National Civil Rights Museum
Located at the former site of the Lorraine Motel at 450 Mulberry Street in Memphis, the National Civil Rights Museum is the state's preeminent museum dedicated to the history of the Civil Rights movement in the United States from the nineteenth century to the present. The interactive exhibits especially focus on the momentous events of the 1950s and 1960s, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. played such a crucial role in the struggle for civil rights. The spotlight on King is appropriate because the museum incorporates a portion of the original Lorraine Motel; on its balcony Dr. King was assassinated in April 1968. The museum also preserves the room where Dr. King was staying before his murder. He was in Memphis lending support and bringing national publicity to the strike by Memphis sanitation workers, most of whom were African Americans. In the days of Jim Crow, the Lorraine Hotel and Motel was a popular segregated resting place for African Americans visiting in Memphis. The Lorraine's guests included Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, and Aretha Franklin. It remained a motel until its conversion into the National Civil Rights Museum in the late 1980s; the museum opened to the public in 1991.