I had the opportunity to visit the National Civil Rights Museum today. This was not something on my bucket list, or even close to something I just wanted to do. But I live in Memphis now, and part of living in Memphis is means living in a part of history.
As I approached the historic Lorraine Motel, I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve never been big on watching that particular part of history, my history. I don’t like to watch films about slavery, and Eyes on the Prize was never, ever my film of choice.
When we turned the corner and saw the balcony, and the old cars parked out front, I was amazed.
I was starring at history. A part of history that ushered me to where I am today.
We toured the museum. We saw pictures, watched short films, saw a burned bus. Some things I could look at, others were too painful to watch. We saw the exact room that Dr. King stayed in that day. The food still on the tray by the bed. A newspaper on the bed. His bag on the counter in the bathroom. Across the street, we saw the room where the shot came from, the bathroom window still slightly raised. For me, it was overwhelming and I was ready to leave.
As I am glad that I experienced it, it’s not something that I would jump to do again… but it is something I would like to show my nieces one day.
What I will say is what frustrates me the most is looking at where we are today, as a people, especially black people.
It bothers me that we have come this far, fought so hard to get here, at an ultimate cost, but now fight each other. It’s hard for me to respect the Black Lives Matter movement when we don’t seem to respect ourselves. Yes, black lives matter… but I want them to matter to us as well.
There were sayings around the museum that asked, “Where do we go from here?” Well, that’s a great question, one I don’t have an answer to. All I know is that I’m in this city for a reason. I can pick my little corner and do the very best I can to make a difference (in my little corner).