Balcony opens to visitors at National Civil Rights Museum

Balcony opens to visitors at National Civil Rights Museum

(WMC-TV) – Visitors at the National Civil Rights Museum got a rare opportunity Monday when they were allowed to stand in the exact same place that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot.

Ronald Ford and his family traveled from Fairbanks, Alaska and were the first guests to stand on the museum's famous balcony.

"I'm just honored to be here. This is a once in a lifetime situation," said Ford.

Museum officials made the outside balcony where Dr. King was shot open to the public because the inside of the facility is closed for renovations.

Visitors can now get an up close view of room 306.

It is where Dr. King was staying just minutes before he was struck by an assassin's bullet.

"I'm happy my kids can see this because not only is it Memphis history, it's our history, it's the world's history," said Enid McCloud-Ford.

Museum officials say up until now, only their freedom award honorees and other very special individuals had been able to stand on the balcony. But now, everyone will get the chance to see from Dr. King's point of view.

That view includes an eerie look across the street to the boarding house window, where the deadly shot was fired.

"We hope that people will come away with a more intense feeling of what the civil rights movement was about and the sacrifices that were made not just by Dr. King, but by many others and they will tell that story to their children and that legacy will continue," said Connie Dyson, National Civil Rights Museum.

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