Tag Archives: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Civil Rights Act Turns 50

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On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The landmark law made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It ended discrimination in schools, in the workplace, and at public facilities (restaurants, swimming pools, theaters), and prohibited unequal voter registration requirements. The bill was proposed by President John F. Kennedy but since his assassination, it was signed into law by his successor Lyndon B. Johnson who called it a memorial to Kennedy

 

Martin and Malcolm met! Despite their political differences, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X both came to Washington in March, 1964 to hear the Senate debate the bill. After one of King’s press conferences, the two men briefly exchanged respectful pleasantries. It would be the only time the two leaders ever met face-to-face and their meeting barely lasted a minute.  As they parted, Malcolm X reportedly joked, “Now you’re going to get investigated.”

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Among those present at the signing were: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Sen. Hubert Humphrey, and F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover. This History channel documentary gives an overview of the historic bill and its far-reaching implications for all Americans.

http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/civil-rights-act

Civil Rights Museum

If you want to know more about events leading up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and many other milestones of the movement, visit the National Civil Rights Museum:

National Civil Rights Museum
450 Mulberry Street, Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 521-9699
http://civilrightsmuseum.org/

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National Civil Rights Museum Re-Opens

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 photo by Gov. Bill Haslam, Flickr

Just as the Lorraine Motel was reborn in 1991 as a shrine to hope, it rises once again. The National Civil Rights Museum closed its doors for over a year to undergo a $28-million makeover. It re-opened April 4th with 52,000 square feet of new exhibit space. Memphis soul singer Sam Moore (Sam & Dave) wrote a new song to commemorate the event.

The world-class museum now has a greater emphasis on the struggles and sacrifices of ordinary people. Key exhibits like the sanitation workers strike feature interactive displays that put you into moments from history.


photo by Adam Jones, Ph.D., Wikimedia Commons

The National Civil Rights Museum
450 Mulberry Street, Memphis, TN 38103 Phone: (901) 521-9699
www.civilrightsmuseum.org/

Memphis TV news stations covered the Breaking the Chains re-opening ceremony and got reaction from people from all walks of life.

WPTY – ABC
http://www.localmemphis.com/story/d/story/breaking-the-chains-at-the-national-civil-rights-m/12208/oPdYXZw6T0Cm0y-WvjqhKQ

WREG – CBS
http://wreg.com/2014/04/05/renovated-national-civil-rights-museum-now-open/

WMC – NBC
http://www.wmctv.com/story/25172606/national-civil-rights-museum-reopens-doors?autostart=true

WHBQ – Fox
http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/video?clipId=10019910&autostart=true#axzz2yQuuqbv6


photo by Adam Jones, Ph.D., Wikimedia Commons

What to Do

The National Civil Rights Museum

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Located at the historic Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, this fabulous museum follows the history of the Civil Rights Movement. Not to be missed.

The National Civil Rights Museum
450 Mulberry Street, Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 521-9699
www.civilrightsmuseum.org/

Sun Studio

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The birthplace of rock n’ roll. See where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded their first hits.

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The guides love to show you around and talk all about music history. The first rock n’ roll record, “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston, was recorded here in March, 1951.
Sun Studio
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN, 38103
Phone: 800-441-6249
http://www.sunstudio.com/

Soulsville USA: The Stax Museum
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Welcome to the birthplace of soul music. This completely cool museum walks you through the history of Stax Records and their roster of stars like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Sam & Dave, and many more.

Don’t miss the wall of hit records and Isaac Hayes’ gold-trimmed
1972 Cadillac Eldorado.
Soulsville USA: The Stax Museum
926 E. McLemore Avenue, Memphis, TN 38106
Phone: (901) 942-7685
http://www.staxmuseum.com/

Graceland
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Sure it’s tacky and overpriced but you have to go to see how Elvis lived.  This is his Jungle Room with its Polynesian influence and green shag carpet on the floor and the ceiling. A hunka hunka!

