April 4, 1968.  The site is now home to the National Civil Rights Museum and today, Saturday April 5, the museum will re-open to the public after $27.5 million of renovations.

“This museum after 22 years needed to be updated,” said Faith Morris, the museum’s director of marketing, governmental and community affairs. “[It] needed more technology, needed to be more engaging to a younger generation so that folks could really be a part of what the movement was about.”

The museum officially opened in 1991 and incorporates not only the historic motel, but the building across the street where James Earl Ray is alleged to have fired the fatal shot.

One new exhibit chronicles the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the economics of slavery in America from 1619-1861.  There is an entire exhibit space dedicated to the ‘Black Power’ movement and its influence on policy and culture.  Old exhibits have been enhanced with more audio/visual aids, touch screens and films touching on the different eras of the Civil Rights Movement.

Museum leadership said the renovations and fundraising efforts were critical to keep pace with the “2014 museum consumer.” The campaign to raise funds started in 2008 but because of the economic collapse, organizers regrouped in 2010 when conditions improved.

“People no longer want to walk through museums and experience a book on a wall,” said Beverly Robertson, the museum’s president. “When we opened in 1991, that was OK – because that was the museum experience. But times change. Technology changes.”

Robertson said it took “countless miracles” to raise the money and convince the museum’s board that the technological overhaul was necessary for the NCRM to thrive for many years to come. She said she is pleased with how well design teams, scholars, researchers and her staff adapted to the changing times.

“It’s a transformative experience,” Robertson said. “It’s an experience [visitors] won’t get anywhere else because it talks about the seminal events of the movement and it does it in ways that allows this history to resonate with those who are 8 years old or 80.”

article by Todd Johnson via thegrio.com

Museum to Open Balcony Where MLK was Assassinated

The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis plans to open the balcony where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot to the public.

The museum was built around and includes the old Lorraine Motel, where King was checked in when he was assassinated in 1968. Visitors had been able to see the balcony where King was shot but couldn’t stand on it.

The museum’s main building will close at the end of the day Monday for renovations. Officials hope to open the balcony to the public on Nov. 19, and they’re installing a lift for disabled visitors.

A museum annex that includes the boardinghouse from which James Earl Ray shot at King also will be open during the renovation.
Read more at http://www.eurweb.com/2012/11/museum-to-open-balcony-where-mlk-was-assassinated/#xxt2qiuo4DerXQ3q.99