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The Balcony Project

A Glimpse Into Pre-1964 Memphis & A Tribute to Progress

 

"The Orpheum has used performing arts to educate for over 40 years and is uniquely positioned to tell this story." — Dr. Charles McKinney, Rhodes College

 

Step into history as the Orpheum Theatre Group shares a transformative educational endeavor. Uncover the poignant legacy of Memphis in this historical space that was once segregated as the theatre's Black-only balcony entrance. The Balcony Project journeys through time, shedding light on an era when segregation cast its shadow.

This immersive initiative serves as a dynamic platform for education and awareness, extending the Orpheum's commitment to storytelling. Our team believes in a society that learns and evolves together. With its roots in Memphis' past, this project redefines narratives, fostering inclusivity.

Together, we reflect, learn, and pave the way for progress. 'The Balcony Project'—where history resonates, and understanding blooms."

The space is located on the Beale Street side of the Orpheum Theatre at 203 S. Main Street. It will be available to view for free every Saturday from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and every Monday from 2-4 p.m., weather permitting and excluding select holidays.


 

 

Listen to the Journey


Part One
Segregation

Part Two:
Behind the Veil of Segregation

Part Three:
The End of Segregation,
The Rise of the Movement

Part Four:
The Malco Integrates


Continued Learning

The Balcony Project is only one piece of a deep and transformative history of Civil Rights in Memphis. We encourage and invite you to visit these other profound places as you journey through reflection and remembrance.


Historical Locations

the exterior of the Lorraine Motel where Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Junior was shot and killed.

National Civil Rights Museum

450 Mulberry St. • 901-521-9699

Noted as one of the nation's premier heritage and cultural museums, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, is steadfast in its mission to share the culture and lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement and explore how this significant era continues to shape equality and freedom globally.


the exterior of the Lorraine Motel where Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Junior was shot and killed.

Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum

826 N 2nd St. • 901-527-7711

This historic 19th-century home was once part of the Underground Railroad and features tunnels, trap doors & artifacts.


Historic Clayborn Temple

294 Hernando St. 

The Historic Clayborn Temple was the stage of the 1968 Sanitation Workers’ Strike and subsequent I AM A MAN campaign. A central staging ground for the civil rights movement and social justice, the Historic Clayborn Temple itself canonizes the story of “black Memphis”, embodying a rich history spanning more than a century.


I AM A MAN Plaza

294 Hernando St. 

Next to the Historic Clayborn Temple, I AM A MAN Plaza commemorates the sanitation workers' historic strike.


Enlightening Experiences

the exterior of the Lorraine Motel where Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Junior was shot and killed.

A Tour of Possibilities

A tour showcasing contributions made by African Americans across multiple industries throughout Memphis.


the exterior of the Lorraine Motel where Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Junior was shot and killed.

Heritage Tours

A 3-Hour Historical Sightseeing Tour that includes Slave Haven Museum and over 30 other historical sites. Includes transportation, all admissions and guide service.


the exterior of the Lorraine Motel where Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Junior was shot and killed.

U.S. Civil Rights Trail

Features over 100 locations across 15 states and now includes seven historic Memphis locations.


the exterior of the Lorraine Motel where Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Junior was shot and killed.

Withers Collection Museum and Gallery

333 Beale St. • 901-523-2344

Explore the Withers Collection Museum and Gallery, a charming museum holding historically important photos by Ernest C. Withers depicting the Civil Rights movement and life throughout the 20th century.


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