Throughout his cinematic career, Samuel L. Jackson has stirred the souls of movie audiences with his performances. It was his real life role as an usher at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., however, that made a profound impact on the spirit of the Academy Award-nominated actor, and as the nation reflects on the 40th anniversary of the civil rights leader’s passing the star joined an ensemble cast of 100 volunteers as they prepared The National Civil Rights Museum for those who will gather to remember the fateful date.
Capturing a moment of the over 1,000 man hours put in by the crew, photographers snapped images of the screen icon as he applied a fresh coat of paint to the railings outside of room 306 at The Lorraine Motel, the site of the activist’s final moments.
The Memphis museum, which chronicles both the struggle and the strides made in the civil rights movement, is open to the public every day except Tuesday. A number of special events are scheduled for the days surrounding the solemn occasion, including a candle light vigil on April 4, 2008, in which the flames inside 40 lanterns, one for each year of Dr. King’s life, will burn for 40 days.
Actor Samuel L. Jackson (center) paints the upper balcony of the Lorraine Motel, along with Kevin Frazier (left), with Entertainment Tonight, and Hampton Hotel employee volunteer Niani Omotesa (right) to help refurbish the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN, Tues., March 25, 2008. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. met his untimely death in front of room 306 forty years ago. As part of the Save-A-Landmark program, over 100 Hampton Hotel volunteers worked to help refresh and preserve the Museum. (Photo by Robin Weiner)
Actor Samuel L. Jackson (right) cleans a statue with Hampton Hotel employee volunteers Lisa Blake (center) and Natalie White (left) to help refurbish the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN, Tues., March 25, 2008. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. met his untimely death 40 years ago, at the Lorraine Motel, which is now part of the Museum. As part of the Save-A-Landmark program, over 100 Hampton Hotel volunteers worked to help refresh and preserve the Museum. (Photo by Robin Weiner)