The Duck Tour guide didn’t mention this woman. When someone on our tour asked what the story was with the woman on the corner. Our tour guide said he would get back to that in a moment. As far as I can remember he never did. If not for the other passenger making mention of her. I honestly wouldn’t have noticed. I’m still wondering why our tour guide would ignore this part of the National Civil Rights Museum history. Maybe it is because he knows without this tourist destination and many others he would be without a job. Because no matter what the historical significance of the National Civil Rights Museum is for many people. In the end like many things that relate to our history. This national landmark is in fact a tourist destination. It brings in visitors and their money. Maybe this is why our tour guide chose to ignore the message of protestor Jacqueline Smith. Or maybe it is just because the guide doesn’t agree with her message or politics.
I made sure when we went back to the National Civil Rights Museum later that day. That I would locate this woman and see why she was protesting. The National Civil Rights Museum is a fairly quick drive from the Beale Street tourist destinations in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. You will find Jacqueline Smith sitting at the corner of Butler and Mulberry Street. I find it sort of odd how many things take place on streets with the Mulberry name. The protest location is right next to the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. A parking lot and what looks like condos share the other parts of the corner. As many of you are aware this motel has been turned into the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. What you may not be aware of is the back story and feelings some people have in regards to this museum.
I’ll be honest I didn’t take the time to talk with protestor Jacqueline Smith. I really didn’t have much time to explore the area or to engage in a long conversation. The whole time I was in Memphis I was on a very tight schedule to get as much done as possible in a short time. We had dinner obligations that had to be met every evening. My point in mentioning this is that I wasn’t able to form an opinion on Jacqueline Smith’s views. I don’t know if I would have walked away thinking she was crazy or if I would have fully agreed with her opinion. What I do believe in is her right to stay on that corner as long as she wishes to express the opinion she believes in. As long as she does so peacefully.
I’m sure a few people wondered who the crazy white guy was taking all the pictures. I was in a hurry but did my best to be respectful of my surroundings. Although I did get an odd glance from at least one person. Since I was on a tight time schedule I did not enter the National Civil Rights Museum. This is something I honestly wish I had time to do that day. But I would have had to give up one other stop and making our dinner engagement.
Since I didn’t take the time to speak with Jacqueline Smith that day. I’ve searched out a website that explained her views. I didn’t see a website address on any of the protest signs. Maybe I just missed them. The day I visited marked 19 years and 127 days of protest. Many people would probably say one of two things. This is someone dedicated in their beliefs. Or that this person is just plain crazy. Others might think it was a little bit of both. I’ll link a few sites below for you to read and you can make up your own mind on all of that.
Who is Jacqueline Smith Fulfill The Dream
And To Think That I Saw It On Mullberry Street The Memphis Flyer
Goner Memphis TN tips Goner Records
Jacqueline Smith on Flickr – Photo Sharing
The Story of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis – Associated Content
Looking at my picture zoomed in. I now clearly see that in fact a website URL was included on at least one banner. Click the picture above to gain a full sized view.
Get On The Bus 2002 University of Michigan