In 2015, we took a family road trip to Texas to see my niece graduate from high school. Half-way through the trip, we stopped in Memphis, Tennessee to take a break, and to do a little sightseeing before getting back on the road. During our visit, my family and I walked on Beale Street to hear the sounds of the blues. We also ate great southern cooking from both Charles Vergo’s Rendezvous and Gus’s Fried Chicken. Memphis BBQ is completely different from Chicago’s BBQ because it’s a dry rub with no sauce – something I don’t believe my mother-in-law appreciated. By the way, I am ever so grateful that Gus decided to build a Gus’s Fried Chicken in Chicago! The hot and spicy chicken is incredibly good! Unfortunately, it’s not as hot as the original location in Memphis.
Before leaving Memphis amd continuing our family road trip, I had a life-changing experience of visiting the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum is at the infamous and historic landmark, the Lorraine Motel, the location of where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed. It was amazing to see so much black history that I have only previously seen on PBS or a Ken Burns documentary. The site of the Lorraine Motel still had the cars that were in the parking lot on the night of the assassination. In fact towards the end of the tour, we were able to view the room that Dr. King was staying while in Memphis. Everything was peacefully displayed as in a moment in time.
It took approximately two hours to tour the entire National Civil Rights Museum while being fully immersed through sight and sound. The first building at the Lorraine Motel, the museum displays the history of the African Americans’ journey through the slave trade, through the Civil War and Jim Crow, to the election of the first black president, Barack H. Obama, and the plight of civil rights for everyone. The second building was dedicated to the investigation of James Earl Ray, the assassin of Martin Luther King Jr.
While known as the author of non-violence and peaceful protestor, I cannot imagine what it would have been like to be in Dr. King’s presence. The dream that Martin had seems to be half-way to fruition. Unfortunately, there are still so many injustices that people from around the world have to experience. The recent peaceful protests that are happening in America is making progress; saving families from gun violence and empowering women is just the beginnings. I believe Dr. King would be proud that we are continuing the legacy.
If you haven’t visited the National Civil Rights Museum, I highly encourage you to visit. You will never forget it. Please enjoy some of my photos from the museum.