National Civil Rights Museum Celebrates Green Book And Musical Legacy Of Lorraine Motel With Night At The Lorraine

National Civil Rights Museum Celebrates Green Book And Musical Legacy Of Lorraine Motel With Night At The Lorraine
The National Civil Rights Museum celebrates the historical and musical heritage of the Lorraine Motel at Night at the Lorraine, on Saturday, June 8, at 7:00pm. While reflecting on the Lorraine Motel’s heyday as a thriving African American business and social center in a segregated society, the Night at the Lorraine celebrates the power of connection, purpose and history in one place. The retro-themed event will feature “Club Lorraine” live music, southern-inspired cuisine, a virtual reality tour, a silent disco, an auction, and an archival photo exhibition highlighting the cultural heritage that made the Lorraine a safe haven for motel guests and travelers, including the many musicians, athletes, community leaders and other celebrities who frequented the motel.
The Lorraine also was listed in The Green Book: The Black Travelers’ Guide to Jim Crow America. Prior to the April 4, 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Lorraine Motel was a sought-out destination for African-Americans traveling during the Jim Crow Era, as noted in the Green Book directory. The Motel is part of the South Main Street Historic District and is designated by the Tennessee Historical Commission.
Walter Bailey, and his wife, Loree, purchased the building in 1945, and renamed it for his wife and the song, “Sweet Lorraine,” made famous by Nat King Cole. In 1955, the Baileys expanded the business making it a modern motel serving the heart of the business district. The motel became prime lodging for traveling African Americans, including prominent musicians and community leaders. Performers such as Cab Calloway, B.B. King, Nat King Cole, Frank “Count” Basie, Booker T. and the MG’s among other notables gathered at the Lorraine. STAX recording artists would stay at the Lorraine Motel where impromptu, interracial “jam sessions” took place which led to famous songs like Wilson Pickett’s “The Midnight Hour” and Eddie Floyd’s “Knock on Wood” being composed at the motel. A destination for performers and tourists, as well as a place for weddings and other celebrations, the Lorraine was part of the cultural fabric of Memphis.
The family of Walter and Loree Bailey, through their daughter Carolyn Champion, provided photos to tell a personal story of the Lorraine that is included in a Night at the Lorraine exhibition. The Champions – daughter of Lorraine owners, Carolyn Champion and her husband, local legendary pharmacist, Charles Champion are special guests.
Live music is performed both indoors and outdoors on the museum’s campus. Vocalist Stefanie Bolton is the featured performer on the outdoor Main Stage. “Club Lorraine” includes Gerald Richardson & Friends, Will Davenport, Courtney Little, Brandon Orr and DJ Crystal illustrates the Lorraine story in the context of civil rights history moments and 1960s music that influenced the Movement. Susan Marshall and DJ KP and DJ Mary will play a blend of old- and new-school music.
A silent auction will be held, both onsite and online, giving guests a chance to bid on special packages including an allinclusive Los Cabos vacation, resort spa or golf vacation, art by Jamond Bullock, Southwest Airlines tickets, private wine & chocolate tasting, and more.
The Night at the Lorraine soirée will feature cuisine by popular restaurants and caterers including Char, Rendezvous, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, Rizzo’s, Southern Table Catering/Formerly Belle’s Southern Bistro, Big Momma’s & Granny’s Catering, Crumpy’s Wings and More, Edible Arrangements, Starbucks, MemPops, The Frosted Oven, Cupcake Cuties, Nothing Bundt Cakes, all in the richness of Southern tradition.
The presenting sponsor is Ford Motor Company. Tickets are available online at $100 for general admission with VIP tickets priced at $175. Advance $10 valet parking is also available. At the door, tickets are $125.
The Museum will be closed to visitors at 2:00pm for this event. There are a few street closures near the museum campus. For information, visit or call 901-521-9699 extension 2237.

Night At The Lorraine

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