A Diamond in the Rough!
Putting it mildly but true in so many ways nestled in the suburbs about a mile from the heart of Memphis, and closer to two miles away from the famous Beale Street. What this precious place lacks in aesthetics it more then makes up for in charm and authenticity. This historical gem eloquently and visually displays the history of slavery from Africa to Ohio with emphasis on Memphis’ role in it. This three hour visual tour is riddled with visual displays, that is not left to the viewers personal interpretation, but a very well informed historian guides you through every detail from the pictures to the furnishings, and not only that but provides encouragement as you don’t only hear our story of slavery, but you also hear a story of a resilient and determined people willing to do whatever it takes to be free. Whether that is physically or mentally and often both.
Who should visit?
All great and small whether you’re black, white, hispanic, or other, knowing the history of slavery is liberating for all, but most importantly knowing how we overcame it. While the Burkle house doesn’t have the beauty of the renovated Lorraine Hotel, it definitely has the authenticity and the personal touch that doesn’t just engage you for the day, but leaves a lasting impression and a hunger for learning history. This Underground Railroad shows you what a people endured to be free and takes you visually through the experience in a way that I have never experienced as this is an actual house that was used. While it shares of our history it also shares of the history of a family who came here from Germany. Having witnessed the ugliness of racial discrimination there they came here and had the courage to do something about the atrocious treatment of African Americans; risking his own life and the lives of his family he secretly took part in an act of compassion that has set captives free.
By far this is hand’s down the BEST museum I have been to so far concerning the history of the transatlantic slave trade and the underground railroad. While many boast elaborate and beautiful displays, interactive self guided multimedia tools, its nothing like having someone share the oral history with you personalizing every artifact. It is a must see in the city of the dead, which is the meaning of Memphis. It is my most recommended location and would be well worth visiting for schools, ministries, individuals, and families. It may not be fun for all ages, but it will be encouraging for all ages. Learning the trials, tragedy, triumph, and perseverance of any people is liberating for all people.
If you would like to visit Slave Haven here is the official website.