Online Collection

Brick from the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was assassinated

Object Number: 2001.058.0009
Category: Artifacts
Original owner: Lorraine Motel
Type of Object: Brick
Dimensions: 2 1/4 x 4 1/4 x 1 3/8 in. (5.7 x 10.8 x 3.5 cm)
Medium: Clay
Description
A beige brick from the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in 1968.

Similar to the development of The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza inside the former Texas School Book Depository building, the National Civil Rights Museum began when the Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation purchased the Lorraine Motel in 1984. After the last tenant vacated the space in 1988, construction began on the National Civil Rights Museum. This brick, supposedly from the area surrounding the motel's swimming pool, was among those removed during construction and preserved by the Museum.

The National Civil Rights Museum donated this brick to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in 2001.
Curator's Notes

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza received this Lorraine Motel brick from the National Civil Rights Museum in 2001 shortly after the September 11th terrorist attacks. Immediately after the tragedy in 2001, The Sixth Floor Museum began work on an exhibit titled "Loss and Renewal: Transforming Tragic Sites."  This exhibit explored how significant sites of American tragedy -- Ford's Theatre, Pearl Harbor, Dealey Plaza, the Lorraine Motel, and the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City -- were transformed into sites of memorialization and reflection. This brick was among many original artifacts, including a piece of the U.S.S. Arizona battleship at Pearl Harbor and a desk calendar from the Murrah building, on display as part of this exhibit. - Stephen Fagin, Curator 

We use this artifact in Museum programs about civil rights. - Lindsey Richardson, Curator of Collections

All requests for permission to reproduce, publish or broadcast materials in this collection must be submitted to the Museum's registrar, using the Rights & Reproductions Request Form. Inquiries may be sent to registrar@jfk.org.