Central BBQ and the Lorraine Hotel

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While traveling through Memphis this past few weeks we found a great slow cook BBQ joint, Central BBQ slow smoked Memphis style.  After parking and waiting in a brief line we picked out our desired menu and weaved our way to the picnic style tables.  Since 2003, Central BBQ has been ranked in the top 3 BBQ restaurants in Memphis and taken top honors ten times.

We loved the atmosphere along with the great food.  In a room in the back, there was a bluegrass band that just added something extra. This has to be a popular spot not only because of its great food but also because of its close proximity to the Lorraine Hotel.

We have always wondered where the Lorraine Hotel was knowing that it was the site where the Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King was assassinated.  We found that the Hotel is now part of the National Civil Rights Museum.  While we didn’t have time to go through the museum we did walk around it and were able to see some of the outside history.  I learned that originally the Lorraine was called the Windsor Hotel back in 1925 and the plaque stated that it was one of the few hotels for blacks.  Several famous black entertainers have graced the hotel such as Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, Count Basie, B.B. King, Nat King Cole.  Walter and Loree Bailey bought the hotel in 1942 and renamed it the Lorraine.

the Lorraine Motel was where Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King was assassinated.

This hotel was the site of sad history.  It was on April 4, 1968 outside of room 306 that Dr. martin Luther King was assassinated. The boarding room across the street where the shooter was located is also now part of the museum as well.   In 1982, a local nonprofit  group saved the site from foreclosure for use as America’s first civil rights museum.

A placard explains that Dr. Martin Luther King came to Memphis because of frustration with unfair treatment and low wages for Memphis sanitation workers that went on strike.  Local clergy asked for his support and they had planned a Poor People’s Campaign “to bring attention to poverty and economic justice”.

Bringing attention to this site seems a fitting way to end Black History month remembering a man who chose peaceful ways to bring about equality, in an unjust world.