MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On Friday hundreds walked through the National Civil Rights Museum to remember Judge D’Army Bailey. Bailey passed away last weekend at the age of 73.
Bailey was a civil rights advocate and Memphis city leader.
Organizers of his visitation Friday said they expected between six and seven hundred people to attend.
“You know you never think the great ones will leave you but obviously none of us are here forever,” said Meka Egwuekwe.
Not here forever in body, but the spirit and work of Judge D’Army Bailey lived on through the streets of Memphis and in the walls of the Civil Rights Museum.
Hundreds walked through the doors Friday of the former Lorriane Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed.
It was a place of tragedy, but Bailey said within the tragedy there was a lesson.
“And after he died D’Army saw the vision he said we can’t let his dream die. We gotta create something that will keep in the minds of the people the struggles we’ve gone through in our lifetime to get where we are,” said Sidney Chism.
Judge Bailey was no stranger to struggle.
He was an activist.
He pushed for social change and wasn’t afraid to share his opinion.
He was expelled from Southern University in Baton Rouge but the rough times brought lessons.
“It just strengthened him for whatever the next challenge was and I think that’s an example to young people in particular to say sometimes it’s not always going to be up. Sometimes it’s going to be down but we have to keep moving in the right direction,” said President of the Civil Rights Museum, Terri Lee Freeman.
For his friends, Friday was a time for reflection
“When I walked in and saw him in there I thought, “but for you we would not be here,” said Judge Dan Michael.
Michael said while Bailey was the driving force behind the museum, he influenced change in more areas than just Memphis.
“Just a remarkable man and a citizen of our community and its a great loss not just to our community but our country as a whole,” he said.
Bailey’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday at 12 at the Mississippi Boulevard Church.