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Pay the extra fee to see The King’s extensive car and airplane collection. He used to give away Cadillacs like this.
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Graceland
3734 Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, TN 38116
Phone: +1 901-332-3322
http://www.elvis.com/

Main Street Trolley

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At a dollar per ride, it’s a fun way to get around downtown and it passes by the Mississippi River for superb views. They rattle and clatter, and aren’t very fast–but everybody loves them. See trolley highlights by Paul Donovan:

Memphis Area Transit Authority
Route and Schedule Information: (901) 274-6282
Trolley: (901) 577-2640
http://www.matatransit.com/services/trolleys/

If you are totally into trains, check out the Memphis Railroad and Trolley Museum, a volunteer-run group dedicated to rail in Memphis.

photo by Katherine of Chicago, Flickr
photo by Katherine of Chicago, Flickr

Memphis Railroad and Trolley Museum
Central Station, 545 South Main Street, Suite 121, Memphis, TN
http://mrtm.org/

Gibson Guitar Factory

photo by Patrick from Parka Avenue, Flickr
photo by Patrick from Parka Avenue, Flickr

Even if you’re not a guitar geek, take an informative tour of the factory as they turn out hand-crafted Gibson guitars, from Les Pauls to the Firebird X. Security is high so don’t try to snap pictures like this without permission.

photo by Bones77sm, Flickr
photo by Bones77sm, Flickr

This short video from zZounds.com shows how they are made:

Gibson Guitar Factory
145 Lt. George W. Lee Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 544-7998
http://www2.gibson.com/Products.aspx

Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum
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Located at the modest home of the Burkle family who helped slaves escape to freedom to the northern states and Canada. Even though the small museum is often full of school kids on field trips, the guides have inspiring stories for everyone.  The place has hidden trap doors and secret tunnels used to shelter the escapees.

photo by tennesseevacation, Flickr
photo by tennesseevacation, Flickr

Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum
826 North Second Street, Memphis, TN 38173
Phone: (901) 527-3227
http://www.slavehavenundergroundrailroadmuseum.org/slavehaven.html

The Cotton Museum
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Founded in 2006, this museum relates the history of cotton and its important role in the economy of the Mid-South. Films and displays show you how the commodity became “King Cotton.” The main exhibit is located on the trading floor of the old Memphis Cotton Exchange building.
The Cotton Museum
65 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 531-7826
http://www.memphiscottonmuseum.org/

The Memphis Riverboat Tour
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An entertaining steamship ride along the Mississippi, taking you back to a time when riverboats ruled the waterways. The guides have humorous stories that make local history come alive. Plus, you get some impressive views of the city along the way.
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Memphis Riverboat Tour
251 South Riverside Drive, Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 527-2628
http://www.memphisriverboats.net/

The Withers Collection Museum Gallery

photo by Redfern Photo Archive, Flickr
photo by Redfern Photo Archive, Flickr

Located right on Beale Street, the photo museum features a display of African-American photographer Ernest C. Withers who documented the history and culture of Memphis.

Rosalind Withers is the trustee of her father’s life work and she has a wealth of stories about her dad covering segregation issues, Negro League baseball, and the local blues scene.

photo by Pan African News Wire File Photos
photo by Pan African News Wire File Photos

The Withers Collection Museum Gallery
333 Beale Street, Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 523-2344
http://thewitherscollection.com/

Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum

photo by Eridony, Flickr
photo by Eridony, Flickr

Near FedEx Forum, this museum covers the highlights of blues, soul, and rock ‘n roll–all forms of music with roots in Memphis. In addition to traditional museum displays, you can now grab an MP3 audio guide and a map to take the Historic Walking Tour of Beale Street.

photo by otacon4130, Flickr
photo by otacon4130, Flickr

Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum
191 Beale Street, Suite 100, Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 205-2533
http://memphisrocknsoul.org/

The Center for Southern Folklore
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This non-profit organization showcases unique gifts, music, and works of art from Southern artists. When you’re done shopping,  stay for coffee and Miss Ella’s peach cobbler. Located downtown at the Peabody Place trolley stop.
The Center for Southern Folklore
123 South Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 525-3655
http://www.southernfolklore.com/