Web Smarts


WHAT: The Web site of the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum, which opened in 1991, is housed in the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., the site of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination.

BEST POINTS: The site offers an interactive tour of the African-American experience, beginning with slavery. There are short biographies of important figures in the movement to free the slaves, such as Dred Scott, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth. The tour continues through the Civil War, documenting the role played by the more than 200,000 African American soldiers, details the migration of African Americans to the North, examines the Jim Crow laws and historic cases like Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education. What makes it so compelling are the accompanying photographs. There are portraits of all the civil rights leaders, as well as moving photos of various events. Some of these are disturbing: One shows a riot in Omaha, with a burned victim; another depicts a lunch counter sit-in, with the crowd dumping food over the protesters' heads.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The site doesn't begin to cover all the information that the museum itself has to offer - and it often advertises parts of the exhibit that can only be experienced in person (such as boarding a replica of Rosa Parks's bus).

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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