CNN Black History Month

Memphis boasts first civil rights museum

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From Correspondent Don Baird

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (CNN) -- The nation's first civil rights museum opened in Memphis five years ago at the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life came to a violent end on the hotel balcony in 1968.

At the museum, visitors experience the civil rights struggles through graphic sounds and images that make them feel as if they are in the heart of the struggle.

Around the corner from the museum is Beale Street, where black musicians came to play blues and jazz when the rest of the city shunned them.

Today, the blues still thrive on Beale Street, where on almost any evening one can listen to the sweet sound of a trumpet or the deep hum of a bass. You can even enjoy the smooth sounds of the legendary B.B. King at the jumping joint he owns in the district.

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