The National Civil Rights Museum symbolizes one of the darkest moments in the history of Memphis while serving as one of its great tourism points of pride.
The museum opened in 1991 at the site of the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. The civil rights leader was in Memphis to help with a sanitation workers' strike. He was gunned down on the balcony outside his room, where a wreath rests to this day.
The museum details the long civil rights struggle beginning with the 1600s and the trade that brought African slaves to the New World. It continues through the struggles of the 1950s and '60s, with exhibits on moments such as lunch counter sit-ins, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the struggles to integrate schools.
Currently, the museum is only partially open as the Lorraine Motel building is undergoing extensive renovations. It is expected to fully reopen in early 2014.