Going Down Jericho Road
I didn't even know it - that the assassination of Martin Luther King happened in the midst of a garbage strike. It turns out that was just one of the hundreds of things I didn't know about King, his life and his plans. Going Down Jericho Road begins with the tragedy that set off the strike - in Memphis, Tennessee - the deaths of two garbage workers. Then it weaves - in painstaking detail - through the months that followed, revving up when King takes on the plight. It reaches a crescendo with King's mountaintop speech at the Mason Temple and winds to a tragic close with his assassination on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. Going Down Jericho Road created a touch point for me in the history of black Americans - a way for me to measure how far we've come since the late 1960s and how far we all still have to go.
Going Down Jericho Road delivers you right into downtown Memphis - to the plush Peabody Hotel. It takes you to the exact spot where two garbage workers were crushed inside their trucks and to the I Am a Man Plaza, dedicated to the strikers who then took up their cause. You'll swing through City Hall where you'll check out the portraits of the city's key players in the strike and to the Mason Temple where - during a thunderous rainstorm - Martin Luther King promised his people they would get to the promised land. And finally, you'll check out the Lorrain Motel - now the National Civil Rights Museum - where James Earl Ray fired the shot that silenced a great American voice.
I'm pretty sure Micheal Honey knows more about the Memphis garbage strike than any man alive. He's a history professor at the University of Washington, Tacoma, with a particular interest in the civil rights movement. He showed off all of his knowledge in Going Down Jericho Road.
This is an easy tour - it winds right around downtown Memphis. mber all but I've organized the best stops so you can trip on Strand in a quick dash or linger awhile.
Michael Honey doesn't talk about it - but I found a restaurant where Martin Luther King ate - and I think it's work checking out.
The setting of Strand is a great spot for a traveling
book club adventure.
Heceta Lighthouse Inn
Dinner and Book Discussion in Lounge
Breakfast at the Inn
Beach Combing on Mile 157
Only one hotel Michael Honey mentions in Going Down Jericho Road is still around. Luckily it's a good one.