Sunday, 7 April 2013

"I was walking in Memphis....." National Civil Rights Museum and Beale Street

So there I was, walking in Memphis, mid-September last year, when on the second week of the trip I happened to turn the wrong way - and that it was it!  The grinding back pain began and, as the week progressed, I knew this was no innocent back pain that a few paracetamol tablets would take care of!  Oh, no! - this had real potential!   By the time my 6.5 hour long flight home was over, I could barely walk (as the fingernail scratch marks along the corridor walls of Glasgow Airport will testify!).  Emergency doctor visits, injections, morphine, perfecting the art of walking with crutches, a fun-filled 6-day sleep-over at the local hospital, from Christmas day until Hogmanay, and more weeks of healing, physiotherapy, learning to throw off the crutches and walk on my own two feet - that is how I have been passing the days, weeks and months since my last blog post - which I happily posted (07 September 2012, 7 months ago today, which just happens to be 07 April) the day before I left for the US of A! How little I knew!

The holiday that was, and the holiday that could have been, became something of a blur - once I was engulfed in unbearable pain - so not much of the holiday was discussed or thought about from the moment I arrived home.

As this is the week of the anniversary of the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King, Jnr perhaps it is appropriate that I mention, that if I did nothing else on my holiday, I managed to visit the National Civil Rights Museum.

The National Civil Rights Museum houses many displays, which chronicle the struggle of civil rights.

Outside in the baking heat sits a one-woman protest against the museum on this site by Jacqueline Smith, (you can barely see her head in the centre of this pic above the rail).  At the time of my visit to the museum, the protest had lasted 24 years and 185 days. 

The hotel balcony where the memorial wreath hangs outside Dr King's bedroom

A surreal experience to be standing right outside the hotel room where Martin Luther King's assassination actually took place. 


The sight of this grotesque Klu Klux Klan outfit sent shivers down my spine


Room 306 - Martin Luther King's  hotel bedroom - preserved behind a glass wall. 

From the balcony you can see the rooming house (the Legacy building) that the assassin's bullet was fired from.

The Legacy Building contains the second part of the museum tour - the Timeline Tunnel and the Final Days (November 1967- April 1968) - timeline of movements by Martin Luther King and his accused assassin, James Earl Ray

Preserved behind glass the bedroom - and the bathroom - (where the assassin's bullet was fired from)

View of the Lorraine Hotel balcony from the window on the right, above. 

Iconic image pointing to the rooming house window from the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel immediately after the shooting 

Images from Beale Street

Schwab family motto:  "If you can't find it at A. Schwab, you're probably better off without it!" 

Memphis Music Boutique

Signed drum skins

Preparations were underway in Memphis for Halloween. So many pumpkins of all shapes and sizes on sale everywhere.

We flew into and out of Newark airport but unfortunately my travelling companions were none-to-keen on my suggestion of stopping over in Manhatten for a couple of days (what?!), so I had to make do with pressing my nose against the windows of the airport staring out as the sunset and beautiful light over Manhatten in the distance.

This image taken from the plane arriving in NY from Memphis

Zoomed in image of the Empire State Building from Newark airport

The light is lush in this one - I had to ask what the tall building was - apparently it's the Freedom Tower.

Close up image of cranes still atop the unfinished Freedom Tower

Reflection of the airport lounge windows on this one - but I like how the plane soars above the Empire State Building

Oh well, that's our plane.  Must be off then...... 


  1. Welcome back Bella. What a time you have had!

    Your photos and writing about Memphis were very fine, as were those photos of downtown Manhattan, taken from NJ.

    When you do take your next trip over this way, I so hope that we can get together. Meanwhile, please do continue the healing process. xo

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  3. first amazing pictures and the trip looks like it was very educational and super interesting!! second and most importantly, i'm so sorry you had to go through all of that with your back pain!!! that is so random and i'm sure it was super frustrating and awful. i hope you are feeling a ton better now and able to frolic around happily again!

  4. Amazing post! It seems like an extremely interesting museum and I didn't know it existed until I read your comment on my blog. Fantastic!

    I'm very sorry to hear you were in so much pain, and I hope you feel better now.

    Enjoy the rest of your week! :)

  5. what a cool experience, sometimes our history isn't the prettiest but it's always worth revisiting and remembering.

    Xo Courtney ||

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