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In Dr. King's Footsteps

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Places to Commemorate the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Memphis
Lorraine Motel, Memphis

Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968. The motel is now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum.

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In March of 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., had traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, to assist that city's black public sanitation workers with their strike for equal wages. By this time, King was a national figure and the Civil Rights movement he had started was 13 years old. Nevertheless, Dr. King was being harassed daily and getting death threats regularly from white Americans unhappy with the direction the Civil Rights movement was headed.

King gave a rousing speech at a rally for the sanitation workers on April 3, 1968. This address, referred to as the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, spoke of difficulties and violence along the path to racial desegregation and contained passages that foreshadowed Dr. King's assassination the following day:

 

We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't really matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live - a long life; longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

On April 4, 1968, as he stood outside room 306 of the Lorraine Motel, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot. Within an hour, King was declared dead. In the wake of the assassination, the owner of the Lorraine Motel maintained room 306 as a shrine to Dr. King. Today, the Lorraine Motel houses the National Civil Rights Museum, which includes exhibits about Dr. King's life and assassination.

 

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