We started off our second day in Memphis by going to Graceland, the home of the King – Elvis Presley. His taste and style was eccentric and interesting, with carpets on the ceiling. In addition the mansion also highlighted how successful Elvis was besides his early years, which is what many people think of. He is estimated to have sold more than 1 billion records, more than anyone else in history. He was the ultimate rockstar during his life. The whole mansion went beyond my expectations and was a good start to the day.
Next, we broke for lunch at Beale Street. While some chose to go elsewhere, I joined Billy on a trip to Rendezvous, where I had some of the best bbq food I have had in my life.
After lunch, we went to the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was assassinated. Although the museum was closed, we stopped outside to discuss how the museum was built in an area where many squatters were living, and how they were forced to leave in order to build the museum and gentrify the area. The last woman to be forced out was Jacquiline Smith. She has been protesting the museum and gentrification on the street corner for 25 years. While she wasn’t there when we were today, she prompted the conversation about gentrification and the pros and cons of it.
The next story on our journey was Central High School in Little Rock. Here there was a standoff between the Arkansas state troops who were trying to prevent integration and the National Guard who were there to ensure the Little Rock Nine would get into school. This led us to a state rights vs. federal rights discussion.
After some pool and dinner time, we had a discussion about abortion rights to prepare us for tomorrow’s conversation with Pro-Life Dallas.
Then we journeyed to the highlight of the day – we went downtown to see the little rock that Little Rock was named after. It was just as exciting as we had all hoped!