I posted earlier about my trip to the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis TN where 50 years ago this week Martin Luther King was assassinated. Since you will be hearing much about this over the next few days and particularly on April 4th I thought I would continue this blog about the museum and the plight of our fellow Americans.
As you walk through the museum....it truly is a walk through our most recent history that has had the most documentation. You may have learned about the slave trade the "rum - molasses - for slaves" route that brought the captured Africans to America to labor in the fields and homes as property of their owners. The abuses, the neglect, the indifference, the breaking up of families - the continued oppression after their "emancipation" and the Civil War. The continued onslaught and withholding of decent human rights. But the museum tells the story from a different angle than just acting as victims. It tells the story of a people who although suffered immensely continued to survive and find ways to move forward towards their belief in equality and that their humanity was equal to others.
The struggle lead to communities being formed that protected them. Especially the church where they gathered to gain strength, to organize and to move forward peacefully. The unrelenting quest for education. The right to vote and to decent comparable wages - to make a living and a life in a freedom they believed was their right as an American.
I was too young to remember when integration happened in the south. I remember reading and learning about it so I visited Central High School in Little Rock Arkansas where in 1957 nine African American kids wanted an education that was equal to their white counterparts so deeply they subjected themselves to some of the worst personal offenses imaginable.
Prior to that time even though the "Jim Crow" laws had said that separate but equal was acceptable....in 1954 the Supreme Court had determined in "Brown v. Board of Education" that ALL citizens in the US were to have access to shared equal educational opportunities. The decision wasn't popular to all but was accepted because there wasn't a time frame attached to the decision to integrate. Integration of the schools didn't occur.
Three years later these strong children and their families believed the law should be obeyed and they tried to enter Central High. They were denied access by angry mobs. The Supreme Court of the United States had determined they were legally entitled to attend but it took the intervention of Federal Troops to support that law. Escorted by those troops they were finally admitted into the school but hatred and malice were their classmates.
This is part of the journey. When you hear or read this week about the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King remind yourself that there have been so many additional sacrifices prior to and since these events transpired. Take time to learn more deeply about our history because it is our history. This year is especially memorable because it has been 50 years since Dr. King's assassination...... the struggles continue. Make your way to Little Rock and Memphis. Make your way to history.
Martin Luther King, April 4th 1968
BK Travel Tips
To enjoy travel and see the world and often yourself as if for the first time and with with the eyes of a young child.