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National Civil Rights Museum

450 Mulberry St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
| +1 901-521-9699
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National Civil Rights Museum Memphis Tennessee United States

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Wed - Mon 9am - 6pm

National Civil Rights Museum

The site of everything from lunch counter sit-ins to the sanitation workers’ strike of 1968 that inspired Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have been to the mountaintop” speech, Memphis occupies an important place in the history of civil rights. Unfortunately, the city is also where MLK was assassinated, shot on the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Hotel. Today, the fateful hotel is one in a series of buildings that make up the National Civil Rights Museum, which tells the story of the fight for equality, both in and outside Memphis, through artifacts and multimedia displays. Large exhibition spaces include an original lunch counter from an Atlanta sit-in and a replica of the bus that Rosa Parks once rode in Montgomery.

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AFAR Local Expert
over 5 years ago

Honor a Civil Rights Legacy

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.