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National Civil Rights Museum grand reopening

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) - -

They're celebrating for a couple days at the new National Civil Rights Museum.

From bands to speeches and special guests, there's a weekend full of events for the whole family.

After 23 months the last of the construction site markers will be picked up and the doors will finally be opened.

"It's been a long time coming," said Faith Morris, National Civil Rights Museum.

MORE: MLKinMemphis.com

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Yes, a long time coming and with 27-million dollars of work put into this, they can't just reopen quietly.

You'll get to enjoy nearly ten events on top of heading inside.

Tavis Smiley will lead three panel discussions Friday on the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

He'll be joined by a group of guests, and you may just want to hear what they have to say. "We will have historians and scholars and folks from the legal system, talking about the Civil Rights Act. What was it supposed to do, what did it get done and what's left undone now. How does it apply to what we're doing right now," says Morris. 

After that there will be a candlelight vigil at night remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the old wreath will be replaced with a new one in his honor.

Arguably the biggest event of all this weekend is the Freedom Forward parade on Saturday morning.

It starts at the Cook Convention Center and you'll walk to Second, Vance and Main Streets before ending at the NEW National Civil Rights Museum.

Morris says, "We're hoping the community will come and start the day with us at 9:30.

We have community organizations, we have high school bands, we have drumlins, we have flippers, we have marchers. We have our political leaders who will be involved. The Civil Rights Movement was a people's movement and this is a people's parade."

The grand opening is also Saturday. Instead of your regular old ribbon cutting, at noon they're breaking the chains.

And for seven hours you'll be able to watch speeches and performances all while taking special tours inside the museum. That starts at noon and goes until 7 p.m.

From the second you walk in you're in the moment. You're right there with the Memphis sanitation workers who went on strike back in 1968.

Brown vs. The Board of Education, you're in the courtroom, you're in the school. And  if you're a visual learner you'll love it here.

A perfect example is the Join the Movement exhibit. It's a giant touchscreen with six different political and social issues for you to choose from.

You touch an issue, it asks you a question on where you stand, you make a choice and you learn more about it. Also, you can invite others around the table to join you in taking that stand.

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