The National Civil Rights Museum
The National Civil Rights Museum exists to educate the public about the history of the Civil Rights Movement and to promote Civil Rights issues in a proactive and non-violent manner.
Sadly, it fails to live up to these ideals.
The truth is that the museum has become a Disney-style tourist attraction, which seems preoccupied with gaining financial success, rather than focussing on the real issues. Many people have criticized the "tone" with which information is portrayed - Do we really want our children to gaze upon exhibits from the Ku Klux Klan, do we need our children to experience mock verbal abuse as they enter a replica bus depicting the Montgomery bus boycott. Do we have so little imagination, that we need to spend thousands of taxpayers dollars recreating a fake Birmingham jail, to understand that Dr. King was incarcerated?
All in all, the greatest criticism of the Museum is that it dwells heavily on negativity and violence.
Surely the underlying signals must portray hope and non-violence.
The official line
The official line at The National Civil Rights Museum is that the museum exists to educate the public of civil rights, not as homage to Dr. King, but to feature Dr. King as one of many campaigners who fought for Civil Rights.
If this is the case, why choose the Lorraine Motel, why re-create a laser display depicting Dr. King's death? Why purchase the rooming house from where the bullet may have been shot? Why exhibit the alleged murder weapon?
The truth is that by converting the Lorraine Motel, which even including demolishing the rooms where the strategy meetings took place, they have chosen to make this hallowed ground into nothing more than a tourist attraction at the expense of the poor and disadvantaged.
The entire morals of the Museum can be questioned. How can they actively encourage "black tie" glitzy balls and functions for the advantaged, while the poor and displaced are shoved to one side on the same block.
The Gunshot Laser Display
- a true lack of taste
This is itself evidence that the National Civil Rights has from day one, considered the ghoulish needs of the mass tourism market greater than the real need to educate and inform.
The laser display, which follows the alleged track of the bullet from the rooming house on South Main Street, can hardly be viewed as an integral part of civil rights teachings. Especially, as the question of whether the assassin was actually situated in that position. The controversy has continued from 1968 and it appears that there are as many questions left unanswered today as there were at the time.