Saturday 3 June 2023

Civil Rights Museum, Memphis

I hate saying this, but it feels like now, more than ever, it is so important to learn as much as possible about Black American history. I wish this museum was about racism "history" in the past sense, but am afraid it is very much in the present and in the future if we do not continue to challenge and change.

The museum is built on to the Lorraine Motel, room 306, the site of the murder of Dr Martin Luther King.  You can see the building above the hill from where he was likely shot.  You can see the firehouse where the FBI were staked out watching him and rushed over from when the shots were fired. 

The museum charts the evolution of Black people in America - recreating the horrific journeys on slave ships from Africa and their subsequent lives under the brutal leadership of their white "owners" through emancipation to early 20th century "separate but equal" education policies and their continued fight for true equality and EQUITY in the 1950s/60s/70s and onwards. And now.

I cried while hearing about the "Doll Test" and the little children thinking they were inferior compared to other children.  All because of being kept in separate schools. The only good outcome was that the results of that test, and other legal arguments, persuaded the Court that segregation in schools must come to an end (Brown v Board).  Putting that into practice bought its own set of problems of course.

But we got through that and get through today's problems we can and will.  But we must work together, and we MUST challenge racism wherever we see it and as individuals (well this is my call to myself anyway) we must challenge any inherent personal race biases.

We shall overcome.

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