March 11, 2008


Looking at the Mississippi
We went to Memphis this weekend. There's certainly a lot to see, with more than a few ghosts blowing around through it's overly-gentrified downtown and the rusty rim that surrounds it. Here are some photos...

Where Ike Turner invented Rock n' Roll

A lot of Memphis looks like this, in various stages of decay or nostalgia
We stayed at the Heartbreak Hotel. That's the pool. Or a cold, cold heart.

Investigating Graceland

Dig the peacocks in the stained glass

Elvis's Jungle Room. Lotta dirt went down in here

Elvis's stuff

Sketchy monkeys

I guess Elvis was honored by Jah

Legendary black suit from the '68 comeback TV concert

Gold records on the wall

Game room

Takin' care of a flash!

Man, I hate John Lennon. Nothing but blacks and hillbillies, right, limey?

The National Civil Rights Museum is located, or more accurately, built into the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated 40 years ago. The exhibit advertised on the marquee is for an exhibit on the Rosa Parks refusal, boycott, and movement spark. From there, you ascend through a detailed history of the civil rights movement, beginning with the earliest slave rebellions.

You climb slowly, through Nat Turner, Sojourner Truth, through Fredrick Douglass, Marcus Garvey, Emmet Till, A. Phillip Randolph, past a burned out Greyhound for the Freedom Riders, and a small section quickly summarizing Malcolm X, to the Civil Rights Act, then the birth of the Black Panthers, and then....

And then you end up in a space between two hotel rooms. It was here that King rested the day after his last speech, conferring with his advisors, including his brother, after an evening when the shutters rattled on the church window as he spoke over and again about death. It was on that bed that he slept, that desk where he sat his eyeglasses. And onto that balcony he stepped and was shot down.
I didn't stand there all that long. I didn't want to dwell to long in the unspoken, in the sudden cut-off on higher ground. Of all the things we saw in Memphis, though, I'll remember the feeling in this King's final room, much more than the other's.