DALLAS — South Dallas is now home to a new museum honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It's open just in time for the civil rights leader's federal holiday Monday, but organizers hope it will be one more positive attraction in the community that goes beyond one day.
King's dream resonates with people all over the world. Less than one year ago, that dream sparked another vision — a museum inside the South Dallas community center that bears his name.
Emma Rodgers was part of the leadership team that helped create the Martin Luther King Museum, which focuses not only on King, but on the entirety of the Civil Rights movement
"We want people to know about the civil rights movement so that they can be encouraged to make changes," Rodgers said. "And that one person, like Rosa Parks, or if you work as a collective, you can change policy. You can do something.”
The same day the museum had its soft opening, a brand new Walmart Supercenter opened in southern Dallas at I-35 and Loop 12 Ledbetter.
"Martin Luther King, he was worldwide," said Veehay Wood, who visited the museum for the first time Thursday. "He was international and he worked for all people. So, I just pray and hope that a lot of people from outside the community will come in."
The store caters to an under-served community and draws people from surrounding areas. Rodgers believes the museum can have a similar effect.
Exhibits will link people with other community resources, encouraging them to venture out and gain a new appreciation for a changing South Dallas.
“It gets more traffic in here,” Rodgers said. "And this is such a vibrant community anyway. There are so many things. The African American Museum is right down the street. South Dallas Cultural Center is down the street.”
Rodgers said groups are booking tours to see rare books, civil rights artifacts and work on loan from other museums. People have driven in from suburbs.
"A lady took a long lunch break and she came all the way in from Grand Prairie," she said. "She wants to bring her parents."
To take advantage of the upcoming federal holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader, the museum opened Wednesday and began accepting visitors by appointment only.
Its grand opening will be on February 3, just in time for the start of Black History Month.
Admission is free, but Rodgers said what the museum brings to the entire city is priceless.
The Martin Luther King Museum is located at 2922 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard inside building A.
Hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.