India Blooms News Service

As Senator Robert F Kennedy on April 4, 1968 uttered these words from the scribbled notes made in his car during his campaign trail, he announced one of the most shocking news in the racial conflict ridden modern history of the United States.

His words were met with screams and shock from the crowd as he went on to inform about the killing of King by a white man: “Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in.”

“For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling,” he said.

“I had a member of my family killed, but he [assassinated US president John F Kennedy] was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times.”

“The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who preached nonviolence and racial brotherhood, was fatally shot here last night by a distant gunman who raced away and escaped. Four thousand National Guard troops were ordered into Memphis by Gov. Buford Ellington after the 39-year-old Nobel Prize-winning civil rights leader died. A curfew was imposed on the shocked city of 550,000 inhabitants, 40 per cent of whom are Negro,” it reported.

An exhibit of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a protest against the racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. It was a foundational event in the civil rights movement in the United States in the mid-1950s.

The 42,000 square-foot center is designed by architect Phil Freelon who created a physical representation of its vision. The curved walls of the Center represent two cupped hands, protecting something sacred: the dignity of all human beings.

The exterior façade displays many tones, a mosaic of different nationalities that represents the idea that people from all walks of life can work together in harmony.

You begin the tour on a corridor with two sides labelled in neon showing the “White” and “Colored” worlds of Atlanta in the 1950s.

The Center’s iconic exhibitions feature the papers and artifacts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; the history of the civil rights movement in the United States; and stories from the struggle for human rights around the world today.

In this museum, the gallery titled The March On Washington (one of the most iconic moments of the US Civil Rights Movement) captured my attention. The gallery is a multimedia experience that highlights the events of the day when King gave his seminar speech- “I Have A Dream”.

It was on August 28, 1963, that hundreds of thousands of people from diverse backgrounds gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC, in what is still considered one of the largest human rights events in American history.

A section on Martin Luther King

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