National Civil Rights Museum hosts virtual events, new exhibition, and hybrid commemoration on the 55th anniversary of MLK’s death

Remembering MLK: The Man. The Movement. The Moment. offers full day of activities

Memphis, TN, March 31, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel will present a hybrid commemoration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy on Tuesday, April 4, the 55th anniversary of his death. The Museum invites the public to join in honoring Dr. King at this year’s “Remembering MLK: The Man. The Movement. The Moment.”

The event will be held in the National Civil Rights Museum courtyard at 4:00 pm Central with a musical prelude followed by the commemorative service at 4:30 pm.  Participants can also join the live stream via the museum’s website, Facebook, and Livestream platforms.

The Museum virtually joins The King Center to present “MLK55: Transforming Unjust Economic Systems,” a virtual conversation with King’s daughter, Dr. Bernice A. King, and Museum President, Dr. Russ Wigginton, at 11:30 am on April 4. 

On April 3 at 2:00 pm Central, Dr. Wigginton joins a virtual conversation with Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, reflecting on Dr. King’s and Senator Kennedy’s leadership legacy, their messages for peace, justice, and equality, and the implications for today’s world. The event is part of the Harvard Alumni Allyship Series.

Each year, the Museum commemorates the tragic event that occurred on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in 1968. This year’s event features a keynote speaker, special performances, fraternal tribute, and changing the balcony wreath with a moment of silence at 6:01 pm Central when Dr. King was slain. 

Dr. Otis Moss III, Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, IL, is the keynote speaker. He has built his ministry on community advancement and racial and social justice activism. Dr. Moss routinely preaches and practices a Black theology that unapologetically calls attention to the problems of mass incarceration, environmental justice, and economic inequality. 

Xernona Clayton, who has been a leader in civic projects and civil rights activities for several years, will give remarks. Clayton worked closely with the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She also traveled extensively with Mrs. Coretta Scott King on her nationwide concert tours. Clayton is the Founder, President, and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc. and Creator of the Foundation’s Trumpet Awards. Clayton began her television career in 1967 and became the South’s first Black person to have her own television show.

“Dr. King’s life and legacy continue to resonate with us 55 years after his death,” said Dr. Noelle Trent, the museum’s Director of Interpretation, Collections, and Education. “We are honored to have civil rights pioneer Xernona Clayton join us as we commemorate Dr. King’s life through prose and music,” she said. 

Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice, will join the platform of elected officials attending including State Senator Raumesh Akbari and State Representative Justin Pearson.

W. Crimm Singers AKA Wakanda Chorale, a professional ensemble-in-residence of Tennessee State University’s Big Blue Opera Initiatives, will perform music of the Black experience throughout the diaspora and every genre connected to it with major emphasis on the Negro Spiritual, African American operatic, and concert repertoire, hymnody, and anthems.

Musical performances by Iris Orchestra’s Artist Fellows and Memphis Symphony Orchestra/University of Memphis Fellows, two prestigious programs dedicated to emerging musicians from African American and Latinx communities, will render the musical prelude beginning at 4:00 pm Central.

A multimedia exhibition, Waddell, Withers, and Smith: A Requiem for King, opens April 4. The exhibition feature three Memphis-born artists whose work is considered the artistic reaction to the assassination. 

Normally closed on Tuesdays, the museum is open regular hours 9:00 am – 5:00 pm on April 4. Dramatic performances by the In[HEIR]itance Project, readings of Dr. King’s work by actor J.S. Tate, and audio recordings of Dr. King’s speeches will play in the courtyard throughout the day.  

Guests are welcome to attend the free commemoration in the museum courtyard, weather permitting.  If inclement weather, the event will be held in the museum’s Hooks Hyde Hall.

Registration is highly recommended for the link to the live-streamed presentations. For more information, visit


About the National Civil Rights Museum

The NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from slavery to the present. Since the Museum opened in 1991, millions of visitors from around the world have come, including more than 90,000 student visits annually. The Museum is steadfast in its mission to chronicle the American civil rights movement and tell the story of the ongoing struggle for human rights.  It educates and serves as a catalyst to inspire action to create positive social change.

A Smithsonian Affiliate and an internationally acclaimed cultural institution, the Museum is recognized as a 2019 National Medal Award recipient by the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS), the top national honor for museums and libraries.  It is a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Top 5% U.S. Museum, USA Today's Top 10 Best American Iconic Attractions; Top 10 Best Historical Spots in the U.S. by TLC's Family Travel; Must See by the Age of 15 by Budget Travel and Kids; Top 10, American Treasures by USA Today; and Best Memphis Attraction by The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Business Journal. 

- -


Remembering MLK on the 55th anniversary of his death Wreath Laying Ceremony at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel