World leaders visit National Civil Rights Museum

It was 20 minutes that National Civil Rights Museum workers will never forget.

After hearing the President of the United States and the Japanese Prime Minister were headed to 450 Mulberry for a surprise visit, Museum President Dr. Benjamin Hooks got out of the dentist's seat and took a police escort to meet up with them.

"We started at the lobby, came all the way through.  We came back and Memphis City School children, both black and white, posed for pictures with the president," he said.
Dr. Hooks says the tour was swift, but detailed.

"They took some time looking at the March on Washington, listening to the speech.  They took some time looking at the burned out bus.  They looked at the Rosa Parks bus where she was arrested," he said.
Dr. Hooks says both the President and the Prime Minister were most interested about the place where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and where the shot came from.

They also wanted to hear about King Assassin James Earl Ray.  Hooks says the visit sent shockwaves through the building.  "People going through the museum felt very honored that they picked this day to go through," he said. 
While "The King" draws millions to Graceland, Hooks says a visit to Memphis is incomplete without seeing the place where Dr. King breathed his last breath.

He has also given tours to Presidents Clinton and Carter, as well as Russian President Mikael Gorbachev, and South African President Nelson Mandela.