The ducks are out for the day at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis! If you’ve never seen this, it’s worth a side trip. They come down every morning and climb the red carpet stairs and play in the fountain – and tons of nuts like us FILL the lobby and take pictures. It’s been around for decades and they make a big production out of it. I met a woman from Ontario who had driven down with friends on a lark. Took them 16 hours and they pulled up just in time to see the ducks. She was so happy.
From there we went about 8 blocks south to the new National Civil Rights Museum. On the site of the old Lorraine Motel, it reopened last year right after we were here, so we missed it and had to come back. We happened to be here on the anniversary of the day Martin Luther King was shot in 1968, so they had a tent set up outside and there was a choir and speakers and an electricity in the air that made me want to cry.
The museum itself is really well done. We could have spent all day, but there were letting in 120 people in a group each 20 minutes and it was hard to read all the exhibits. They started with the slaves being kidnapped in Africa and brought over in ships. Half of them died on the voyage. Then they depicted slavery in all its horror and I did cry. What makes anyone think they are better than anyone else? By the color of their skin? By the amount of money in their bank account? By the need for workers so your plantation could grow larger and you could line your pockets with the profits from their sweat and deaths?
The second part of the museum is across the street, and not as many people were there. I’m not sure if they didn’t know it was there, or they didn’t want to see the view either.
6′ to my left is the dilapidated bathroom where James Earl Ray stood when he shot Martin Luther King on the second story balcony of the Lorraine Motel. Right where the wreath is hanging on the railing. The museum had recently recreated it and the bedroom where Ray stayed. The rest of this floor of the museum was dedicated to the evidence they would have used at the trial had it happened, the conspiracy theories, and a wall of, “where do we go now?” I went outside and thanked God for Martin Luther King and all those who stood up for what they knew was right and paid the ultimate price.