picture courtesy of civilrightsmuseum.org
As you scroll down through this post, there is a picture gallery of my visit to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. I know that pictures can speak louder than anything you could ever say or write, but God I wish I took better pictures to give you a much better idea of the overwhelming atmosphere of the museum.
I was incredibly shakey and tried to take the best pictures I could, but I did not do the place justice at all. To say I could barely handle it is an understatement. It's very difficult to see and aim accurately with a camera through tears.
There were so many things that just assaulted the mind and the senses. I couldn't and still can't take in the sheer brutality, the horrific violence, the pain and death of the most magnetic leader of that era - Martin Luther King Jr., all of it on display.
So many African American men, women and children, not to mention many white supporters of the civil rights movement, all who had to endure mind-numbing abuse just to a have a seat at a goddamn restaurant. Just to be thought of and treated as a human being.
The name calling, the bullying, the bombs, the hangings, the hoses, the deaths, the brutality of the police - again, all of it is on display.
The brutality of the slave trade in pictures, sculptures, and audio noises highlighting the pain of being cramped and stuck in the slave ships crossing the Atlantic. Audio recordings of what was said to black men and women who chose to sit at the front of the bus instead of the back. All there. All of it on display. All of it was so awful, so powerful. I will never, ever forget it.
I promise if I return to Memphis, I will go back and give it the proper picture gallery it deserves.
And to the brave, incredible soldiers who fought with dignity and grace, who pushed so hard and lost their lives and family members for equality, expressions of gratitude will never, ever be enough. But for future generations, we will learn from the past and move forward to continue to break barriers and make them proud. That is the ultimate goal and reward.