MLK Jr. Remembered

Last August, B.J. and I made the trip via train to pick up my car from our friend Paul in Northern Mississippi. As our adventures go, we got into the station in Memphis a bit early and had time to kill before we were picked up. After a good Southern breakfast we were out the door and walking in the thick humidity. Not having a clue where we were, we just kinda headed up one street and down the next looking at the buildings, drenched in sweat.

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It was a sureal moment as I turned, without knowing, and directly faced the balcony where MLK was shot dead by a sniper. In that split second, I could almost see the men standing over his body, pointing in the direction of the gun fire. A death that occurred over 7 years before I was born, was represented in my mind through photographs.

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We wandered closer and took a series of photos, me all excited and somewhat impressed with my instant recognition. Although the museum was closed, we struck up a conversation with a couple of fellow travelers who took the photo of us by the plaque outside what was the Lorraine Motel.

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From the official site:

The aftershock of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968 would plunge the Lorraine Motel, a small minority-owned business in the south-end of downtown Memphis, into a long and steep decline. The motel’s owner, Walter Lane Bailey kept a couple of rooms as a shrine to Dr. King and to Bailey’s wife, Lorraine, who died of a brain hemorrhage several hours after King was shot.

By 1982, the Lorraine Motel was a foreclosed property. A group of prominent Memphians, concerned that this historic site would be destroyed through continued neglect and indifference, formed the Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation to save the Lorraine. Using a design report by a former Smithsonian Institution, Benjamin Lawless, the Foundation started seeking funding for the nations’s first comprehensive exhibit chronicling America’s civil rights movement.

Yet another page to be written in the volumes of my crazy life. MLK Day is a bit more real to me this year.

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Flickr set here.

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