USA Tennessee: Sightseeing in Memphis

From Glitz, to Grit, to Glamour- A very interesting day in Memphis.

Welcome to disne..oops I mean Graceland, very interesting. Extremally kitsch including green shag carpets on the ceiling. Graceland is a great glimpse into the life of a rockstar even so long ago. His cars, motorbikes, horses, planes, stunning house (bar the kitch decor) All in all a worthwhile visit.

The Civil Rights museum. Very interesting, hard hitting- Not a great claim to fame of my name i.e. the motel in which Martin Luther King was assassinated. I learned so much, but was surprised, almost sad to see that the I was only 1 of 2 white people there. This really is a museum for everyone to see. Its history don’t ignore it. We as humans struggle to learn from history but we should try.

Some interesting thing I learned about slavery from one of the guides on the plantation: We in the west learn that the plantations were these mega right cotton farms that owned slaves. However the reality is most people earned or hired slaves at that time. Plantation is just another name for farm including the 10% of mega huge ones that on which one would find up to 100 slaves. The smaller middle class roughly 605 of the plantations having around 12 to 25 slaves ie. under 50. However people in the cities owned salves sometimes 1 to 12 to look after their houses, children and houses i.e. cook etc. Even pasters owned slaves usually 1 or 2, and the churches published booklets explaining to people why it was not wrong to own slaves. who were seen as heathens needing to be saved. There is documented invoices of 17 year old slaves being hired out for 12cents a day. They could be used for anything from cleaning house, harvesting to building properties or roads.

There is a movement to stop using the larger plantations for weddings etc, however as has been pointed out the courthouses were built by slaves, the bricks in most building were built by slaves. This is history deal with it, it’s ugly but it needs to eb faces and the contributions of the slaves need to be recognized. But trying to change it to tear it down doesn’t help anyone,

As Mandela, my heroes said: I walked out the door towards my freedom. I knew that if I did didn’t leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind that would still be my prison.

The Woodruff-Fontaine House 1871 Victorian mansion, very interesting with lots of history about that period. My only criticism is that the rooms were full of great stuff, but I am 100% sure during the 1800s they would not have been quick so full and it was hard to focus on everything. However don’t let this put you off it was a great tour with a fantastic tour guide.

My tip for all these places: Find slightly off the beaten track places. Go during the week, off season and early in the morning. That way you have a change of being the only person on the tour and you will get so much out of it and can ask a hundred questions. You will get a ‘’living’’ history lesson worth far more than you can read in a book.

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