News and Information
Tuesday July 22nd 2014
The Independent Business News Network was established in July of 2008. The goal of IBNN is to provide a different view of the local, national and global news and events that happen in the Black communities around the world. IBNN's expectations are to provide a level of coverage and investigative reporting not seen on local mainstream media, while covering Politics, Education, Money, Business, and Community events. IBNN is an affiliate of Black Politics in Minneapolis, Radical Black USA and other African American news sources. Comments, concerns and questions can be emailed to

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Shock Video: Black Conservatives Met With Hostility, Harassed At Annual NAACP Convention

By Jim Hoft (Progressives Today)

The NAACP is holding their 105th annual gathering   in Las Vegas, Nevada this week. This year’s theme? “All in for justice and equality.” And what better venue could there be for fighting against injustice and inequality then a multimillion dollar Las Vegas resort, the lavish Mandalay Bay.

 After years of rejection, black conservatives were allowed a single booth at the convention this year, but they’re still locked out of speaking at the convention.

As minimal and restricted as their presence is at the NAACP event, black conservatives are still met with open hostility by NAACP faithful because they fail to toe the Progressive line. Yesterday, conservatives Deneen Borelli, director of outreach at FreedomWorks, CL Bryant, a fellow at FreedomWorks, were harassed in the convention hall just because they are conservatives.

This was an awful display of intolerance by a group that claims to fight for inclusion and tolerance in society.

Is radio station KMOJ-FM promoting DFL politics on the air?

The simple answer is yes. In a meeting over the weekend with the “Minnesota Institute of Research and Disparities of Black Minnesotans” it was very difficult for the group to pinpoint the CCD/KMOJ-FM board of directors. But now, after several months of covert operations, we come to find out, KMOJ-FM does not really have an external group of board members running the radio station.

By Don Allen, Founder IBNN NEWS

Local black radio station, owned by the people, not the general manager seems to be stuck promoting a DFL platform, violent rap music and news that is not relevant. (photo: CCD/KMOJ-FM in the public domain, fair use.)

Local black radio station, owned by the people, not the general manager seems to be stuck promoting a DFL platform, violent rap music and news that is not relevant. (photo: CCD/KMOJ-FM in the public domain, fair use.)

Minneapolis, Minn. – For the better part of six months I have listened to a show hosted by the Community Standard Initiative founder Alfred Flowers. For six months I have listened to community members and politicians from the DFL side of the isle on KMOJ. There is never any real voter education; there is never an message of Conservative, Green, Independent party politics.. The show broadcast on Sunday, July 20, took the cake for promoting one political agenda over another on a public radio station.

Obviously, news programs and news interview programs, like “Meet the Press” or “Face the Nation,” are bona fide news interview programs. The FCC administers political programming rules for radio, television, cable television and direct broadcast satellite. These rules address whether equal opportunities for political opponents are warranted, candidate access issues, what candidates can be charged for political advertising, and sponsorship identification. The FCC also operates a database that allows the public to determine whether a communication sent via a broadcast station; cable system and/or satellite system can reach 50,000 or more people in a particular congressional district or state.

Unfortunately, we cannot locate the KMOJ-FM podcast from any of the programs in the last six-months. These “missing podcasts” have been a source of concern for those monitoring KMOJ-FM for their compliance with nonprofit, public radio rules and regulations as determined by the governing body of the FCC. There is one private person in Minnesota that has been recording KMOJ-FM programs for over a year. As we move closer to filing our complaint with the FCC regarding KMOJ-FM, we will still give the station management a chance to “come clean” on informing the community on their ongoing means.

It is time to take a closer look at KMOJ-FM and ask some very serious questions on rather or not the station is the people’s station or being used a left-leaning information distributing hub. If community members do not get information on current events and serious disparities, KMOJ-FM has failed its listeners and the original incorporation as the Center for Communications and Development.


How hate groups grew once Obama was elected President


President Obama (photo: Fair Use)

President Obama (photo: Fair Use)

By April V. Taylor from Kulture Kritic

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz recently reviewed profiles on, the most popular hate site in America, and organized data about the sites users.  The site was started by former Ku Klux Klan leader Don Black, and Quantcast reports that between 200,000 and 400,000 Americans visit the site on a monthly basis.  The Southern Poverty Law Center was able to link almost 100 murders committed in the last five years to members of the website.

