Civil Rights Museum cited as exemplary

D.C. facility to show black history, culture

Posted on April 12, 2007

WASHINGTON -- The National Civil Right Museum in Memphis was singled out as a model to study at a hearing Wednesday in which officials with the Smithsonian Institution testified about a future National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., told the witnesses that there are two institutions in West Tennessee worth their review -- the National Civil Rights Museum in the former Lorraine Motel and Alex Haley's home in Henning. "The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis celebrates the victories of that movement in guaranteeing equal rights to all American citizens regardless of skin color," Alexander told the panel testifying before the Rules Committee. "It sits in the place where Martin Luther King was killed. One can't help but be moved when visiting there." The future museum was established when President Bush signed legislation in December 2003. The Smithsonian announced last year that it would be built on Constitution Avenue adjacent to the Washington Monument. Ground has not been broken and no firm date for its opening has been set, but the National Museum of the American Indian took about 10 years to build.