National Civil Rights Museum

National Civil Rights Museum

Memphis, TN
Building on a Dream

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Over the next 14 years, the motel and adjoining neighborhood declined. Shamed by its history and decrepit condition, the city of Memphis considered removing all traces of the motel and the tragedy that occurred there. But others had a dream that an important story could be told within those walls. A group of Memphis activists bought the building at a foreclosure auction, and with the guidance of Eisterhold senior management, began the process of developing the site as a national history lesson. The result was a plan to restore the Lorraine Motel and add a 20,000-square-foot museum—the first of its kind in the United States, one that quickly became a mecca for students and the standard by which future civil rights museums would be measured.