Dear Old Memphis, TN (National Civil Rights Museum)
While in Memphis, I had the opportunity to visit the National Civil Rights Museum, which is housed at the former Lorraine Motel (the site where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated). It was quite an experience, but one of the most memorable sights that day was happening right across the street from the museum.
Jacqueline Smith is a woman that has been protesting across from the National Civil Rights Museum for almost the past 23 years. She’s protesting what she claims to be the exploitation of MLK Jr. and the gentrification of the area surrounding the Civil Rights Museum. Once a permanent resident of the former Lorraine Motel, she was forcefully evicted when the motel began the process of becoming a museum. She was actually the last resident of the motel to be removed.
I noticed her protest booth on the way out of the museum, so I went up and took some pictures. I went home to do some research and was quite amazed to find that she’s been out there for up to 21 hours a day, non-stop for the last 23 years. Quite remarkable.