450 Mulberry Street @ Butler
Memphis, TN 38103
Here is the place where Dr. Martin Luther King has been assassinated at 6:01 PM April 4th, 1968. MLK died in hospital 64 minutes later. The convicted killer, James Earl Ray, spent his life in prison and died 30 years 20 days after the assassination, and after telling MLK’s son No, I didn’t as Dexter King asked the dying Ray point-blank if he killed the civil rights leader.
At first, it has been named Winsor Hotel in 1925. Later, as one of only a few hotels for blacks, it hosted famous entertainers such as Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, Count Basie, B. B. King and Nat King Cole.
In 1942, Walter and Loree Bailey bought it and renamed Lorraine.
In 1968, the attention of the nation was focused on the Lorraine Motel when MLK was assassinated. The aftershock of this event would plunge the Lorraine Motel into a long and steep decline.
By 1982, Lorraine Motel was a foreclosed property. A local non-profit group, concerned that this historic site would be destroyed through continued neglect and indifference, formed the MLK Memorial Foundation to save it from foreclosure. Prior to becoming the America’s first National Civil Rights Museum, Lorraine Motel went through the Jacqueline Smith Protest that prolonged nearly 2 decades by the last fragile homeless woman evicted from the hotel about 18 years ago.
Now you can see the curtains drawn in each of the rooms, and a large wreath hung from the balcony right where MLK was standing when he was gunned down. Two vintage cars, including a white Cadillac, were parked directly below King’s room. Looking through the metal bars surrounding the property, Lorraine Motel appears untouched — like a crime scene cordoned off by investigators — since 38 years.