Candlelight Vigil Mourns Dr. King’s Death And Celebrates Museum’s Reopening

(Memphis) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had a dream, a dream being fulfilled one young mind at a time at the newly renovated National Civil Rights Museum.

Chris Sturgeon came all the way from St. Louis, Mo., to let his young daughter experience it.

“I want her and everyone to really realize that the civil rights movement isn’t history. It’s living in history.”

With candles held high at a vigil marking the exact moment Dr. King was shot at the Lorraine Motel, people from across the country celebrated the museum’s new beginning.

Shreveport, La., resident Milford Parker said, “I think Dr. King would really, truly enjoy to see that the African Americans have come out to support his legacy. Not just that, but to look at the history.”

That history is now interactive.

The museum hopes new touch screens will bring in younger generations.

Governor Bill Haslam spoke at the vigil and said children can learn how Memphis persevered after the assassination of Dr. King.

“They reacted first with shock and then with heartbreak, but finally with commitment and resolve,” Governor Haslam said, while standing on the same balcony where King stood when he was shot in 1968.

Visitors like Shreveport, La., resident Ricky Davenport said regardless of race, religion, or age, King’s dream of unity lives inside us all.

“We are a rainbow of people, and we need to act accordingly,” he said. “That’s what Dr. King preached.”

The museum’s renovation was in the works for six years. The actual construction took 18 months.

The official reopening ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 5.

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