A fire that mysteriously broke out at the Slave Haven Underground Railroad museum in Memphis has left the establishment temporarily closed.
The current status of the Black history museum was confirmed by Action 5 News, also revealing that the fire began in the afternoon. At around 2 p.m. on that Saturday, the flames began engulfing the premises, with the Memphis Fire Department quickly arriving to stop the fire from damaging the historical place further.
Although only two rooms were actually impacted by the fire, the damage caused by smoke and subsequent water to the cultural landmark makes it unviewable for the time being. According to the news outlet, the damage did not require any substantial work to be done, including no injuries reported from the scene, but will need some time before the museum reopens to visitors again.
Slave Haven was a house that was transformed into a museum in 1997, complete with decorations from the 19th century to allow visitors to imagine the slave system, travel patterns of the Underground Railroad, and the messaging that allowed the journey to freedom to be possible. Those experiencing the landmark were able to dive deeper into the lives and journeys of those enslaved in Memphis, as well as Black history as a whole.
Memphis is already a storied city in relation to the plight of Black Americans, known for being where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held his final speech,” I’ve Been To the Mountaintop,” at the Mason Temple on Apr. 3, 1968. The following day, King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in the city, which has since been transformed into the National Civil Right Museum.
An investigation into the fire in one of Memphis’ Black historical remnants remains ongoing, with no further detail on when Slave Haven will reopen.
RELATED CONTENT: NYC Tenement Museum Set To Unveil New Exhibit About Black Migration In February
Source: Black Enterprise