I only had my sunglasses by the time we arrived in Memphis. Maybe I could become a back up singer for the Blues Brothers, I thought. My regular glasses must have fallen out of my purse and under the bed in Oklahoma City. Hard to drive at dusk now but I can really see well enough without them, just not signs far away.
Memphis was hot. Our last trip we skirted Memphis, staying in some outlying region by the airport, Mike said. This trip we had more time and wanted to see some of the city. Tickets to Graceland are high, and we decided to skip that and go to the Civil Rights Museum. The Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was shot has been used as the front facade of the museum. James Earl Ray's boarding house room across the street is now part of the museum.
A woman stood on the other side of the street protesting the museum. I walked over to talk to her. She thinks black kids shouldn't be taught their history. It is too painful. She wants the museum moved and low income housing built. In her world, we somehow can't have both.
For most baby boomers and those from an earlier generation, a walk through the museum is a painful reminder of the history of racism in this country. Much of that history we saw unfold as youngsters. Almost too much to bear. I did stop and listen to Dr. King's "I have a Dream" speech. His cadence so familiar to me because my grandfather was a preacher. My grandfather's dinner table prayers went on a bit, but these men were the last of the great southern orators. I miss their passion and honesty.