One of the shocking findings recently reported in the New York Times is that most of the sites users are young, with the most common age of users when they join the site being 19-years-old.  The users on the site are generally much younger than other social network users with 19-year-olds being four times more likely to join than 40-year-olds.  Stephens-Davidowitz was also able to estimate that around 30 percent of users are female with Montana, Alaska, and Idaho having the highest members per capita.

As Stephens-Davidowitz reviews what the data reveals about why people join hate groups, he found that the percentage of the site’s target audience that joins the site is higher in geographic regions that have more minorities.  For example, in California, which has one of the largest minority populations, the membership rate for the site is 25 percent higher than the national average.

Another thing Stephens-Davidowitz uncovered is that the day after Barack Obama was elected, the site experienced the biggest single increase in membership in the sites history.  He also found that economic conditions did not correlate to higher or lower numbers of users and that users of the site tend to be more educated than the average American.

Stephens-Davidowitz was hoping that reviewing an unprecedented amount data would give him some insight into why people join hate groups and/or sites, but his answer to the questions of, “Why do some people feel this way? And what is to be done about it?,” he simple answers,, “I have no idea.”


Hennepin County Commissioners need to represent (and look) like the communities they serve

Hennepin County Commissioner Randy "No Call Back" Johnson.

Hennepin County Commissioner Randy “No Call Back” Johnson.

The Minnesota Institute of Research and Disparities of Black Minnesotans (MIRDBM), a think tank of African American academics has launched a campaign asking the public to call down to Commissioner Randy Johnson’s office to inquire on why neither he, nor his office has connected with New Perspectives Behavioral Health Systems. Email Commissioner Johnson at, or call his office: 612-348-7885. Facebook Event

By Don Allen for

Hennepin County, Minn.…We (the black community) have a serious challenge with members of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners. First of all, Hennepin County has approximately 1.2 million residents, which represents 22 percent of Minnesota and Approximately 41 percent of the metro area. Why hasn’t the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners ever reflected or represented the many unique cultures of Hennepin County’s population? Hennepin County residents must decide to make the board of commissioner representative of the various diverse communities of Hennepin County – the current slice of white bread is not getting the job done.

Founder of New Perspectives Mr. John Woods said, “This is a shame. I run a business that helps people put their life’s back together. Hennepin County has hurt my business because they will not do their job when it comes to approvals for clients to use my programming. I think they are trying to put me out of business.” Woods is upset because over a month ago, he and his staff mailed a letter to Hennepin County commissioner Randy Johnson. Commissioner Johnson is Woods representative in district 5. Woods thought Johnson would understand that a business in his district needed assistance within the authority of the Hennepin County commissioners – but in this case, Johnson has not called, emailed or stopped by in person…of course its not an election year for him.

Recently, a for profit business in Richfield, Minn. – New Perspectives Behavioral Health Systems submitted a petition with over 1000 names requesting that Hennepin County commissioners investigate, correct and remedy the skewed process of how 1800 Chicago is allegedly approving and referring African Americans to Park Avenue for chemical dependency treatment at a rate of 300 to 4.

A little about Commissioner Randy Johnson: he serves the residents of Hennepin County’s 5th District, which covers the southernmost part of the county. This includes Bloomington, southern Eden Prairie, Richfield, and a small portion of Chanhassen. Bloomington and Eden Prairie share a border with the scenic Minnesota River, and Richfield is adjacent to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and historic Fort Snelling. First elected in November 1978, Commissioner Johnson took office in January 1979. He is the longest-serving commissioner since the county’s founding in 1852.

Commissioner Johnson’s obvious dismissal of Woods correspondence is not only disrespectful but also shows the immediate need to remove and replace the commissioners so people that represent Hennepin County also look like who they represent.

 160 years without change is insanity.


Target Employee Loses Job After Snitching On Police Officer For Shoplifting

Originally Reported  July 13, 2014 - by Kacie Whaley of Black Like Moi - posted by IBNN

It's black Friday - but not that kind of black Friday. (photo: The Guardian - Fair Use).

