Martin Luther King Jr: A Dream Deferred to a Nightmare

Martin Luther King, Jr: A Dream Deferred to a Nightmare

Ryan M. Jones, historian and Museum Educator at the National Civil Rights Museum – the site of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination – presents on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement.


This Zoom / Facebook Live was recorded on January 21st, 2021. Q&A with Participants included at the end.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most prolific and honorable leaders for all time. He is also one of the most complex. In August 1963, Dr. King was at the height of his popularity with his fight to end racial discrimination in the United States during the Civil Rights Movement. His “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most celebrated orations in American history. However, Dr. King himself evolved as a leader. His relationships with J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, the militant Black Power movement, his commitment to fighting the war on poverty and his stance on the Vietnam War all pose the question: did Dr. King’s dream result in a nightmare? 

Ryan M. Jones is the Museum Educator at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.  He began his work at the Museum as a docent and later developed the museum’s docent training program. He is tasked with validating the interpretation and reviewing the scholarly content shared by Museum. 

A native Memphian, Jones obtained his bachelor’s degree at University of Tennessee-Martin and interned at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas from 2008 to 2010. He has presented at history conferences about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and on other topics related to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Jones is currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of Memphis in History and plans to write his dissertation on the violence in the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi and Alabama, focusing specifically of little-known cold cases that impacted legislation in those states in the mid-1960s.

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