I’m baaaaaaack!

During our travels over the last eight days, one of the sights my husband and I saw was the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. This is on the site of the infamous Lorraine Motel, where Dr. King was killed nearly forty years ago, as well as the building from across the street where he was shot by James Earl Ray. The motel has been remodeled and the room where Dr. King spent his last hours re-created. The plate of half-eaten food (plastic, no doubt,) did give me that creepy feeling I always get whenever the radio plays one of Natalie Cole’s duets with her deceased father . . . but I digress.

It is important to note that the museum is not dedicated solely to the memory of Dr. King. Its detailed exhibits begin with the arrival of the first African slaves in America in 1619 and touches on a multitude of significant events in the 388 years since. Although I already knew most of what I saw, I nonetheless found it very moving to walk through a replica of the bus where Rosa Parks refused to get up (I actually remember when buses actually looked like that) in 1955, and to view a recreation of the burned bus used for the Freedom Rides in 1961.

A good portion of the museum’s visitors were white, and they appeared awestruck as they took in the experiences of persons of African descent in the U.S. I could practically see the light bulb going off in their heads. I wish everyone could see it; it would make for a better understanding of what we as a people have gone through.

Especially bookstore chains who insist on separating novels written by black authors from other fiction. This, more than anything, shows just how horribly wrong this practice is.

3 comments:

Donna D said...

Hey Bettye,

Welcome back! I'm glad you enjoyed your trip. I hope to see the museum soon.

I just wrote a blogpost on the very idea you hit upon in your last statement. I hope you'll check it out: www.dmdmedia.blogspot.com.

Donna

Patricia W. said...

I enjoyed that museum when I saw it years ago. I too found the food creepy. All Black folks in America should get there at least once.

bettye griffin said...

Thanks for your comments, Donna and Pat! Donna, I'll check our your essay in a few.