Half a century on from the assassination of Martin Luther King, novelist Dolen Perkins-Valdez takes a shifting journey on the newly opened path, from the nice man’s birthplace to the location of his demise in Memphis

If you wish to perceive America, you could do the US Civil Rights Path. A deep journey via the conscience of a nation, the websites commemorating the 1950s and 1960s Civil Rights motion reveal a rustic making an attempt to reconcile its founding ideas with its racial inequities. This era marked essentially the most important division the nation had confronted since its civil struggle. All through the journey, I stored asking myself: what would I do for freedom? There is no such thing as a technique to come away from the Path with out feeling remodeled. The journey is equal elements historical past and inspiration.

The US Civil Rights Path is a visionary concept: it connects the 110 websites and museums – principally throughout the south, however stretching from Kansas within the Midwest to Delaware on the east coast – right into a coherent map of a nation’s wrestle and triumph. It opened formally in January this 12 months, so in honour of subsequent week’s 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr (four April 1968), over 5 days I journey the 700-mile phase from his birthplace in Atlanta to the place he died in Memphis.