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Virginia Rendler

  • Walkin' In Memphis

    by Lauren Hughes | Apr 24, 2018

        On March 9th through the 11th, my friends and I hopped on a charter bus and headed down to Memphis, Tennessee. The Peace Studies Program organized this trip for Manchester alumni to learn more about civil rights in honor of the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Luckily for us, the alumni trip meant that students too could attend! Although we had to leave at 6 a.m. in the freezing cold (a theme of peace studies trips), we had arguably the most fun I’ve had so far on one of these excursions.

        Our first stop was Graceland, home of Elvis and of about 50 separate gift shops. We stood out enjoying the Tennessee sun and eating peanut butter and banana ice cream cones. Following this, we got our hotel room assignments and after a quick rest, headed out to explore Beale Street. We got our fill of barbecue, live music, neon signs and voodoo stores. We truly were walkin’ in Memphis, and we made sure to shout about it as much as possible.

          The next day, we had the opportunity to visit the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. King was assassinated. The motel is now a museum dedicated to civil rights and Dr. King’s legacy. The amazing thing about this museum is that you can see the balcony where Dr. King was shot. After standing outside, you walk through the museum and find yourself standing where he stood when he was killed. The building across the street is dedicated to the shooter and investigation into the assassination, and you can stand in the place where the bullet was fired. It really felt like we were standing in history, especially so close to the 50th anniversary of his death. I highly encourage anyone who has the opportunity to visit the Lorraine Motel to go and experience the exhibits they have set up.

         We then explored the neighborhood and headed to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, in a nondescript neighborhood, the museum was teeming with life and culture. We saw awesome music memorabilia and got to dance our hearts out. That night, we got to go back to Beale Street and eat the best barbecue of all time.

         The thing that made this trip different to other trips that I have been on was the mix of people in attendance. It wasn’t just Peace Studies folks; it was for anyone who wanted to check out Memphis, learn about civil rights, and wander Beale Street. Even in our huge group, we got to go to amazing museums and tourist sites, and have freedom to explore the city. It was an excellent and educational way to spend a weekend and learn about Dr. King’s legacy.
    Walkin in Memphis
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