Starting off in Memphis, Tennessee, we began the day with a trip to the always entertaining & timeless Graceland, Elvis’s home in which he lived for 20 years until his untimely death in 1977. We learned how Elvis lived, both materially and spiritually. He not only had a huge house (Jungle Room, anyone?), he also had a huge heart, giving to dozens of charities and people in need.
After hitting up all 10 gift shops in Graceland–Elvis always goes big, even posthumously– we spent some time on historic Beale Street for lunch. Many people headed straight for ribs, which I hear were “weally, weally good” I stuck with the always enjoyable grilled salmon salad, which was equally as delicious.
Following Beale Street, we took a trip to the Lorraine Hotel, the infamous spot where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated by James Earl Ray. Since the late 1980s, the Hotel has been turned into a Civil Rights Museum.
Jacqueline Smith, with whom we all spoke with, has decided to boycott the museum altogether. She lives in the corner of Mulberry & Main Street, right outside of the Civil Rights Museum, where the police evicted her 27 years earlier. After 1968, many of the lower class residents in Memphis were being evicted from their homes due to gentrification, including Ms. Smith herself. She has spent the last 27 years boycotting the museum, saying that students are not old enough to be subjected to that type of hate and bigotry that happened in the 1950’s & 60’s that is displayed in these types of museums. She believes that there is a much better way to cement MLK’s legacy, and that is to help the less fortunate, rather than putting up a museum. Man, talk about passion. All I can do is just hope one day that I find something I am that passionate about, and be willing to spend 27 years living on the street pursing that passion.
After saying goodbye to Memphis, we trekked over to the other side of the Mississippi River into Arkansas. Little Rock, to be exact. We went to the historic Central High School and discussed the Little Rock 9. More importantly, we discussed the impact they had on the nation as a whole. As Ranger Brian put it, it wasn’t just about the 9 kids, or even the Civil Rights Movement. It was about the individual fighting for what they believe in and the opportunity that arises from fighting for what you believe in.
We went back to the hotel & indulged in pizza and swimming.
We also had a framing discussion about the topic of abortion to get us ready for our meeting with Pro-Life Dallas. Everyone shared their opinions. More on that tomorrow.
We finished the day off with a trip into downtown Little Rock because hey, why not? We got to see the smallest rock in the world!
It was a great day for Etgar 36 today– but I probably should have gone to sleep 3 hours ago to wake up in time to catch the bus to Dallas!