It’s black Friday – but not that kind of black Friday. (photo: The Guardian – Fair Use).

A Virginia man who was fired from Target on May 29th for catching a law enforcement official shoplifting is seeking legal action, as reposted by Washington Post.

Twenty-nine-year-old Dallas Northington had been working in loss prevention for eight years at a Target in Leesburg, Virginia.  On May 16th, Northington said his supervisor told him that he saw a man put a tube of toothpaste into his bag after paying for other items.  Northington claimed the supervisor told him he did not want to confront the man and that he thought he may be “some sort of law enforcement.”

According to Northington, the store manager was notified of the incident and said that he knew the man in the shoplifting video.  He said he and the man had participated in an NCAA March Madness pool together.  But the staff decided to wait until the man returned to take action, as they often did.

The man returned on May 27th and stole more items.  Northington said a video shows the man with a cart full of items, but he only pays for half of his things, and leaves the rest in the cart and out of the cashier’s sight.  After checking out, the man allegedly stuffs the unpaid items in the bags with the paid items and exits the store.

Northington was notified about the incident through his supervisor, who again, said he did not feel comfortable confronting the man, according to Northington.  So Northington went to the Leesburg police station to file a report.  It is unclear how, but Northington’s supervisor knew the full name of the man suspected of shoplifting, so Northington was able to provide police with the man’s name.  A sergeant from the department went to the Target and viewed the tape.  Northington said he heard the sergeant say “I know who that is” and that the situation was “pretty serious” because the man was a law enforcement official.

Northington said that three days later, he was called into the store’s personnel office and told that he would be suspended for two days.  The next week, he was terminated.  The store said they fired Northington for violating procedures that included seeking approval and filling out paperwork before contacting police and showing them footage of the incident.

“In my eight years, I’ve never had to call anyone to give out the video or call police,” said Northington.  “I have never seen any policy about contacting law enforcement.”

A few days after the last shoplifting incident was caught on tape, a Fairfax County sheriff’s deputy, who is believed to be the man in the footage, retired from his position.

Fired from Target Stores for doing his job. (photo: Black Like Moi-Fair Use)

Fired from Target Stores for doing his job. (photo: Black Like Moi-Fair Use)

Northington said that as a married man with two children and one on the way, he wants answers as to why he is now unemployed.  “I’m confused and don’t understand why,” he said.  “I’ve been there for eight years, no issues.  I’m just trying to provide for my family, and I just really want to get back to work.”

Molly Snyder, a Target spokesperson, released a statement about the Northington case, saying “we have conducted a full investigation and don’t believe there is any merit to this individual’s claims.”

Northington’s attorney, Declan Leonard, said that his client “intends to fight Target on this for as long as it takes.”

Although Northington said that the video clearly captured the shoplifter’s face, Leesburg police said they are still trying to confirm the man’s identity, so no one has yet been charged in the crime.


10 Points of Light: Coloplast fine proves the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights has never enforced compliance in any sense of the word

What was the deal between the city of Minneapolis and Coloplast. Why do they sit there quietly with the Minneapolis Urban League and Jerry's NAACP and nobody has said a word?

What was the deal between the city of Minneapolis and Coloplast. Why do they sit there quietly right down the street from the Minneapolis Urban League and Jerry’s NAACP and nobody has said a word? (Again, the silence kills us)

Star Tribune veteran journalist Steve Brandt posted an article about Coloplast, “Danish firm to pay Minneapolis $600,000 for missing jobs target.” The missing parts of Brandt’s one-sided story fail to mention or look at the systemic and continued failure of Minneapolis’ Civil Rights Department and their inability to preform the duties set fourth in the City of Minneapolis Ordinances. IBNN has taken the story and pinpoints some troubling facts. What’s needed now with Coloplast is a Community Benefits Agreement.

By Don Allen, Founder – IBNN NEWS

Minneapolis, Minn. – 1. After Coloplast bought the company that owned the property, it built a new $39 million facility on West River Road N. The city provided a $2.94 million subsidy through tax-increment financing, allowing the company to divert much of its property-tax payments to paying off eligible development expenses. (Suckers!)

