Civil Rights and Rock and Roll Journey, Day 2 (Part 2)

5:30 P.M.: Preparing for Shabbat

We passed through Tupelo to see Elvis’s birthplace. I was struck by how small it was — much smaller than I imagined it would be.

Elvis’s birthplace:

Elvis's Birthplace

When we arrived in Memphis, I was struck by how dilapidated many of the buildings we passed were. Of course, I suppose we drove through some rough parts of town, and the same could be said of much of Atlanta. We saw some very nice areas, too. Downtown was probably nicer than Atlanta’s. Beale Street was electric. The first glimpse of the Mississippi was breathtaking. I saw the bridge spanning the river to Arkansas. The Mississippi is so many things — a symbol of the frontier, the West; an artery pumping the lifeblood of our nation. Tennessee is a place of magic and meaning for me. I met my husband in Tennessee. Memphis reminded me of Nashville.

Prince Albert TobaccoI wish I’d had more time in the Rock and Soul Museum. In the first area a table stood on a replica of a sharecropper porch. An empty can of Prince Albert Tobacco was displayed on the table. It made me think of Pa Pa [my great-grandfather, Herman Cunningham, whom I called Pa Pa, smoked Prince Albert Tobacco in his pipe; his farm was littered with discarded Prince Albert Tobacco cans]. I had this urge to touch the can, but I restrained myself. I would have liked to have spent more time there listening to music [the Rock and Soul Museum gives visitors mp3 players to listen to music and learn about the exhibits].

Tennessee. Sometimes when I come here I can feel the soil is still in my blood, even though I’ve never lived here myself [many of my ancestors were from Tennessee].

Lunch at Rendezvous was amazing. Those ribs are so good. The dry rub on the ribs was delicious. I also really enjoyed being with Sarah, Paul, Ellie [my colleagues], and Billy [our tour guide].

I don’t think I’ll ever forget Beale Street. I wanted to be here with Steve.

[tags]Memphis, Tennessee, Beale Street, Rendezvous Ribs, field trip, Elvis, Tupelo, Mississippi, Prince Albert Tobacco, Rock and Soul Museum[/tags]