A Sobering Walk Through National Civil Rights Museum

National Civil Rights Museum

Before last week, I had no idea the National Civil Rights Museum even existed. I’m glad that part of my blogger trip to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital included a guided tour through the museum. Everyone needs to visit Memphis so they can walk through the National Civil Rights Museum. (More about my visit to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in a separate post.)

Lorraine Motel sign at NCR

The NCR is built into the Lorraine Motel, a black owned hotel in Memphis. It’s also the last place Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr slept before his assassination on April 4, 1968.

Front of National Civil Rights Museum

See where the white car is? Right above it is the balcony where Dr. King stood when he was shot. A red and white wreath hangs from the railing near the spot.

Sit In Exhibit

A replica of the Student Sit-Ins of 1960 also features clips from training videos for participants. There were also videos of the violences the students received, but they believed in Dr. King’s no violence philosophy.

Montgomery Bus Boycott Exhibit at NCR

The museum is incredibly comprehensive. I’m not familiar with the details or specific movements of the Civil Rights Movement but our tour guide walked us through it. He brought history to life. The Montgomery Bus Boycott exhibit features a bus the same exact model as the one where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. This begin the yearlong bus boycott.

Members of Freedom Rides

The Freedom Rides exhibit was an eye opener for me. I wasn’t familiar with this part of the movement nor the people who participated in it.

Memphis Sanitation Strikes NCR

The Memphis Sanitation Strike exhibit
Jobs for all exhibit NCR

From the Jobs for All exhibit 

Black Panther Movement NCR

Black Panther poster from the Black Pride 1966-1975 exhibit.

Dr King's Room at Lorraine Motel

The last exhibit at the National Civil Rights Museum ends with two hotel rooms, the only ones left in the Lorraine Motel. Our group hung on every word as our tour guide recounted the last hours of Dr. King’s life.

Walking through the museum was a sobering experience. Our country has come a long way with civil rights. But I can’t help but see history repeating itself as I watched footage from the massacre at Selma, Alabama. It’s disheartening to see how little our country has progressed since then.

Join the Movement NCR

I’m coming off a bit bleak, but I didn’t feel that way at all during our tour through the museum. The exhibits are incredibly well done and have honored the movement and the people involved. It covers a part of our history that needs to be remembered forever.

Without these men and women, I wouldn’t have been able to vote today.

The museum reminded me that our fights for civil rights and justice for people of color still continues.

Continue to speak up and push for change.

Thank you National Civil Rights Museum and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for an experience I will never forget.


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