2. City officials such as Council President Barbara Johnson expressed confidence two years ago that the firm’s hiring would rebound. But now Johnson said that the city’s goals in general might be too ambitious because employers report they’re having trouble-finding workers. (Can someone call Summit Academy’s Louis King ask what and who they are training and what for?)

3. A multinational medical products company is being penalized $600,000 because it didn’t live up to the plan.  It has since added five employees and said it plans to add 20 more by early 2015. But it has just half the 500 jobs that former Mayor R.T. Rybak boasted in a 2009 speech the facility would bring to the site. (Mayor R.T. Rybak knew Coloplast would never meet their goal, nor did he or the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights monitor or enforce.)

4. Nearly $3 million in tax relief from Minneapolis. (Why? You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.)

5. The Danish firm fell well short of goals for total jobs, as well as specific targets for hiring city residents, and those from the North Side. The firm had seven and one-half years to meet the goals from the time it got city assistance to locate on the upper Mississippi riverfront in 2007. (You cannot hire people from a poor community when your culture (Danish) rejects and minimizes the black body).

6. Coloplast was supposed to employ 338 people under the city’s targets, including 100 city residents, 30 from the North Side. It now employs only 59 city residents and 13 from the North Side. (This is the same ole story played out whenever a good faith effort fails. Unfortunately, there was little to no “effort.”)

7. $2 billion in worldwide revenue, but told public officials that it was sending jobs to China, Hungary and Denmark. (Anything to not hire those folks in north Minneapolis who need jobs, especially the Negros.)

8. Coloplast said through a spokeswoman that it would have preferred to grow as it planned, but was taking steps to notify the city “to proactively discuss the penalty.” However, the city did not formally contact Coloplast to ask for an accounting of jobs until nearly two months after a preliminary deadline last year. (My point: the Minneapolis of Civil Rights did not track nor monitor to advise Coloplast on corrective actions.)

9. The penalty amounts to $25,000 for every job below the unmet targets, with a cap of $600,000. (A cap? Oh, we the city of Minneapolis and its liberal generosity does not want to offend a company with $2 billion in worldwide revenue.)

10. The company’s workforce in Minneapolis actually fell from 381 workers when the headquarters project began to 256 reported by its deadline earlier this year. (When in doubt, cry poverty.)

Has President Obama Failed?

If Hilary Clinton wins in 2016, the racists will become sexists

By Don Allen, Founder – IBNN NEWS

We must not let politicians of any color lull us into complacency, or into accepting broken promises and inaction with empty messages of hope and change.

We must not let politicians of any color lull us into complacency, or into accepting broken promises and inaction with empty messages of hope and change.

Washington, DC. – As a card caring member of the Republican Party, I have to honestly say, President Obama has not really failed. There are powers greater than him that still follow the political white-patriarchal system of checks and balances that he cannot interfere with. (One of them would be talking to Black Americans directly.)

Barack Obama won the votes of a majority of Americans. The re-election of the first black president has made the history books and water cooler conversations. And now is the time for black Americans to ask how we fit into the ephemeral vision called the American Dream.

Black president or not, those of us who look like this president continue to face issues of race and class injustice on a daily and intergenerational basis.

However much we may like him personally, it is a fact that President Obama failed to address the plight of black America during his first four years in office. Unemployment, wealth gaps, and the achievement gap are but a few disparities President Obama has not publically addressed for Black Americans. This is evident by many Black churches organizing against the president because of his views on same-sex marriage and no attention paid to the many overwhelming disparities of Black America.

Many of us that fight for justice daily realize that this fight is sometimes against some of our own people — those in positions of power and influence who have convinced themselves that the poor, unemployed or homeless among us are members of a caste not worth dealing with, and who refuse to recognize and to fight against what Alexander calls “the new Jim Crow.”

A great example would be the large number of nonprofits in north Minneapolis who continue to benefit from perpetual funding streams while north Minneapolis and it’s people having disparities that have grown exponentially without any hope in sight. The current president is a man of great acumen and tremendous problem-solving skills. And we must not let politicians of any color lull us into complacency, or into accepting broken promises and inaction with empty messages of hope and change.

