HAZARD — Two boys from Hazard went on a trip over the extended Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend that proved to be eventful beyond the bounds of even a child’s imagination. Elijah Dixon, a 3rd grade student of Roy G. Eversole, traveled along with his mother, Michelle Dixon, and his cousin Alex Marlow, who is in Kindergarten at Roy G. Eversole to Memphis.
The family visited the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, where the young boys had the opportunity to see exhibits that trace the history of the Civil Rights Movement in America. According to the museum’s website, the museum offers 260 artifacts, more than 40 new films, oral histories, interactive media and external listening posts that guide visitors through five centuries of history from the beginning of the resistance during slavery through the Civil War and Reconstruction, as well as the rise of Jim Crow and the seminal events of the late 20th century that inspired people around the world to stand up for equality.
As it turned out, Elijah and Alex had an experience in Memphis that most young boys would dream of. While they were in Memphis, they had the chance to watch an NBA game, as the Grizzlies hosted the New Orleans Pelicans. The boys were given front row seats to the game that were so close to the action, the person sitting directly in front of them was former Kentucky Wildcat and NBA allstar center for the Pelicans, Anthony Davis. It was the center for the Grizzlies, however, who took particular notice of Elijah and Alex. Marc Gasol invited the boys over for a picture. He also signed an autograph for them and the Grizzlies team gave the boys high fives, or perhaps low fives in Gasol’s case, considering the fact that he stands just a little bit taller than Elijah and Alex.
“He was really nice,” Elijah Dixon said of Gasol, “He signed everything we wanted him to.”
These experiences alone would have been enough for the boys to cherish forever, but they also got to see Graceland. Elijah said he likes the King of Rock’s style. He took particular notice of the three televisions Elvis had in one room. Elijah figured three televisions would make it easier to keep up with all of his favorite shows, as opposed to only one.
“There was a room there called the Jungle Room,” Elijah said, “and it was crazy.”
Crazy indeed. Elijah stood in the same spot where some of the most famous people in Hollywood’s history once mingled. The boys had a specific mission at Graceland. They laid roses on Elvis’s grave on behalf of their grandmother, Barbara Dixon, who is a huge Elvis fan.
What started out as a trip to the city where Martin Luther King Jr. lost his life, while standing up for a dream, to visit a museum that chronicles the struggles many have endured to try and bring the seeds of King’s dream to fruition, turned out to be a dream within itself. The boys headed out on a mission to learn about equality and, as a result, they stood in the castles of several kings. Such an experience would likely cause Dr. King himself to smile.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.