My husband’s mother’s family is from Memphis, and for the first time since my son was born 12 years ago, we paid them a long overdue visit. The highlight of our time in Memphis, aside from getting to know our distant cousins, was our trip to the National Civil Rights Museum. It is housed in the converted Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was shot in 1968. To anyone visiting Memphis, it is a must-see. Powerful and poignant.
The wreath on the second floor balcony marks the spot where Dr King was standing when he was shot.
Inside, they have the very bus Rosa Parks rode when she refused to sit in the back.
I loved this mural across the street from the museum.
We paid a visit to the old family home in southern Memphis, just a mile or so from the Graceland mansion.
This was the old stone grist mill wheel where they ground their corn – most likely for grits.
We took a couple of days to drive down the Mississippi delta, stopping in a few little towns. Here is a popular blues and BBQ joint in Clarksdale, Mississippi. It is owned by Morgan Freeman now, but sadly, he wasn’t in the house.
We crossed over into Lakeport, Arkansas to take a tour of this restored plantation house.
It was sobering to stand on the porch of the big house, looking out over the cotton fields where so many people suffered under the weight of slavery.
We were told this wood shed was probably a converted slave quarters cabin. Again, a sobering reminder.
After slavery was officially abolished, many of the former slaves became share croppers on plantations like Lakeport. They had to pay inflated costs at the on-site provision store. They converted one of the kitchen storerooms into the store, which you accessed from the back porch through this door.
The restoration team found, kept, or reconstructed many of the provisions that would have been for sale there.
For us northerners, this trip was an amazing walk through the history and culture of a place completely unfamiliar to us.