Many significant objectives for our communities are on the line with the broader goals espoused by President Obama: creating jobs, stimulating economic development and improving public education. But there are also a host of other issues, such as bringing an end to the oppressive system of mass incarceration, eliminating discrimination in housing and employment, and addressing the problem of severely underfunded urban schools that hit black Americans particularly hard. Ninety-three percent of us voted on Election Day to send Barack Obama back to the White House. Let us make sure from here forward that our voices are heard, and that neither he, nor any other politician, takes our votes for granted.

America’s first black president is almost done; black Americans have been “done” for many years.

Just my two cents…

Part 1: Is Emerge Community Development putting black families out on the streets?

IBNN will give Emerge the opportunity to respond to this post.

By Don Allen, Founder – IBNN

Minneapolis, Minn. – Emerge Community Development, mandatory meetings may be keeping black families homeless. Sources contacting IBNN NEWS reported that a whole family could be out on the street because of some bureaucratic policies. We need to take a close look at Emerge and what they are doing with black families that could become homeless while in the Emerge program.

Below a letter sent to IBNN NEWS threatening a family because the father missed a “mandatory meeting” because he was on the job. If we encourage black men to work, why is it when they find success, someone is waiting around the corner to “gun them down?”

Letter provided by a concerned community member.

Letter provided by a concerned community member.



The Independent Business News Network – News for Black People (and friends)

You cannot argue with facts. IBNN NEW has grown to be the largest online black owned and operated news outlet in the Twin Cities.

by Don Allen, Founder – IBNN

Investigative reporting, outreach and information distribution; IBNN NEWS.

Investigative reporting, outreach and information distribution; IBNN NEWS.

Minneapolis, Minn.  – In July 2008 I was shocked at the amount of in-depth news and information that was not reported on local mainstream media outlets. This began a personal adventure to pursue and develop an online information distribution outlet that would provide interesting points of view on what was happening inside of the black community. Many people were upset; putting information, or what some called dirty laundry into the streets was not what the black community needed. But after six years, over 100,000 stories and 250,000 subscribers worldwide, IBNN NEWS delivers important news and information to a wide range of people from many walks of life.

Of course this adventure had its setbacks. There are members of the black community in the Twin Cities who receive thousands of dollars every year for outreach and community engagement. Their antiquated way of information distribution as seen no results and the marginalization of IBNN and myself has only made my many platforms stronger and very popular for those seeking truth in reporting.

Today, along with IBNN NEWS, the Network has a BlogTalkRadio program with another news outlet, Black Politics in Minneapolis and we have won prestigious academic awards for journalism and communications.

Along with Mr. Ronald A. Edwards (The Minneapolis Story), we provide a well-rounded coverage of news and information locally and nationally.

My Pilgrimage to the National Civil Rights Museum: The Lorraine Motel – Memphis, Tennessee

 John F. Kennedy said, “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You.” Which becomes problematic from several points of view. If we do not ask, as suggested by JFK, we end up with what we have now…nothing. 

Donald Allen, Founder -IBNN NEWS. "The hard questions never come from the easy people." ~ D. Allen (photo: IBNN NEWS)

Donald Allen, Founder -IBNN NEWS. “The hard questions never come from the easy people.” ~ D. Allen (photo: IBNN NEWS)

By Donald Allen, Founder – IBNN NEWS

I consider myself somewhat of a civil rights activist in the early 90’s. I felt that my upcoming visit to the Lorraine Motel, now the National Civil Rights Museum, would be my pilgrimage to what I considered my Mecca.”

1992 had been a good year. I had had stories published in two Minneapolis newspapers as well as other work published in Denver, where I used to live. I was always very critical of the way the mainstream media presented the civil rights struggle and the plight of Black Americans in the United States. At the same time, I was critical of the Black community itself. While it was not a popular view, I believed firmly that a significant number of the problems faced by those in the black community were exacerbated by privileged members of the Black middle class more concerned with personal enrichment than with carrying out the work of Dr. King.

Every year, the Church of God in Christ, a historically African-American denomination, holds its Annual Convention in Memphis, Tennessee. Delegates from over 90 churches attend the five-day conference, which will includes day sessions and evening worship services. One of the most important tasks of the delegates is to discuss the state of the church, and the welfare of black people. In my impression, the COGIC church believes that, “The Black American is still being written a blank check marked insufficient funds,” to quote Dr. King from his 1963 “I Have a Dream,” speech. And I agree with this point of view today.

