Memphis National Civil Rights Museum
Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King, Junior was assassinated here on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in early 1968.
They've turned the motel into something called the "National Civil Rights Museum". There is a big crowd. I'm a little surprised that about half the crowd is white. Times change. When I moved to Tampa in 1953, every grocery store had four bathrooms (white men, black men, white women black women) and two water fountains (white and black). That was 60 years ago and a plumbers dream.
I suspect that Mrs. Phred might be the only real Civil Rights veteran at the museum today. Not many people had the balls to put their life on the line back then for social fairness. Mrs. Phred belonged to the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and agreed to lead a demonstration at the Florida pavilion of the New York Worlds Fair in 1964. Her sign said, "we don't want a World's Fair, we want a fair world ".
When you read the whole New York Times article, you get a sense that about 70 Pinkerton agents, ten paddy wagons and several tanks surrounded Carol before they dared to make the arrest. The cops all had the white or black "Stetsons" and other odd hat styles that prevailed back then. So Carol went to off to jail in New York as well as in Tallahassee.
At the time of Carol's arrest there were only three channels on TV and no remotes. You had to click the channels with a mechanical dial. LBJ and Elvis had three TV sets so they could watch all the news at the same time. Mrs. Phred's arrest was covered at 7 PM on NBC, ABC and CBS. Mrs. Phred's Mom , Frieda, saw the arrest on CBS and blew her Jack Daniels and coke all over her MuMu.
I admit my admiration for Mrs. Phred's accomplishments as a 19-year-old..The New York Supreme Court threw out her trespassing conviction on the grounds that she had every right to demonstrate on what was essentially public property.
Mrs. Phred and I were in Tacoma when King was killed. I was a First
Lieutenant. They briefed me on operation "Garden Plot" which involved
the potential of flying in massive forces of regular Army and Marine troops to American cities to
put down the "insurrection".
Now we have a black President. Think of that.