Magazine

Apr 5, 2018

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death

A half century ago, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. came to Memphis to march in support of the city's striking sanitation workers. It was the last trip the Baptist minister turned civil rights leader would make in the name of social justice.

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
1

A statue of Rosa Parks sits at the front of a bus in the National Civil Rights Museum, on the site of the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 26, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
2

Henry Leach poses for a photograph as he stands under a commemorative "I am a Man" sign at Ms. Girlees's Soul Food restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 29, 2018. Leach, who participated in the strike 50 years ago, said King came to the city for justice, not violence. "He came to help us get what we wanted. Like I tell you, he became like a father to us," the former sanitation worker, said recently. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
3

A mural heralds the Soulsville neighbourhood, home to the legendary Stax recording studio, in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 29, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
4

The U.S. flag decorates a building in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 27, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
5

Jerry Coleman (R), a forklift operator by day, takes pictures while he films a scene for his Youtube movie "All Lives Matter" with his friends at the Lorraine Motel, where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 26, 2018. Coleman was improvising a scene about what MLK might have thought of the violence on the streets today. "We really want to know what he would think if he was still around. He could be anything, he could be the president right now, we don't know. Whatever's going on in Memphis, I'm on a positive tip. I grew up in a neighbourhood with lots of things going on, but that's not going to stop me from having fun." JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
6

Henry Leach (L), talks with his granddaughters and his friend Clarence Christian (R) at his family's Ms. Girlees's Soul Food Restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 26, 2018. Leach, who participated in the strike 50 years ago, said King came to the city for justice, not violence. "He came to help us get what we wanted. Like I tell you, he became like a father to us," the former sanitation worker said recently. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
7

A man sits outside the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. stayed before he was shot and killed in 1968, now the National Civil Rights Museum, in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 25, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
8

A stained glass portrait of Bishop W.F. Ball, which hearkens back to the historic roots of Clayborn Temple, hangs in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. March 25, 2018. The church is the building where the striking workers met 50 years ago at the time of Martin Luther King Jr. assassination. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
9

The base of a statue to Nathan Bedford Forrest, a founder of the Ku Klux Klan, stands in a park in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 27, 2018. In December 2017 activists forced a removal of the statue from his gravesite. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
10

People visit the reconstructed hotel room where Martin Luther King Jr. stayed before he was shot and killed in 1968 at the Lorraine Motel, now the National Civil Rights Museum, in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 26, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
11

Tami Sawyer, a Black Lives Matter organiser, who is running for election to sit on city council, meets potential voters at a bar room event called Nerdnite where she talks about her experience removing a statue of KKK founder Nathan Bedford Forrest (pictured), in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 29, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
12

Sanitation worker Walter Coleman works a route on a truck decorated to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 28, 2018. King Jr. was shot and killed while rallying with striking sanitation workers in 1968. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
13

A marker on a street corner in the Soulsville neighbourhood marks the spot of the People's Grocery lynching of African-American proprietors Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell and Will Stewart in 1892, which spurred Ida B. Wells in her crusade against lynching, in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. March 26, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
14

A cotton-themed mural decorates a building in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 27, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
15

Archie Hurt, who regards Martin Luther King Jr. as a prophet, stands in front of his house in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 29, 2018. Hurt, has been painting parts of Biblical scripture interspersed with his thoughts on religion, politics and current events on the front of his house for ten years and twenty years before that when it was his brother's house. His hat reads "Cry to the Lord". JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
16

Words are seen on the facade of Archie Hurt's house in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 29, 2018. Hurt, who regards Martin Luther King Jr. as a prophet, has been painting parts of Biblical scripture interspersed with his thoughts on religion, politics and current events on the front of his house for ten years and twenty years before that when it was his brother's house. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
17

Actor Larry Bates plays Martin Luther King Jr. as he rehearses a scene from the play "The Mountaintop", part of events marking the 50th anniversary of King's murder at the Halloran Centre, in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 28, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
18

A makeshift memorial of stuffed animals honours Deandre Claxton who was killed in a shooting after an argument in May 2016 in Soulsville, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 26, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
19

People visit the reconstructed hotel room where Martin Luther King Jr. was staying before he was shot and killed at the in 1968 at the Lorraine Motel, now the National Civil Rights Museum, in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 26, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
20

Knowledge Quest community program founder Marlon Foster (L) gives a tour to visitors from Tennessee agriculture agencies of Knowledge Quest's community microfarm on razed home lots in the Soulsville neighbourhood in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 29, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
21

