by Leah Jackson

A rare display of the hearse that carried the body of prominent civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be featured at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum starting Jan. 20.

The “Carrying the Dream” exhibit will tour the state in January and February, presented in partnership with Raising Cane’s and the University of Louisiana System’s Reginald F. Lewis scholarship program.  In addition to the hearse, the exhibit will also feature regional civil rights artifacts, a Civil Rights art piece produced by artist and Reginald F. Lewis Scholar Robert Hill and screenings of the documentary “I am MLK Jr.” which celebrates the life and explores the character of the American icon.

Todd Graves, founder and CEO of Raising Cane’s, led the preservation of the hearse and, through its exhibit, wants to remind Louisianians what Martin Luther King, Jr. contributed to society.

“It’s important that the next generation really understands how the contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr. changed the world,” said Graves. “Many of us did not get a chance to hear MLK during his lifetime, so I am hoping they will be able to appreciate him and his work through this tribute to honor his life.”

The Reginald F. Lewis Scholars are working to ensure the tour’s success through various roles.

“This exhibit provides our scholars the opportunity to be a part of something much bigger than themselves,” UL System President Dr. Jim Henderson said. “Honoring the legacy of Dr. King will inspire them to dream even bigger as individuals and for others.”

The Reginald F. Lewis Scholars program enhances the educational experience for exemplary Black male students. Two students from each of the System’s nine member institutions are participating in the inaugural cohort of the three-year program focusing on key areas—academics, social advancement and community service.

Tour stop information is available below. Additional stops will be added. For the latest information visit

Jan. 16 – Jan. 18

Location: Louisiana Tech Student Center, 100 Wisteria Lane
Times: Sunday noon – 8 p.m., Monday – Tuesday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Partners: Louisiana Tech, Grambling State University, ULM

Jan. 20 – Feb. 5

Location: Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum, 800 Front St.
Times: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Partners: Northwestern State University, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum

Feb. 7 – Feb. 10 

Lake Charles
Location: Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Dr.
Times: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Partners: McNeese State University, City of Lake Charles, Ward 3 Marshall Nathan Keller

Feb. 14 – Feb. 19 

Location: Blackham Coliseum, 2330 Johnston St.
Times: TBD
Partners: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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