Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Graceland

Blanka and I drove down to Memphis last week to spend some time with my Dad and his wife Doris. We had a great time. It was the first time I had been in Memphis since childhood.
We visited two places on our own, Graceland, and the National Civil Rights Museum.

Graceland, as most of the planet knows, is the home of the second best musician to graduate from Humes High School. (My father being number one, of course.) There was plenty of over the top Elvis worship on display, but it was enjoyable and a good introduction to the music and times Elvis shaped.

A different take on the same period was the NCRM. The museum preserves the facade of the Lorraine Motel, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. The museum exhibits wind back and forth, and rise by carefully placed ramps until suddenly you are there, looking out of the window of room 307, right next to Dr. King's 306.

The museum is a powerful testimony to the civil rights struggle. One of the best parts, in my view, was the short film, "The Witness". Narrated for the most part by Rev. Billy Kyles, who was standing just a few feet from Dr. King when he was killed, the film gives the context for the events that brought Dr. King to Memphis.

The film is extremely effective and emotional. I highly recommend it. I purchased a copy in the museum store, and it has been uploaded to vimeo (not sure of the legality of that, though).

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Question: I knew your dad and heard his Elvis stories while at Hofstra U, which might have something to do with my visiting Humes High on my recent trip to Memphis. A preliminary internet search seems he also attended Christian Brothers. I'm curious as to how he managed to attend both High Schools? Best regards, LD

David vun Kannon said...

It is true that my dad attended a few different high schools, or at least these two. He went to Christian Brothers for the same reason many non-Catholics attend a parochial school in a poor neighborhood - it offered the best education (for a price).