National Civil Rights Museum shifts to hybrid MLK Day events due to pandemic

Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 5:31 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The pandemic shifted Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations for some, including the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

The Martin Luther King holiday has a special meaning in Memphis.

“It means a lot, bringing unity and maybe stopping the violence that we’ve been having around lately. And it’s a special day because we came so far as a whole and I think we should keep pushing forward,” said Reginald Small.

“It’s like inspirational, educational, and very monumental,” said Mark Bowden.

It’s monumental because it’s in Memphis in what used to be the Lorraine Motel where King was assassinated 54 years ago.

Dr. Russell Wigginton, president of the National Civil Rights Museum, says this day puts emphasis on what King left behind.

Due to the pandemic, the museum had to change its celebration plans, making it a hybrid King day. The virtual celebration featured musical performances by Memphis musicians and spoken word many stopped by.

“Well, I was coming here just to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday,” said Makayla, an event attendee.

Admission to the museum was free from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and while some have made it a tradition to come out every year on this holiday, others came to immerse themselves in the history.

“I want to enrich myself in the history of how everything went down, just to revamp what I want to do, you know,” said Private First Class Parks with the Tennessee National Guard.

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