For anyone interested in history, it is worth visiting the site of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee.
Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated by James Earl Ray on 4 April 1968. It was a very significant event in American history.
At the time of the assassination, Dr. King was on the second floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel, on Mulberry Street between Hulin Avenue and E. Butler Avenue, where he had been staying while in Memphis to support a strike by the City of Memphis sanitation workers.
James Earl Ray shot Dr. King from the second floor bathroom window of a building that was then a rooming house on S. Main Street, one block west of the Lorraine Motel. The former rooming house is now part of the Legacy Block of the National Civil Rights Museum.
Both the Lorraine Motel and James Earl Ray’s rooming house are now both part of the National Civil Rights Museum. Here are some links to photos of the Dr. King assassination and it aftermath: Time-LIfe ;
Here is National Civil Rights Museum permanent display of the washroom from which James Earl Ray shot Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This is the view James Earl Ray would have had of the Lorraine Motel when he shot Dr. King. The red and white wreath on the second floor balcony marks marks the sport where Dr. King was standing when he was shot by James Earl Ray.
The photos below show the building that was Bessie Brewer’s rooming house in 1968 and the Young & Morrow Building next door. As James Earl Ray was fleeing the scene immediately after shooting Dr. King, he panicked and abandoned the rifle he had just used to shoot Dr. King in the doorway of the Young & Morrow building, next door to his rooming house. The rifle became a key piece of evidence in identifying and convicting James Earl Ray. The rifle is now on display in the National Civil Rights Museum.
Other Sites Connected To The Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Lorraine Hotel was part of the same business as the Lorraine Motel. It is located immediately north of the Lorraine Motel building and, like the Lorraine Motel, is now part of the National Civil Rights Museum.
At the time Dr. King’s assassination, the Memphis Police Department was conducting surveillance of Dr. King and the Lorraine Motel from the rear windows of the City of Memphis, No. 2 Fire Hall on S. Main Street.
Fire Hall, No. 2 is still a working Memphis Fire Department station. It backs onto Mulberry Street and has a clear view of the Lorraine Motel, as it did in April 1968. The photos below show the rear of Fire Hall, No. 2 (top) and the front of Fire Hall, No. 2 on S. Main Street (bottom).
Dr. King spoke at Clayborn Temple in the weeks before his death. Clayborn Temple was also an important location in the Sanitation Workers Strike which Dr. King had come to Memphis to support in April 1968.
For more information on the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the subsequent identification and arrest of James Earl Ray, we recommend Hellhound On His Trail by Hampton Sides. This is the best book we have read about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.
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