Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Lorraine Motel, Memphis, April 4, 1968

"Favorite" would be the wrong word, but the part of the Minnesota History Center's 1968 exhibit that moved me the most was film of Martin Luther King's last speech, given in Memphis the night before he was killed.

I had forgotten what the exact context was for those words, "I have been to the mountain top." King hadn't been feeling well, and wasn't going to speak at all, but at the last minute said he felt up to it. Then he went to the pulpit and gave this short speech, full of fire but also recognition that he probably wouldn't live to see his goals achieved.

Time Life today posted a series of photos taken at the Lorraine Motel the night after King's assassination. They're eerie and so, so sad, like this one of his open briefcase in the room:

Black and white photo of an open briefcase with folded pajamas and a can of shaving cream on top
Described thus by photographer Henry Groskinsky: "Martin Luther King Jr.'s neatly packed, monogrammed briefcase in his room at the Lorraine Motel, April 4, 1968 — with his brush, his pajamas, a can of shaving cream and his book, Strength to Love, visible in the pocket."

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