National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel (Memphis)

Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama

Walking up to the grounds of the Lorraine Motel it seemed that time had stood still here.  The original 60's decor and the colorful sign were all left intact as they were on the day civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.  Walking up to the hotel we found a beautiful marble plaque with a poignant inscription from the old testament marking the day those tragic events took place. A very somber mood fell over all of us as we realized we were standing in a place that was frozen in time, a defining moment in our history. It's an indescribably feeling to stand where history has taken place, to realize that these events did not happen in black and white like we envision them in our history books but to real people, in real places in color.  It hammers home, the enormity of the moment and how truly tragic it really was.

We did not find out until later that you can actually go into the adjacent hotel room that is fitted with a glass partition so you can see the room as it was When Dr. King was staying there on that fateful day.  On the grounds, adjacent to the motel is the National Civil Rights Museum.  There is a lot of content here and it's heavy, much of it having to do with the murder of Dr. King by James Earl Ray and the ensuing investigation.  The rest is devoted to the struggle for civil rights, the movement, the major figures and the legislation and court cases that changed the course of this country affecting the lives and men, women, and children of color.   There is so much here, and sadly you are not allowed to take any photos so it's important to remember what you see, and the best way to do that is to let it move you.  In all honesty there are other civil rights museum that connected us more to the story and history of the civil right movement, but this place is a documentation of the tragic events that unfolded here and we found it hugely important to reflect and understand our history and the consequences of what happened on that day. DO NOT MISS this museum due to it's significance surrounding events that changed history.

Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama


  1. Madeline Jason says:

    6 x 9 =54. My husband and I are planning a trip to Arkansas with another couple. The focus of our trip will be the Museum of American Art in Bentonville. We would also like to visit Little Rock. We are planning to be in Arkansas about 5 days. What is the best way to get there and what are the sights we should not miss? Please advise.
    Thank you,
    Madeline Jason

  2. Alisa Abecassis Alisa Abecassis says:

    Hi Madeline-You should definitely check out the Clinton Library in Little Rock. It has tons of interesting and well put together exhibits, and even an exact replica of the Oval office. Since you’re 4 adults without worrying about school schedules, I’d try to travel in late spring when the snows and frost are gone and it warm but not humid yet. I think you can fly into the Clinton National Airport in Little Rock but you might want to consider flying to Memphis (Little Rock is about 1.5 hours away) and spending a little time there. It’s an amazing city.-Alisa

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