In 1992, I was one of the thousands of young adults who went from Minneapolis to Memphis, but not to sit around in the church and listen to elders complain about every dime they lost earlier in the year, my mission was clear – it was to trace the steps of Dr. Martin Luther King in his final days at the Lorraine Motel, which is now the National Civil Rights Museum on Mulberry Avenue in downtown Memphis.

My day started like any other day when I was out of town. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. – went outside the hotel, smoked a cigarette, drank some coffee, and went back to have a hearty breakfast. Today was going to be a great day; it was my personal best to further my understanding on what Dr. Martin Luther King went through during his social movement for civil rights.

Before moving further on my personal experience visiting the National Civil Rights Museum, which originally was the Windsor-Lorraine Motel, there is a vast history that must be told.

In the days of legal segregation, the Windsor-Lorraine was one of the few hotels in Memphis open to Black guests. The Windsor Hotel, at the corner of Mulberry Street and Huling Avenue near downtown Memphis, opened in the 1920s. Walter and Loree Bailey purchased the Windsor in 1942 and re-named it the Lorraine Hotel. Its location, walking distance from Beale Street, the main street of Memphis’ Black community, made it attractive to visiting celebrities. When Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, or Nat “King” Cole, came to town, they stayed at the Lorraine. Lorraine became an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement. It is now the home of the National Civil Rights Museum (Sanders 2006).

The story of the opening of the Lorraine Motel and how is became the National Civil Rights Museum goes like this: “In 1991, the Lorraine Motel—infamous site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination—reopened to the public under a refurbished name and identity: the National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM). The National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM) in Memphis, Tennessee, preserves what is arguably the most sacred site in the history of the American civil rights movement: the balcony of the former Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot to death allegedly by James Earl Ray. Although the movement continued after King’s assassination, April 4, 1968, marked a day of infamy for African Americans, the city of Memphis, and American history in general. Soon after the tragedy, people from around the world made pilgrimages to the balcony to honor the man who sacrificed his life on behalf of African American civil rights. “It seems the connection to King at the place of his death provided a sense of closure and comfort that could not be attained elsewhere” (Armada, B. J. 2012, p. 897).

In the Lorraine Motel heyday, it was the place local “upper crust” Blacks mingles and socialized within the Black culture in a relaxed atmosphere, free from the struggles just outside the doors.

My journey to the Lorraine Motel started with a cab ride from the Marriott Hotel out on highway 240, heading east into downtown Memphis. On the way I told the cab driver this trip to the museum was my salute to MLK and the civil rights movement. The cab driver called himself Fasil. He was an immigrant from Ghana, Africa who made it to the United States wanting to live the American Dream twelve years ago. Fasil wasn’t happy driving a cab – but in his words, “It pays the bills.” As we moved closer to downtown Memphis, I asked Fasil about the museum. He was use to tourist wanting more information about the museum. Fasil knew the museums history in detail. The knowledgeable cabbie spouted off a few facts that are on most tourist information guides back in the hotel where I was staying.

Fasil said, “Originally the museum was named the Windsor Hotel in 1925. It was renamed Marquette Hotel in 1945 and offered up for sale and purchased by Mr. Walter Bailey in 1945 and renamed the Lorraine, after his wife Loree and a song titled “Sweet Lorraine.” At the time of purchase the Lorraine included a café and living quarters for the owners. The Baileys added a two-story concrete block motel structure to the east of the hotel in 1955.” Needless to say, I was impressed with Fasil’s detailed knowledge of the history of the motel.

As we made the turn onto northbound highway 240 (highway 240 is like highway 494 in Minnesota – the highway circles the fringe suburbs and city), I looked to the west and saw the “Mighty Mississippi” river, which is the dividing point between Tennessee and Arkansas.

We exited the highway on Union Avenue and headed down Union to 2nd Avenue toward Mulberry Street, to the sight of my pilgrimage to civil rights. Driving pass Beale Street and seeing BB King’s bar, my excitement grew. There were people everywhere on Beale Street, shopping, drinking beer and looking like a good time was waiting in downtown Memphis.

