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  • Soul, music, soul, food and the heart and soul of the American civil rights movement.

  • Memphis is one of the great American stories.

  • Situated in Shelby County, Tennessee, Memphis is the second largest city in the state after Nashville, on the largest city on the Mississippi River, named after the capital of ancient Egypt.

  • Just like its namesake, Memphis has risen from the shores of one of the world's most storied rivers into a shining center of commerce and culture.

  • Memphis has also endured its share of hard times.

  • Yet ever since the plantation era, the city has found solace in the unifying power of its music. Music which would one day take pride of place in the soundtrack of the 20th century. Head downtown to the Memphis Cotton Exchange and walked the trading floor, which was once the center of the world cotton trade.

  • Then follow the threads of an industry which has woven its prosperous and painful legacy through Tennessee's DNA.

  • Take the trolley down south main to the National Civil Rights Museum, built around the historic Lorraine Motel, follow 400 years of African Americans footsteps from those made in leg irons to the Long March to Washington and beyond, featuring the bus on which Rosa Parks took a stand by staying seated, and the Freedom Riders Greyhound coach, which was brought to a fiery stopped by Klansmen.

  • The museum is a sometimes sobering experience, but there is no exhibit more moving than Room 306.

  • Peer into the suite where Martin Luther King Jr spent his final hours before he was slain by a gunshot, which reverberated around the entire world.

  • Just a mile and a half from the hotel balcony where the civil rights leader was shot.

  • Visit the pulpit of the Mason Temple, where the night before he delivered one of his greatest and most prophetic speeches.

  • I've been to the mountaintop.

  • After King's death, sorrow and civil unrest descended upon the nation, but the Memphis spirit refused to break.

  • As always, it found solace in its deep faith and in the unifying power of song at the Memphis Rock and Soul Museum.

  • Learn how the uplifting field hollers and porch songs of Delta sharecroppers evolved into a new, cathartic musical expression, the blues and how in the 19 fifties, the blues gave birth to a wild, liberating sound which jumped the racial divide.

  • Rock and roll groove on into the Stax Museum of American Soul music and experience the sounds, costumes and moves that in the 19 sixties made Memphis the epicenter of the soul music universe.

  • The museum is stacked with incredible artifacts, including Isaac Hayes, Incredible Superfly Cadillac Eldorado, forever spinning in all its shag carpet 24 karat glory.

  • Of course, no one loves shag pile and gold plated caddies more than Elvis Presley stopped by Sun Studios, where in 1954 a 19 year old kid from the other side of the tracks recorded That's all right, Mama, changing the course of popular music forever.

  • Just three years later, Elvis purchased Graceland, a 13 acre estate on the outskirts of town.

  • Tour the mansion where Elvis resided for 20 years, then in the meditation garden, paused by his final resting place with fans from across the globe whose lives have been touched by the boy from Tupelo.

  • Just across the road.

  • Take off on a joyous ride through Elvis's life and times at Elvis Presley's Memphis, from his galaxy of gold records and jumpsuits through his years as a Hollywood star to his lifelong obsession with fine automobiles.

  • There's a whole lot of Elvis to explore here, so set aside at least a few hour.

  • As Elvis knew well,

  • You can't enjoy music on an empty stomach.

  • Thankfully, Memphis is home to some of the best soul food and Southern barbecue in America.

  • From Monroe Avenue, Follow your nose down an alleyway named after the restaurant, which put Memphis on the barbecue map.

  • Just like the city's music.

  • The menu at Charlie Virgos Rendezvous was born out of hardship, buying up cheap ribs, which in the 19 fifties were considered off cuts.

  • Charlie combined the art of backyard cookouts with a secret spice rub.

  • Today, his subterranean restaurant serves up an astonishing five tons of charcoal fire, dry rubbed ribs every week.

  • Mhm.

  • It might not look like much from the outside, but just around the corner at Gus is joined Pilgrims from all over the world who come to savor fried chicken so lip smacking good.

  • It's been called a spiritual experience.

  • After visiting chicken heaven, head over to the Big Rooster, which stands proudly over the rooftop of old Dominic distillery, take a tour and enjoy a few samples at this Memphis icon which has been crafting fine bourbon and Tennessee toddy since the 18 hundreds.

  • As evening approaches, head down to Beale Street, landing as the sun drops like liquid gold across the far shores of the timeless Mississippi.

  • After sundown, Memphis lights up and Beale Street is where it all comes together.

  • The history, the food, the music.

  • It was here where a teenage Elvis pressed his ear to blues club windows to hear legends like Howlin Wolf.

  • And it's here where you'll feel the true spirit of Memphis, a city that's learned the secret of turning hard times in trouble into a magic that soothes, nourishes and lifts the soul.

Soul, music, soul, food and the heart and soul of the American civil rights movement.

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