December 5 – 7, 2014: We arrived in Memphis on a rainy afternoon and spent the entire afternoon in the National Civil Rights Museum which is located in the former Lorraine Hotel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The museum is extremely well done and has a ton of content beginning with slavery and its abolishment, followed by Jim Crow laws and the struggles to outlaw segregation.
Some of the exhibits included information on Julian Bond and the NAACP. I immediately recognized the name and face because we had a photograph of him with my mother on our refrigerator growing up. When she was a young teacher and she suggested they name her school library after him. They did and she later had the privilege of meeting him.
The visit to this museum, alongside our recent visit to Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, is especially timely given the recent acquittals of police officers involved in unjust deaths of black men. It’s depressing to view the lack of progress made in civil rights over the past 50 years. I strongly suggest you visit. #BlackLivesMatter
Similar to our BBQ dinner after our visit to Brown v Board of Education National Historic Site, we tried to find solace in comfort food. This time we ate a yummy dinner at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken before heading back over the Arkansas border to our KOA.
Our final day in Memphis started with a tour of Graceland. We’re not big Elvis fans but figured it was just something we need to do. The tour was very modern – you’re given an iPad that is loaded with a self-guided tour complete with narration and additional footage. We went from room to room in the house as well as the racquetball court building, and trophy room before checking out the car showroom. The tour was well done but expensive at $10 for parking and a minimum entrance fee of $34 each.
Back in downtown Memphis, we had beers at High Cotton Brewing Co. and an expensive cocktail at the Peabody Hotel whilst viewing their famous duck show (not something I would put on the must-see list). Walking on Beale Street we stopped in at a bar and the old-school variety store A. Schwab (where we purchased and promptly ate mud pies). Our dinner was ribs at Rendezvous Ribs and our last stop was for a cocktail in a beautiful old Victorian bar. We were seated at the bar next to a very drunk man. He proceeded to inform us that our bartender was the lead singer and guitarist from the ‘90’s rock band Grifters. And, the drunk man was the owner-operator of Sun Studio, which is now simply a tourist attraction. He purchased our drinks for us, totaling over $50 – score!