The cab made a sharp right after a couple of blocks and pulled over. Fasil turned to me in the back seat and said, “Welcome to the Lorraine Motel.” I replied, “Are we there?” Fasil looked at me with a question mark on his face. I returned the look.

This wasn’t the like the area we just passed at Beale Street. Where are all the people? This neighborhood is rundown, I see several, what I allege to be gang bangers in white t-shirts loitering up and down the street and what looks like a mattress with someone sleeping on it right across from the motel.

This can’t be the place of the Lorraine Motel, the infamous site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, reopened to the public as the National Civil Rights Museum. I didn’t want to get out of the cab; my second thought is why I didn’t bring anyone else with me. This is looking more like a dangerous Black neighborhood than a celebrated historical site saluting civil rights and memory of Dr. King.

The cab dropped me off about 100-feet from the lobby door. In navigating to the front doors, I had to pass a group of Black youth, that I figured were up to no good, a couple of women who looked to me like they would do anything for $20 bucks, and an older Black man, who looked to be in his late 60’s tipping his hat to most of the White tourists heading to the front door of the museum and asking for a “little help” because he was down on his luck.

Damn…my expectations certainly clashed with reality on this one.

One thing I’ve learned in my lifetime is to not make eye contact with possible trouble – oops, to late. One of the Black youth in the white t-shirts approached me and asked, “Are you the police?” “No,” I replied. The junior gangster asked again, “Are you sure you’re not the police?” I looked trouble right in the eye and said, “No, I’m not affiliated with any law enforcement agencies.” It was not my duty to tell this snot nosed asshole where I was from, and that I was more nervous than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs – why was I on his turf anyway? Wait a minute; this should not be his turf.

I became angrier about the situation with each passing minute. The kid finally let me pass while shouting out, “I got that dro,” slang for sticky-bud or hydroponically grown marijuana. To make matters worse, I am not at the front door yet, and there are two hookers and a 60-year old man still in line for the “sidewalk greeting”…Oh shit!

My anxiety was at an all-time high. Here come the hookers. “You aren’t from ‘hur’ are you? You very handsome, you not undercover?”

What the hell! I told the hookers I was undercover and they should move along because I was meeting my partner in the lobby of the museum and he wasn’t forgiving as I was. This was the quickest idea I could come up with to get rid of the two women – and it worked. Now my final sidewalk greeting before making it to the front door of the Lorraine Motel was the old man.

He wasn’t threatening at all like the junior gangsters in the white t-shirts. He greeted me with a “Hello Sir, can I be of some assistance in telling you the history of the Lorraine Motel as I remember it back in the day?”

I looked around from where I was standing to check my safety – I’ve heard of these kinds of setups, when an old man gives you some information and you reach in your pocket to get a tip out and a band of thugs rush you for your wallet. That was not going to happen to me today.

The old man, “Daddy K,” was 82 years old, born in 1920 on a plantation right outside of Clarksdale, Mississippi. He was the oldest of 9 brothers and sisters. He had some children, but had no idea where they were. He’d been on the street for most of his life after he losing his job shortly after Dr. King came to Memphis to draw attention to the plight of the striking sanitation workers.   “After Dr. King came,” Daddy K said, “that was the end for a lot of us.” He knew more about the Lorraine Motel, now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum than was written in any hotel tourist pamphlet. I suggested to him to let me pay his way into the museum and he would be my private guide and we could get something to eat afterwards. Daddy K took me up on my offer, saying, “I’ve been in there hundreds of times. I even used to stay at the hotel when it was open.” We headed into a lobby filled with photos of the 1960’s civil rights icons- Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Abernathy, Julian Bond and the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – forever immortalized at the place where he was shot down 24-years prior to my visit. I have to say, that was one of the most humbling experiences in my life to that point.

I paid the $12 dollar admission fee for both of us and started to wander around the museum. My first stop was to look at the room Dr. King and his advisors stayed in. The Lorraine Motel was now a museum – a civil rights museum. The lifelike mannequins dotted the old hotel in the attempt to bring back the era, struggles and times of the 1960’s. It was strange as I thought, just outside, less then 10-minutes ago, the world didn’t seem to respect this monument to a struggle of a people. It was almost as if, the museum and Dr. King didn’t exist.

