Museum Pays Tribute to Civil Rights Struggle

When the National Civil Rights Museum opens in Memphis Sept. 28, on the site where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, it will offer the first comprehensive overview of the American civil rights movement in permanent exhibit form.

Actually housed, in part, in the old Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, the museum will contain exhibits highlighting significant events in the civil rights movement--from the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that made segregation in public schools illegal, to Dr. King’s death.

The 10,000 square feet of exhibitions will include an actual lunch counter reminiscent of the student sit-in demonstrations and a vintage city bus representing the 1955-56 Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott sparked by Rosa Parks’ arrest after she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger. An auditorium video will trace the history of race relations in America from slavery to the 1950s.

Travel Quiz: What mountain range contains eight of the world’s 10 tallest mountain peaks?


Reservations About 1997 Hong Kong: Most of us have at least an armchair idea of that shopper’s paradise, duty-free Hong Kong. But what will the Crown Colony be like after it reverts to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997? One way to find out is to be there, and some hotels are already taking reservations for travelers planning to ring out 150 years of British rule in Hong Kong. In fact, some have already offered and booked special packages--like the Excelsior’s offer of a harbor-view room for $256 per night, single or double--and are beginning to wait-list patrons who didn’t book in time. Others will take reservations but have not yet set rates (Kowloon Shangri-La). Still others will put you on their waiting list but won’t take a reservation yet (the Regent).

Peru Perils: As if cholera weren’t enough to dampen tourism, a government-announced state of emergency has been expanded to within 30 miles of the city of Cuzco, Peru, once capital of the Incan empire and now Peru’s main tourist site. The decree was the third this year expanding the state of emergency because of increased activity by Shining Path rebel insurgents, a Maoist-inspired group trying to topple the government.

One northern Cuzco area put under the emergency is 20 miles east of the abandoned Incan city of Machu Picchu, 12 miles north of the Ollantaytambo Inca ruins and 30 miles north of Cuzco. But the state of emergency does not affect rail links with any tourist destinations, according to a government communique. Since Shining Path took up arms in 1980, more than 23,000 Peruvians have been killed by rebels, police and soldiers. Several tourists have also been killed, according to the U.S. State Department.

Quick Fact: Fastest growing national parks, in terms of visitors: 1) Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in Tennessee and North Carolina (8.2 million visitors in 1990); 2) Acadia National Park, Maine (5.4 million); 3) Grand Canyon (3.8 million); 4) Yosemite (3.1 million). (Source: National Park Service.)


Nonstop From What Was Once Burma: Myanma Airways has begun new nonstop service from Yangon, Myanmar, to Hong Kong. This brings to seven the number of international cities with nonstop service from Myanmar, formerly Burma, and is a further sign of the government’s attempt to make the country more accessible. Myanmar is the largest country in Southeast Asia, but because of its relative inaccessibility, it has long been considered a destination off the beaten path. A government tourist office was opened last year and tourist visas, formerly available only for one week, are now being issued for as long as two.

Back to Israel: Tourism numbers for Israel were grim for two months earlier this year as the Gulf War raged and tourism ground to a halt. But with each passing month, tourists are returning to Israel. Numbers from January through July, 1991, were 46% less than the same period in 1990. But tourist totals for July, 1991, were only 7% less than last year at that time.

Coach Costs More: During the past year, full coach air fares from Los Angeles to a variety of cities have risen 18%, while the lowest discount rates have gone up at a much slower rate and in some cases even dropped, according to a survey by American Express. The survey of one-way ticket prices also found that typical business rates to Atlanta, Boston, Dallas and New York dropped between Aug. 1, 1990, and Aug. 1, 1991. Los Angeles-to-Orlando posted the highest gains in all three categories: an 18% rise for full coach, 21% for typical business and 24% for lowest discount. Discount rates dropped from Los Angeles to New York (down 9%), to San Francisco and Chicago (down 8%) and to Boston (down 5%). The survey monitored fares to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York (JFK), Orlando, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle.

Comparatively Speaking: June, 1991, air travel consumer complaints against major U.S. airlines (including flight delays, cancellations, baggage problems and refunds--worst first): TWA (most complaints), Pan Am, United, America West, American, Continental, Northwest, Delta, USAir and (least) Southwest. (Source: Department of Transportation.)


Fair Warning: The Fourth Annual Tuolumne County Wild West Film Fest & Rodeo in Sonora, Calif., Sept. 27-29, will honor the late Michael Landon. The county in the Central Sierra foothills has been the setting for more than 400 films since 1919. This year’s festival will feature a professional rodeo, as well as Western films, movie memorabilia, a barn dance and barbecue and live entertainment, including country and Western bands, trick gun acts and American Indian dancing. Sonora is about 55 miles east of Modesto. For more information, contact the Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau at (800) 446-1333 or (209) 533-4420.

Quiz Answer: Eight of the world’s 10 highest mountain peaks, including the highest, Mt. Everest (29,028 feet), are in the Himalayas, which extend through India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.