Dr. King’s Last Motel Room

H. Michael Harvey, JD
4 min readApr 2, 2018

Suite 306 Frozen In Time

Lorraine Motel room 306 as it appeared moments after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. exited his room to speak with his associates about dinner plans for the evening, April 4, 1968. He never returned to this room. © 2016 Harold Michael Harvey

Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel is forever frozen in time. It is as it was shortly after 6:00 pm central standard time on April 4, 1968.

Moments prior to 6:00 pm, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had just emerged from the room where he had been most of the day. He walked onto the second floor balcony of the motel that serviced the black community. The Lorraine Motel was a black owned motel during the system of segregated public accommodations and although Dr. King’s work in the thirteen years since the Montgomery Bus Boycott had broken down those barriers, he continued to patronize black businesses.

According to Reverend Dr. Babs Stinson Phillips, before Dr. King walked out of room 306, she had been engaged in a telephone conversation with him. Phillips had briefly worked as a private secretary for Dr. King during the last 90 days of his life.

King, according to Dr. Philips, had called to tell her to pay special attention to a speech he had given the night before at the Masonic Temple in Memphis.

During the conversation, she overheard loud sounds in the background. It appeared that several people were talking and having fun. Dr. King told her to hold on the line as he was going outside but would be right back.



H. Michael Harvey, JD

Harvey is Living Now Book Awards 2020 Bronze Medalist for his memoir Freaknik Lawyer: A Memoir on the Craft of Resistance. Available at haroldmichaelharvey.com