Guest Columnist

Visiting Alabama

Learning about the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 


I visited Memphis, Tennessee recently with my friend, Ashley, and her family. The part of the trip that left a big impression on me was the Martin Luther King Jr. Museum. The museum is also called the Civil Rights Museum.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a pastor at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He was also a Baptist minister, helping to form the Southern Christian leadership Conference; and he was an activist, forming the African American Civil Rights Movement.  He also delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott after Rosa Parks, a black woman, refused to move to the back of the bus. He was awarded fifty honorary degrees from colleges and universities, and hundreds of streets in America bear his name.

While there, I visited the Lorraine Motel. After Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the government turned it into a museum for him. It shows the life of a young Martin Luther King Jr. and others who took a stand with him.  I thought the museum was special and had interesting facts. It was heartbreaking just walking into the building. As I looked around I would see others tearing up as well as they saw the pictures that were hung on the walls.

Visiting the museum taught me not only about Martin Luther King Jr., but also Rosa Parks and the even of four young African Americans who died in a church bombing. Even though this museum showed a depressing part of history, I was delighted to be there.

After King was assassinated, President Ronald Regan declared that King’s birthday a national holiday.

For those who want to experience more than what they learned through their high school history textbook, The Martin Luther King Jr. museum at the Lorraine Motel will give you what you’re looking for.

Ashley Gazes, 28, lives in Oceanside. She works at Trader Joe’s and attends Life’s Worc in East Rockaway. She enjoys watching sports, reading, writing, listening to music and just hanging out with her friends.