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article imagePhoto Essay: The rich history and diverse sites of Memphis TN Special

By Greta McClain     Sep 4, 2014 in Travel
Memphis - Nestled along the banks of the Mississippi River and steeped in history, Memphis Tennessee offers visitors a variety of musical entertainment and iconic historical landmarks.
The city of Memphis is perhaps best known for Graceland, the iconic home of Elvis Presley. However, the musical culture of Memphis was well established before Elvis ever appeared onto the music scene.
In the early 1900s, W.C. Handy made Memphis his home. Handy began his music career in Memphis by writing a campaign song for Memphis mayoral candidate Edward H. "Boss" Crump. The song, simply called "Mr. Crump", was rewritten and released under the name "Memphis Blues" in 1912. The song became an immediate success, and it along with songs such as "Yellow Dog Blues" and "Beale Street Blues" launched Handy into stardom. It was not long before Handy became known as the "Father of the Blues". His likeness stands at the Beale Street entrance of W.C. Handy Park.
Statue of W. C. Handy in Memphis  Handy Park
Statue of W. C. Handy in Memphis' Handy Park
Sign outside the former home of W.C. Handy
Sign outside the former home of W.C. Handy
Beale Street has long been famous for being the home of numerous Blues clubs and it is a popular destination for many visitors.
Sign welcoming visitors to Beale Street  home of the Blues and dubbed the birthplace of Rock and Rol...
Sign welcoming visitors to Beale Street, home of the Blues and dubbed the birthplace of Rock and Roll.
Sign outside a Beale Street business
Sign outside a Beale Street business
Memphis is also known for playing a pivotal role in the birth of Soul music, and is considered to be the birthplace of Rock and Roll, with Elvis Presley perhaps being the city's most famous and popular resident.
Statue of Elvis Presley on Beale Street
Statue of Elvis Presley on Beale Street
Due to being such an integral part of the birth of these musical genres, Memphis is home of the Rock and Soul Museum.
Sign outside the Rock and Soul Museum in Memphis  Tennessee.
Sign outside the Rock and Soul Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.
Display celebrating 70 years of Rock and Roll
Display celebrating 70 years of Rock and Roll
A display of guitars owned by famous Blues musician B.B. King is on featured in the Rock and South M...
A display of guitars owned by famous Blues musician B.B. King is on featured in the Rock and South Museum
Memphis is also known for the Lorraine Motel. The hotel's second floor balcony is where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
The iconic Lorraine Motel sign
The iconic Lorraine Motel sign
A wreath marks the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed.
A wreath marks the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed.
A placard at the Lorraine Motel describes the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A placard at the Lorraine Motel describes the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The site has now been converted into the National Civil Rights Museum.
Outside of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis  TN
Outside of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN
The museum provides visitors with video accounts of the civil rights movement, along with displays depicting various pivotal moment with the movement.
This display features a statue of the bus driver who told Rosa Parks to  move to the back of the bus...
This display features a statue of the bus driver who told Rosa Parks to "move to the back of the bus".
A display depicting a lunch counter sit-in during the civil rights movement.
A display depicting a lunch counter sit-in during the civil rights movement.
This display depicts a smoldering bus carrying  Freedom Riders  during 1964 s Freedom Summer.  Buses...
This display depicts a smoldering bus carrying "Freedom Riders" during 1964's Freedom Summer. Buses were often attacked and this one is a replica of a bus that was firebombed.
This displays shows National Guard soldiers watching as Memphis sanitation workers march in protest ...
This displays shows National Guard soldiers watching as Memphis sanitation workers march in protest of horrible working conditions.
Memphis is also home to Sun Studios, which was the recording home of musical legends such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison. It is also home to the Peabody Ducks. The ducks are residents of the Peabody Hotel and march into the Grand Lobby fountain every morning, where they remain until 5:00 p.m. each night. It is a tradition and site that visitors will line up to see on a daily basis.
Memphis offers a wealth of activities for visitors, whether they are looking for musical entertainment, the taste of southern barbecue such as that found at Rendezvous Restaurant, or historical sites like the Civil Rights Museum, the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa or the Davies Manor Plantation. This variety makes Memphis the perfect destination of anyone who enjoys diverse options and experiences.
More about Rock and Roll, Soul Music, Civil Rights, Civil rights movement, National Civil Rights Museum
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