Paving stones show the path of a bullet. At one end stands a man in a bathtub. At the other an orator of dreams and promised lands falls to the ground.
The Memphis scene of Martin Luther King’s assassination is now the National Civil Rights Museum and we spent six hours there absorbing the compelling, shocking and ultimately inspiring stories of suffering, defiance, sacrifice and campaigning.
But there is a tension within the museum. It tells the story of slavery, constitutional amendments, disinterested Presidents, Jim Crow Laws, freedom riders, Edmund Pettus Bridge, Birmingham, etc etc superbly but then loses the plot by focusing too much on James Earl Ray and the conspiracy theories. In that respect Jacqueline Smith (see picture below) has a point.
But importantly the museum challenges us to reflect on segregation today. The signs above the doors have gone, but not the separating walls. Think of the increasing division in British schools caused by religious/cultural/economic factors, and the neighbourhood ghettoes in American towns and cities.