Keidra Boaze nuzzles her son Keegan as members of the Downtown Church worship in Clayborn Temple, the church building where the striking workers met 50 years ago in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 25, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
22

A street sign marks Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. March 28, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
23

Side dishes including (clockwise from top right) cabbage, sweet potatoes, collared greens, rice, beans and macaroni-and-cheese are ready to be served at Ms. Girlee's Soul Food Restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 29, 2018. The restaurant is owned by Henry Leach and his family. Leach, who participated in the strike 50 years ago, said Martin Luther King came to the city for justice, not violence. "He came to help us get what we wanted. Like I tell you, he became like a father to us," the former sanitation worker said recently. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
24

Customers watch, as their orders are prepared, at Ms. Girlee's Soul Food Restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 29, 2018. The restaurant is owned by Henry Leach and his family. Leach, who participated in the strike 50 years ago, said King came to the city for justice, not violence. "He came to help us get what we wanted. Like I tell you, he became like a father to us," the former sanitation worker said recently. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
25

A car drives by the house, slated to be moved to a new location, where singer Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 29, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
26

Activist Sweet Willie Wine looks through papers near his framed "Memphis Invaders" (a black power group) jacket in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 29, 2018. After spending time in prison as a young man, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. inspired Wine to dedicate his life to the Civil Rights movement. He was three blocks away from the Lorraine Motel when King was killed on April 4, 1968. "On Friday, April the 5th, his body was at Lewis' Funeral Home. Something said to me, "Get up and go down to Lewis's Funeral Home," said Wine. "I went in and over him I said, 'Dr. King, I'm gonna make them pay.' That's when I made my commitment. That was fifty years ago, and I've not turned around since." JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
27

Rev. Earle Fisher (L), a Black Lives Matter leader, holds a planning meeting to mobilise activists for future rallies in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 28, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
28

Shahidah Jones (L) and Rev. Earle Fisher, Black Lives Matter organisers, light themselves using a phone, as they pose for a photo near the De Soto Bridge in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., March 28, 2018. One thousand Black Lives Matter activists occupied and shut down the De Soto Bridge for four hours in a July 2016 protest. Rev. Earle Fisher: "I didn't have anything to do with (the protest) in terms of starting it but I was definitely there in solidarity with the people." Shahidah Jones: "The vibe of the protest had, then, started to change. It had started out with positive energy, but now you could feel this aggression growing." Helping to resolve the stalemate Fisher got the police to agree to a meeting on community policing and led the protesters off the bridge. Jones: "We get asked a lot as organisers, what does MLK 50 mean to you? It doesn't mean anything different for us than April 5th. Our job is still the same." JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
29

Katrina Millender, an educator from Chicago, hugs the statue of Rosa Parks on a bus in the National Civil Rights Museum -- on the site of the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was shot and killed in 1968 -- in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. March 26, 2018. Picture taken on March 26, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
30

A stairway leads to an empty lot where a house used to stand in the Soulsville, where some members of the neighborhood struggle with poverty issues 50 years after Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968 while taking up the cause of striking sanitation workers, in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. March 29, 2018. Picture taken March 29, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
31

Jim Fox of Apache Junction, Arizona, removes his hat as he visits the reconstructed hotel room where Martin Luther King stayed before he was shot and killed at the in 1968 at the Lorraine Motel, now the National Civil Rights Museum, in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. March 25, 2018. Picture taken March 25, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
32

People visit the reconstructed hotel room where Martin Luther King stayed before he was shot and killed at the in 1968 at the Lorraine Motel, now the National Civil Rights Museum, in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. March 25, 2018. Picture taken March 25, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Memphis 50 years after MLK’s death
33

Tami Sawyer, a Black Lives Matter organizer in Memphis who is joining a wave of women across the country running for office as she attempts to win a city council seat, meets potential voters at a barroom event called Nerdnite where she talked about her experience removing a statue to KKK founder Nathan Bedford Forrest, in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. March 29, 2018. Picture taken March 29, 2018. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

You may also like

  • The Photos Of 2018 Week 49

  • Downhill Challenge Medellín...

  • Georgian mining town offers...

  • Abandoned Norwegian houses by...

  • Safari in the city

  • Shanghai’s Late Night Shops...

Something to say? Use Facebook!

Or say it with Disqus!

comments powered by Disqus