Meet Jacqueline Smith. I met her on a trip to MS.
Her website is here:
Jackie is protesting the National Civil Rights Museum. She believes that Dr. King would not approve of the Museum, because it’s not doing anything to help poor people. After talking to Jackie for about an hour, I think she makes plenty of good points.
The backstory according to Jackie is this. In 1988, a group bought the Lorraine Motel with the idea to turn it into a Museum dedicated to Dr. King. But Jackie says a major donor to the Museum, J.R. Pitt Hyde, who formed the AutoZone Corporation, is funding the Museum to divert attention from Equal Opportunity charges.
I looked up the story here, it checks out. Scroll down to the last paragraph.
Jacquie says 27 million is being spent to renovate the Museum. She feels that money should be spent to build a job training center or a college. She’s well spoken, knows her stuff.
Jackie pointed out the James Earl Ray was proven not to be the shooter of Dr. King in 1999. Yet the Museum makes a big deal out of showing the rifle Ray allegedly fired (true), has gone to great extent to restore the room Ray stayed in and the window he fired the fateful shot from (true). According to the Wiki, the King family believes Ray had nothing to do with killing Dr. King.
She’s right. A big part of the King room on the 2nd floor of the Museum is dedicated to Ray. Here’s 6 pics of Ray’s car, the bedroom where Ray stayed, the bathroom he supposedly fired the shot from, the window — which is a direct line of sight to the balcony of room 306 where Dr. King was shot, and the rifle.
So if Ray didn’t shoot King, why go to all the expense? Jackie calls the Museum the “James Earl Ray Exhibit and Memorial”.
The more I talked to Jackie, the more I agreed with her. Full disclosure. I visited the Museum. I bought some t-shirts and a stocking cap. Like I say, I do agree with most of what Jackie has to say. But I also believe the Museum is serving some good. 50,000 children have toured it since it opened. Now 50,000 kids have been exposed to racism, what it means. That’s a really good thing.
There’s legitimate arguments against what Jackie is doing. For example she had no problem asking me “to help her out”, which I obliged. She was emphatic that “she pays her taxes”, but that fell on deaf ears — she didn’t make any attempt to document the cash I gave her. So Jackie is definitely guilty of the same thing she’s protesting — making money off of Dr. King’s death. I haven’t done any research, for all I know she’s living well. But my guess is that whatever donations she accepts are barely enough to cover room and board. I think she’s sincere.
I encourage you to read Jackie’s website. Let me know what you think. Here’s a few links about Jackie: