The snaps I took on 2.5.09 of the Lorraine Motel, site of the April 4, 1968 murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, speak for themselves. “The strongest impression I got was that it’s quiet — dead quiet,” I wrote during my Memphis visit three years ago. “The Lorraine stopped being a working motel in ’82 and was soon after bought by the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Foundation and eventually became part of a small network of buildings called the National Civil Rights Museum.
“It’s a queer sensation to suddenly be eyeballing with great concentration a place as famous/infamous as this, and to just…I don’t know, just stroll around and take it all in. I was assessing the distance between the motel’s upper balcony (where King stood just before being shot) and the rear window of a former down-at-the-heels rooming-house from which James Earl Ray fired. Over and over I’ve watched black-and-white photos and newsreel film film (and lately, since the 40th anniversary last year, color video) of this sad place, and it’s just weird to see it live.”