Evolution of ‘I AM A MAN’

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. —The place where Dr.King last stood could have stayed just another memorial but Beverly Robertson led the charge towards immortalizing the now landmark.

Cementing the essence of the evolution of the dream into each room.

"Taking it from a memorial site to really a living legacy that speaks not only to the past but allows people to understand the past and is a foundation for the future," Robertson said.

When tapped to take on the project she didn't quite see the vision in full focus.

"I was approached by two of the board members to run the museum to which I laughed. and said I love visiting museums, but I've never run one," Robertson said.

"I said I am a business person I know how to run a business, they said that is what we need. I didn't know why but I learned I had a purpose it was more than a job it became a calling."

Under Robertson's leadership, the museum thrived.

"When I came on board they were ready to expand," Robertson said

She found the funds to make room for the museum's constant growth.

"I started raising money I had an 11 million dollar goal so we could start talking about what happened after the death of King," Robertson said.

Taking the staple from a local fixture to a world stage.

"Many people challenged whether the civil rights museum was, in fact, national," Robertson shared.

Now, 50 years after the assassination of Dr. King Robertson says the museum allows his memory to march on through providing a beacon of light for all history.

"Many people found their voice at the NCRM, not just African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics," Robertson said. "Native Americans could see their stories reflected in the stories of the
African American struggle."

"It makes a difference when your story resonates with people who don't look like you."

And even though progress has been made she says there's still growth on the horizon for the museum and the next generation of leaders.

"With all of the technology that exists and how fast it is changing information only takes a split second to communicate. I think that will be part of where we go from here," Robertson said.

She wants young people to step up and learn from the past and then take the technology in the palm of their hands to carry the baton and move Dr.Kings dream forward.


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