23805
Tennessee

Extension: Cultural Discoveries in Memphis

Extend your Southern discoveries as you dive into the unique story of Memphis, from its blues and rock ’n’ roll heritage to its role in Civil Rights history.
Program No. 23805RJ
Length
3 days
Starts at
599

At a Glance

See (and hear!) the incredible cultural legacy of Memphis, Tennessee firsthand with two days exploration. Following your riverboat voyage along the Mississippi, discover the many sides of this remarkable city as you learn about its world-famous musical heritage with museum and studio visits, visit some of the epicenters of civil rights history and more.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Learn the story of Memphis blues and delve into the lives of legends from the “Father of the Blues” W. C. Handy to “The King” Elvis Presley during a visit to Sun Studio.
  • Enjoy a dinner at the Kings Palace Café on Beale Street, complete with live Blues and Memphis Music during our meal.
  • Visit the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel to trace events of the movement and Dr. King's assassination.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Battling the Plantation Mentality: Memphis and the Black Freedom Struggle (The John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture)
by Laurie B. Green
African American freedom is often defined in terms of emancipation and civil rights legislation, but it did not arrive with the stroke of a pen or the rap of a gavel.No single event makes this more plain, Laurie Green argues, than the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers' strike, which culminated in the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Exploring the notion of "freedom" in postwar Memphis, Green demonstrates that the civil rights movement was battling an ongoing "plantation mentality" based on race, gender, and power that permeated southern culture long before--and even after--the groundbreaking legislation of the mid-1960s. With its slogan "I AM a Man!" the Memphis strike provides a clarion example of how the movement fought for a black freedom that consisted of not only constitutional rights but also social and human rights. As the sharecropping system crumbled and migrants streamed to the cities during and after World War II, the struggle for black freedom touched all aspects of daily life. Green traces the movement to new locations, from protests against police brutality and racist movie censorship policies to innovations in mass culture, such as black-oriented radio stations. Incorporating scores of oral histories, Green demonstrates that the interplay of politics, culture, and consciousness is critical to truly understanding freedom and the black struggle for it.
Memphis Beat : The Lives and Times of America's Musical Crossroads
by Larry Nager
This book fills in what isn't so familiar: Memphis, it reveals, is our great cultural mixing board, where all the black and white folk have met and done musical business for two centuries or more. Larry Nager, former music editor of the "Memphis Commercial Appeal," offers more than a casual history. His chronicle reaches back into the nineteenth century, when Memphis was a wild frontier town full of whiskey, fiddle players, and minstrelsy. It hits cruising speed at the turn of the century, as W. C. Handy discovered the blues, women like Lil Armstrong and Memphis Minnie kept up with the men, and a Memphis deejay dreamed up the Grand Ole Opry. It chronicles the strange alchemy by which local rhythm 'n' blues, hard country, and black and white gospel got remade into powerful rock and roll in Sam Phillips's Sun Records studio on Union Avenue. The beat goes on into the '60s and the era of Stax and Hi Records - when the first integrated generations, raised on Sun 45s, started waxing their own sounds. And it follows Memphis even into contemporary times, through Big Star's adventures at Ardent Records, the difficult revival of Beale Street, and the birth of the House of Blues. There is triumph and tragedy here, and much in between - from the stalwart presence of lifelong musicians like Gus Cannon and Furry Lewis, through the horrific accident that killed Otis Redding, the Bar-Kays, and years and years of musical dreams.





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