National Civil Rights Museum News

There’s plenty of history in the making here at the National Civil Rights Museum.

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The Famous Lorraine Motel

The Lorraine Motel was forever etched in America’s collective memory with the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, but even before that fateful day, the property at 450 Mulberry Street had a fascinating history in its own right. Before it was the Lorraine, it was the Marquette Hotel that catered to black clientele in segregated Memphis. Then, in 1945 black businessman Walter Bailey purchased the hotel, which he re-christened the Lorraine after his wife Loree and the... Read More

In Memory of Rev. Samuel "Billy" Kyles

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles. Our deepest condolences to the Kyles family. Rev. Kyles was a beloved member of the National Civil Rights Museum family and a lifelong member of the National Civil Rights Museum board of directors. As a lasting tribute, he will be named board member emeritus.   In death, as in life, Rev. Kyles' highly acclaimed story as the last “witness" to Dr. King’s final hours will remain in the The... Read More

48 Years Later…

  By Terri Lee Freeman   Museum President   April 4, 1968 was a dark day in our nation’s history. On that date we lost the hope of many. For some, it simply solidified what they believed to be true -- that hate and evil win once again. And, still for others the message was sent that even with civil rights gains, race relations in the United States of America had a long way to go.   Today, in 2016, it is clear that that last statement remains true,... Read More
Posted by Connie Dyson at Monday, April 4, 2016

Self-Destruction: A Case Study of Violence and Hip Hop

   by Ryan M. Jones   Museum Educator         In March 2016, the National Civil Rights Museum opened a controversial exhibition entitled Kin Killin’ Kin . Artist James Pate has created images comparing Black-on-Black violence to the history of terrorism by the Ku Klux Klan. The graphics show African American youth murdering each other wearing Klan regalia. Visual references to episodes in the Civil Rights Movement and the Hip Hop... Read More
Posted by Connie Dyson at Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Frederick Douglass: Abolitionist, Journalist, Reformer, 1818 - 1895

  By Dr. Noelle Trent   Director of Interpretation, Collections and Education   Frederick Douglass, an icon of American history, was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey in Talbot County, Maryland in 1818. Born a slave, Douglass escaped to freedom in his early twenties. He rose to fame with the 1845 publication of his first book The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave , Written By Himself . He fought throughout most of his career... Read More
Posted by Connie Dyson at Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Resolve to See the Promise

  By Terri Lee Freeman   Museum President   It's a new year -- my favorite time of year because it is so symbolic.   A new year is a signal for another chance and a fresh start. While it doesn't mean we get to erase the past, it does suggest that we should learn from the past and move forward to do better. The bridge from 2015 to 2016 was particularly poignant for me as my family welcomed a new generation. A beautiful baby boy born to our... Read More
Posted by Connie Dyson at Tuesday, January 5, 2016

An Assault in South Carolina

  By Terri Lee Freeman   Museum President       By now, we’ve all seen the video of the police officer assaulting – yes, I said assaulting – the female student in a South Carolina classroom.  We’ve heard some of the video where the police officer asked the young woman, [and I’m paraphrasing] “…are you going to get up or are you going to make me get you up?”  Since the release of the... Read More
Posted by Connie Dyson at Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Freedom Award: An Honor Well Defined & Well Deserved

  By Terri Lee Freeman, Museum President       In 1991 the National Civil Rights Museum began a tradition of taking the time to honor the ordinary people who did extraordinary things to secure, preserve and protect the rights guaranteed to all citizens of our great nation through the Constitution. These were the foot soldiers of the American Civil Rights Movement that fought for justice and equality.   It was for these freedom fighters that the... Read More
Posted by Connie Dyson at Thursday, October 8, 2015

Emmett Till 60 years later: the Untold Story

  By Ryan Jones,   Museum Historian   Before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of a dream, before Rosa Parks stood up by continuing to sit, before Bloody Sunday, there was a brutal murder in the Mississippi Delta in 1955 that awakened the hearts and minds of an entire generation. The story of Emmett Till is no secret to the Civil Rights Movement. It is even possible now that his story is mentioned in curriculums across the world. But do we really know what... Read More
Posted by Connie Dyson at Friday, August 28, 2015


  By Terri Lee Freeman   Museum President   Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. It’s considered one of the deadliest hurricanes and most destructive natural disasters in U.S. history. Hundreds of thousands of people along the Gulf Coast, especially in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, were displaced from their homes, and damage is estimated at more than $100 billion. A million people were affected. Close to 2,000... Read More
Posted by Connie Dyson at Friday, August 28, 2015