MLK 50: Understanding the message

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Lorraine Motel has gone down in history as the sight of one of the darkest moments in our nation's history.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on its balcony.

Today, it's the site of our nation's premier Civil Rights museum: the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel.

"We really want people to come here to understand the Civil Rights Movement," said Faith Morris, the museum's chief marketing and external affairs officer. "We chronicle it from beginning to end. In fact, with the renovation that we had from door-to-door in 2014, we included a slavery exhibit. A culture of resistance, because we know that it started with with slavery."

This year marks 49 years since the assassination of Dr.  King. In the months leading up to the 50th anniversary of his death, WGNO-News with a Twist is participating in a yearlong commemoration of King's life, reflecting on the past, evaluating the present – and seeking solutions for the future with stories that highlight local Civil Rights history and more.

While many people know the story of Dr. King, not everyone knows about the hundreds of thousands of people who "weren't trying to lead a movement."

"They were really just trying to lead a better life," Morris said.

 

Another thing people don't always understand is just how young the movement was.

"These were teenagers, 20-somethings," Morris said. "These were young people that saw there needed to be a change, and they got busy doing it. Fast forward to now, and we talk about movement makers."

Morris explained that the mission of the museum is not only to educate, but to inspire people to continue working for change.

"We want them to understand what the movement was about, and then we want them to be inspired and motivated to do something, to take a stand, to vote. To understand that the issues that were so prevalent then are the issues that we're still dealing with now."