April 4, 1968

50 Years Ago

April 4, 1968

April 4, 1968. The Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennesse. 50 years ago today. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot and killed while standing on the balcony of the motel outside his room. This was neither the beginning of the civil rights struggle nor its end. But it did bring even more national attention to the fight for the rights of all people.

Fifty years later, the Lorraine Motel is home to the National Civil Rights Museum, which informs and educates visitors about the civil rights issues of the past, along with those that continue today. A wreath hangs on the balcony where Dr. King was standing when he was shot.

The museum must get asked often about the cars parked in front of the motel. There is a sign, not seen in this photo, stating that those cars did not belong to Dr. King. Instead, they are there to help set the atmosphere for 1968. The large sign to the right commemorates Dr. King and his death at this location, and also includes Genesis 37:19-20.

Memphis in the News

The events of April 4, 1968, also put Memphis into the national news. However, that is not necessarily the kind of national news coverage that you want for your city. But over the years, Memphis has come to terms with this bit of notoriety, using such things as this museum to take that attention and use it for the good of society.

I know our local television channels have a good bit of coverage planned for the day, and perhaps some of the national news outlets will pick up some of that as well. Because while things have come a long way over the last 50 years, there is still much that can be done to make our country, and our world, even better for everyone.

Bible Verse

They said one to another, “Behold, here cometh the dreamer. Let us slay him…and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” - Genesis 37:19-20

About the photo

This photo was taken at the same time as the previously posted photo of The Lorraine Motel. When we went back several days later to visit the museum, the sky was bright blue. But I thought this overcast version was much more fitting for this day.

The fisheye lens allowed me to get much of the motel structure and the cars in the frame. Of course, there is the usual obvious distortion from the fisheye lens, but I really don’t mind that at all.

I considered a black and white conversion for this photo to make it look like the photos from 50 years ago, but after working with the colors a bit I liked the way that this color version turned out. It has a bit of a vintage feel to it while being somewhat obvious that this is a modern-day photo.

Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye Lens
Date: March 10, 2018
Location: Lorraine Motel, Memphis, Tennessee

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through Burnsland.com, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.