Memphis in Tennessee

Friday, 23 March 2018 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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© Christopher Boyd Jr/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Christopher Boyd Jr/cc-by-sa-3.0

Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of Tennessee and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the fourth Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers. Memphis had a population of 653,000, making it the second largest city in the state of Tennessee. The greater Memphis metropolitan area, including adjacent counties in Mississippi and Arkansas, has a population of 1.4 million. This makes Memphis the second-largest metropolitan area in Tennessee, surpassed by metropolitan Nashville. Memphis is the youngest of Tennessee’s major cities, founded in 1819 as a planned city by a group of wealthy Americans including judge John Overton and future president Andrew Jackson. A resident of Memphis is referred to as a Memphian, and the Memphis region is known, particularly to media outlets, as Memphis and the Mid-South.

Downtown Memphis rises from a bluff along the Mississippi River. The city and metro area spread out through suburbanization, and encompass southwest Tennessee, northern Mississippi and eastern Arkansas. Several large parks were founded in the city in the early 20th century, notably Overton Park in Midtown and the 4,500-acre (18 km²) Shelby Farms. The city is a national transportation hub and Mississippi River crossing for Interstate 40, (east-west), Interstate 55 (north-south), barge traffic, Memphis International Airport (FedEx’s “SuperHub” facility) and numerous freight railroads that serve the city. In both 2011 and 2012, the magazine Travel + Leisure ranked Memphis among the top ten “America’s Dirtiest City”, for widespread visibly littered public spaces, with unremoved trash, based on surveys by both readership and local citizens. On a more positive note, in 2013 Forbes magazine ranked Memphis as one of the top 15 cities in the United States with an “emerging downtown” area. Also in 2013, USA Today readers voted Beale Street as America’s Best Iconic Street and Graceland as the Best Iconic American Attraction. The National Civil Rights Museum (at the Lorraine Motel, the site of Rev. Martin Luther King‘s assassination) ranked third in the poll of national attractions. The Memphis Riverfront stretches along the Mississippi River from the Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park in the north, to the T. O. Fuller State Park in the south. The River Walk is a park system that connects downtown Memphis from Mississippi River Greenbelt Park in the north, to Tom Lee Park in the south.

© Christopher Boyd Jr/cc-by-sa-3.0 Beale Street © Andreas Faessler/cc-by-sa-3.0 Graceland © flickr.com - Joseph Novak/cc-by-2.0 Memphis Skyline from Poplar Avenue © Thomas R Machnitzki/cc-by-3.0 Lorraine Motel - National Civil Rights Museum © DavGreg/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Lorraine Motel - National Civil Rights Museum © DavGreg/cc-by-sa-3.0
One of the largest celebrations of the city is Memphis in May. The month-long series of events promotes Memphis’ heritage and outreach of its people far beyond the city’s borders. The four main events are the Beale Street Music Festival, International Week, The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and the Great River Run. The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is the largest pork barbecue-cooking contest in the world. In April, downtown Memphis celebrates “Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival”, or simply Africa in April. The festival was designed to celebrate the arts, history, culture, and diversity of the African diaspora. Africa in April is a three-day festival with vendors’ markets, fashion showcases, blues showcases, and an international diversity parade. During June, Memphis is home to the Memphis Italian Festival at Marquette Park. For over 20 years, the festival has hosted musical acts, local artisans, and Italian cooking competitions. It also presents chef demonstrations, the Coors Light Competitive Bocce Tournament, the Galtelli Cup Recreational Bocce Tournament, a volleyball tournament, and pizza tossing demonstrations. Carnival Memphis, formerly known as the Memphis Cotton Carnival, is an annual series of parties and festivities in June that salutes various aspects of Memphis and its industries. An annual King and Queen of Carnival are secretly selected to reign over Carnival activities. From 1935 to 1982, the African-American community staged the Cotton Makers Jubilee; it has merged with Carnival Memphis. A market and arts festival, the Cooper-Young Festival, is held annually in September in the Cooper-Young district of Midtown Memphis. The event draws artists from all over North America and includes local music, art sales, contests, and displays. Memphis sponsors several film festivals: the Indie Memphis Film Festival, Outflix, and the Memphis International Film and Music Festival. The Indie Memphis Film Festival is in its 14th year and was held April 27–28, 2013. Recognized by MovieMaker Magazine as one of 25 “Coolest Film Festivals” (2009) and one of 25 “Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” (2011), Indie Memphis offers Memphis year-round independent film programming, including the Global Lens international film series, IM Student Shorts student films, and an outdoor concert film series at the historic Levitt Shell. The Outflix Film Festival, also in its 15th year, was held September 7–13, 2013. Outflix features a full week of LGBT cinema, including short films, features, and documentaries. The Memphis International Film and Music Festival is held in April; it is in its 11th year and takes place at Malco’s Ridgeway Four. On the weekend before Thanksgiving, the Memphis International Jazz Festival is held in the South Main Historic Arts District in Downtown Memphis. This festival promotes the important role Memphis has played in shaping Jazz nationally and internationally. Acts such as George Coleman, Herman Green, Kirk Whalum and Marvin Stamm all come out of the rich musical heritage in Memphis. Formerly titled the W. C. Handy Awards, the International Blues Awards are presented by the Blues Foundation (headquartered in Memphis) for Blues music achievement. Weeklong playing competitions are held, as well as an awards banquet including a night of performance and celebration.

Memphis is the home of founders and pioneers of various American music genres, including Memphis soul, Memphis blues, gospel, rock n’ roll, Memphis rap, Buck, crunk, and “sharecropper” country music (in contrast to the rhinestone country sound of Nashville). Many musicians, including Aretha Franklin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Shawn Lane, Al Green, Rance Allen, Percy Sledge, Solomon Burke, William Bell, Sam & Dave and B.B. King, got their start in Memphis in the 1950s and 1960s. Beale Street is a national historical landmark, and shows the impact Memphis has had on American blues, particularly after World War II as electric guitars took precedence. Sam PhillipsSun Studio, the most seminal recording studio in American popular music, still stands, and is open for tours. Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison all made their first recordings there, and were “discovered” by Phillips. Many great blues artists recorded there, such as W. C. Handy, Father of the Blues. Stax Records created a classic 1960s soul music sound, much grittier and horn-based than Motown. Booker T. and the M.G.s were the label’s backing band for most of the classic hits that came out of Stax, by Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and many more. The sound still lives on in the Blues Brothers movie, in which many of the musicians starred as themselves. Several notable singers are from the Memphis area, including Justin Timberlake, Kirk Whalum, Three 6 Mafia, Ruth Welting and Kallen Esperian. The Metropolitan Opera of New York had its first tour in Memphis in 1906; in the 1990s it decided to tour only larger cities. Metropolitan Opera performances are now broadcast in HD at local movie theaters across the country.

Read more on Memphis Travel, Greater Memphis Chamber, Memphis Rock n Soul Museum, Peabody Hotel, Wikitravel Memphis, Wikivoyage Memphis and Wikipedia Memphis (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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