Travel MLK50

FILE - This March 26, 2017, file photo, shows the Clayborn Temple in Memphis, Tenn. Resurrection has begun of the historic church that was the home base for the sanitation workers strike that brought civil rights leader Martin Luther King. Jr. to Memphis. It was the starting point for a March 28, 1968 march led by King in support of the workers, a rally that turned violent when police and protesters clashed. Travelers will find a variety of events and sites in Memphis and elsewhere honoring King's legacy on the 50th anniversary of his death. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

With its tall tower and multi-colored stained glass windows, this 19th century church was the headquarters for the sanitation workers strike. Men and women regularly gathered at the temple for meetings, rallies and before marching to City Hall.

Led by King, supporters of the sanitation workers assembled at the temple before embarking on his first march in Memphis, on March 28, 1968. That march turned violent: Police and protesters clashed, and several storefront windows on Beale Street were smashed. Marchers ran to the temple, seeking sanctuary. Police beat protesters outside the building, and threw tear gas inside.

The temple eventually fell into disrepair and closed, sitting empty for 25 years. In 2016, a group called Clayborn Reborn announced it was renovating the church. Work is underway and a memorial honoring the sanitation workers is under construction. The stately building sits across from the modern FedExForum, home of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies.


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