Dr. Martin Luther King was born on January 15, 1929 and assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.
In the mid-1960s The Lorraine Motel was a popular hangout for a variety of soul musicians and artists.
The Lorraine’s proprietor Walter Bailey welcomed musicians like Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Mable John, Janis Joplin and numerous songwriters and singers from Stax Records at the motel.
According to Rob Bowman’s Soulsville U.S.A., the musicians at Stax would regularly leave the studio and drink at The Lorraine, because the Stax studios did not have air conditioning.
The motel was one of the few establishments in the racially charged climate of Memphis in the early 1960’s that catered to both black and whites.
In fact Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper co-wrote songs like “Things Get Better” and “Knock On Wood” at the Lorraine Motel.
A sniper’s bullet cut Dr. King down as he stood on the balcony in front of room 306.
Singer Isaac Hayes was on his way to the Lorraine when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
“It affected me for a whole year,” Isaac Hayes said. “I could not create properly. I was so bitter and so angry. I thought, what can I do? Well, I can’t do nothing about it so let me become successful and powerful enough where I can have a voice to make a difference. So I went back to work and started writing again.”