MEMPHIS, TN - Standing with a King. For the first time the National Civil Rights Museum is allowing visitors access to the spot where Martin Luther King was murdered.
You've seen the images countless times, now you can stand where they stood.
“I think it's a once in the lifetime situation to be here,” Ronald Fort said.
Until now only celebrities and dignitaries have had the chance to stand here. Enith McCloud and her family (they hail from Fairbanks, Alaska) were the first to break the barrier.
“Being here it's a sense of sadness but yet I'm happy that my kids can see this because not only is it Memphis history, it's our history, it's the world's history,” McCloud said.
“For me this has been really unexpectedly moving and powerful a lot more that I thought it would affect me,” Paul Kelch, who was visiting from Washington D.C. said.
For many, the opportunity to stand where Dr. King stood before the shot rang out nothing short of amazing, but others say opening the balcony to the public undermines King's legacy.
“I feel like it's a scared place. I don't think that's something that should be commercialized,” Tiffany Taylor said.
“We realize there are mixed feelings about that. We ourselves understand there's a reverence and we also want to protect the reverence and sanctity of the place but we also know this history must be shared,” Connie Dyson of NCRM said.
It won't be shared for long. The balcony will be open for a limited time as the Civil Rights Museum remodels exhibits in the Lorraine Motel. They will be finished in a little more than a year.