I am a man

The National Civil Rights Museum is a hard place to visit. It’s uncomfortable to be confronted with the racist history of our country. It’s sickening to learn about how many things were denied – institutionally denied – to people of color. It’s embarrassing to have to admit that I’ve lived many, many years without thinking too deeply about what it means. It’s sobering to think about how far we’ve yet to go.

In 1969, the sanitation workers in Memphis were on strike; they carried the “I AM A MAN” signs on the picket lines. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made two trips to Memphis to support the strikers, and one the second trip he was assassinated as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, the same building that now houses the museum.

If you go to Memphis, please go to the museum: you’ll leave a different person than you were before.

National Civil Rights Museum
Memphis, Tennessee
photographed 12.27.2021

Posted on January 17, 2022, in Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. “you’ll leave a different person than you were before.” – to me, that’s the scary bit, that people need something like this to change them and their perspective – what have they been doing up to now?

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  2. I think that even people who HAVE been doing something “up to now” can be changed by a visit to a museum like this. The exhibits may highlight things they didn’t previously know, or present something they did know in a manner that makes them have a deeper understanding, or provide additional small details of an event they knew well. In any event, there will always be a capacity to change, to know more, after a visit.

    However, I will say that the people who most need to see this place are the ones least likely to go.

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