Student-Athletes Help Thousands Celebrate Martin Luther King's Legacy
Jan. 22, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - People from all around the region and the nation flocked to the National Civil Rights Museum on Monday to celebrate the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the site of his tragic death nearly 40 years ago, as the nation prepared for the inauguration of its first African-American president, Barack Obama, on Tuesday. Several athletes from the University of Memphis athletic programs played their part in the historic day's activities, serving as greeters and guides to the nearly 9,000 visitors who trekked to the museum, which opened in 1991 at the Lorraine Motel located south of downtown Memphis.
"It was a fantastic experience to volunteer at the National Civil Rights Museum," said Memphis freshman soccer player Chris Porter. "There is so much history there, and to be able to participate in the celebration of Martin Luther King Day is a special honor, and one I will never forget."
Porter, along with eight of his men's soccer teammates and women's golfer Kathleen Glavin, spent the afternoon of Jan. 19, helping enhance the experience of visitors to the National Civil Rights Museum, while learning a little bit more about the Civil Rights movement themselves.
"The Natural Civil Right's Museum is a place that holds the history of how far African-Americans have come, and the hardships we have faced," Porter said. "It was surreal to see how busy the museum was and to see how many people really wanted to celebrate MLK day. It was just an extraordinary experience."
The day served an even greater importance for Porter, a freshman defender on the Memphis men's soccer team, who is an African-American.
"Martin Luther King Jr., paved the way for all the achievements that have happened over the years for African-Americans," Porter said. "He did things no other person would do, and he protested with non-violence, making what he did even more incredible. Without him, there most certainly would have never been an inauguration for Barack Obama."