Thursday, July 21

Hot in the City

I'm currently in New York for business. On the way here I broke up my long-haul flight with a brief weekend stopover in Memphis, Tennessee. With the Summer heat at its most intense, I couldn't have picked a better time to visit. Soaring temperatures had sent the locals packing, leaving the city and sights all but deserted. This made it quick and easy to get around and enjoy everything without the constant stress of surging crowds.

Why Memphis? In 1960's it was heartland of the American Civil Rights movement and city where Martin Luther King Jr took his final breath.. I wrote a passionate exposition on his formative year as a poltical figure during my final year of University. For more efforts I was awarded one of the only A Grades I scored during four years of study. As a result, I was keen to gain a better sense of the culture and environment that spawned such a violent and angry period in American history.

Memphis is also home to some of modern music's most innovative artists including B.B. King, the man often considered the father of modern Blues. This pioneering scene went on to inspire the world's most successful musician, Elvis Presley. Since 1954 the self-proclaimed King of Rock and Roll, or simply just "the King", has sold over one billion records worldwide, more than any other artist in history. His music inspired a generation who went to create the world we live in today.

With so much transformative history its midst, Memphis proved to be a fascinating destination. Over two leisurely days I came face to face with some poginant moments in modern American history; including a chance meeting the only man standing with Martin Luther King Jr. at the moment he was shot and killed by escaped convict James Earl Ray in 1968. I'll share more details shortly.

PS: The photo above is the Pyramid Arena located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Memphis.  It's a 20142-seat arena, built in 1991, that dominates the downtown shoreline.  However, its been empty since 2004, after new, more flexible stadium opened its doors just off historic Beale Street.  The day I was in town the pyramid literally shimmered in the midday sun.  Spectacular!

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