As my tour guide and I got familiar and closer to each other, I could tell that “DK” had had a very hard life. He would have never survived a Minnesota winter. He smelled of gin and cigarettes with a horrid mustiness that could have attracted flies. Other than that, Daddy K was solid. We went to the room where MLK spent the night before his assassination. Room 306 was partitioned off with a glass wall. In it you could see in the room, left as it was on that tragic day of April 4, 1968.

My tour guide, Daddy K told me the good Reverend (King), and the owners were good friends. He also startled me when he spoke about the many celebrities including movie stars and singers that had stayed at the Lorraine when they came to Memphis.

“The word on the street was that if Dr. King or gentleman from the NAACP showed up, prostitutes would line the street vying to be picked to service the civil rights movement leaders,” said Daddy K, who later also admitted he was a “runner” for the heroin addicts who stayed at the hotel.

The FBI sealed the file with these alleged recordings of Dr. King for 50-years, not available to the general public until 2027. Random bloggers have reported on a leak in the sixties that said, “There FBI bugs reportedly picked up 14 hours of party chatter, the clinking of glasses and the sounds of illicit sex–including King’s cries of “I’m f–ing for God” and “I’m not a Negro tonight!”(Hunt, 2012).

Without actually hearing the recordings, I’m still a little troubled about their existence.

With disbelief, I continued to view the room King slept in before the night of his fatal killing. There was a box of chicken wings – just the bones on a plate with a soft drink of some kind. The Lorraine Motel’s kitchen didn’t stay open very late and sometimes the civil rights leader and his entourage would order take-out from a small diner down the street. The curators of hotel made the room to look like there had been a meeting, with a few people – the ashtrays were filled with half-smoked cigarettes and butts. Toothpicks on the table – used, and the bed unmade – like someone had just let for the day and it was the job of hotel housekeeping to clean up. This was a dark area in my mind, thinking what would happen to King the next day outside of room 306.

I got to the point where everything around me was gone. I had time traveled back to the night before King’s assassination. What if I could warn Dr. King’s of the imminent danger to his life tomorrow? There I was, stuck in the playground of my mind imaging what America would be like if Dr. King would have avoided that fatal day.

The prostitute thing still weighed heavy on my mind. How could a man with such moral virtue and character do this? I tuned to my tour guide and said, “You’re bullshitting about the hooker thing, aren’t you?” Daddy K assured me that a whole underground culture in Memphis knew about this and protected Dr. King – but made sure he had everything he needed in Memphis.

My two-hour visit to the Lorraine Motel, the site of the National Civil Rights Museum had been the most stressful day in my life.

My pilgrimage to civil rights had turned into a reality about people and the flesh.

I waited inside for a taxi to take me to Beale Street and B.B. King’s nightclub so I could drown my crappy day in a Glenlivet scotch and a tall Stella beer. In back of the cab, I thought, “This is not how my day was supposed to be. My visit to the death place of Dr. Martin Luther King was to be a spiritual awakening for the civil rights activist in me – not make me hate everything I stood for and believed.”

Was this the message I needed from my visit? Is time for me to give up? Confusion and anger filled every inch of my being. For a moment, I thought about what King said, and what would happen if I did not speak up: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” (King, 1963). My people matter, the world matters. The people outside on the street near the Lorraine Motel matter. The world needs more men and women like Dr. Martin Luther King. We suffer today because Dr. King suffered the ultimate price – his life.


Works Cited

Armada, B. J. (May 2012). Place Politics: Material Transformation and Community

Identity at the National Civil Rights Museum. Journal of Black Studies,

40(5), 897-914. doi: 10.1177/0021934708321848


Hunt, E. The Holocaust Denier (January 2012). FBI Recordings of Martin Luther

King Beating White Hookers During Sex – Ordered Sealed for Fifty

Years. Retrieved September 29, 2012.



King, Jr., M. L. (1963, August 28). Martin Luther King’s Speech: “I have a dream.”

Retrieved September 29, 2012, from



Sanders, T. (2006, January 20). “The story of the lorraine motel in memphis.” Retrieved

September 29, 2012.



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