Lorraine Motel

Lorraine Motel

Photo: The Lorraine Motel sign outside of what is now the National Civil Rights Museum.

Urbex doesn’t always have to be about exploring abandoned buildings. When I plan a trip I ask my significant other to come with, but they have no interest in crawling around piles of detritus. That being the case even I occasionally don’t want to. Sometimes a well kept point of interest can offer the same level of wonder. The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee is one such place.

The Lorraine Motel is the site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King arrived in Memphis to support black sanitation workers who demanding a wage on par with their white contemporaries. The peaceful protest incited violence and riots throughout the city. On April 3, 1968 Dr. King gave his last speech, in which he may have addressed the threats against his life.

Video: Dr. King’s last public speech.

We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And 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. And 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.

Room 306

Photo: A wreath hangs where Dr. King collapsed.

On April 4, 1968 King was killed by an assassin’s bullet outside of Lorraine Motel room 306. For Dr. King’s nonviolent efforts the sanitation workers received a nominal cost of living raise.