Sally Walker Davies 2017-01-11 02:34:21
The Tennessee you travel through today is like a quilt. It is a patchwork of rich experiences, places and events that make up our history, sewn together through the stories of the brave, visionary and talented people and personalities who called—and call—Tennessee home. Experience today’s Tennessee through a trip back in time, through our heritage, battles and folklore. Blue Plate Special, Knoxville MAKING MUSICAL HISTORY Ask any contemporary musician of any musical genre who or what influences them, and you’ll probably hear a very Tennessee answer: Stax. The Ryman. Elvis. B.B. King. Al Green. Johnny Cash. Justin Timberlake. All of these artists and venues are uniquely Tennessee, and our musical heritage is all-American. In 1927, up in the northeast corner of the state, the Bristol Sessions—a call for the musicians of southern Appalachia to come to town and record their music—resulted in more than 75 recordings, birthing country music right in Bristol. That history is celebrated every September at the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, and those musical roots can be heard on the WDVX-FM Blue Plate Special radio show, which broadcasts live performances by up and coming American artists from downtown Knoxville’s visitor center. At the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and at the Ryman Auditorium, country music’s stars of the ages are traced (and seen) through recordings, exhibits and concerts. Rock, the blues and soul were also born in Tennessee. In Memphis, Stax Records was ground zero for American soul music, which rose out of the blues and launched a new galaxy of stars, while Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, honors the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s life and influence on generations of artists. In Jackson, the Plectral Society performs old-time string music on Thursday evenings at Casey Jones Village. National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY & CIVIL RIGHTS Racial barriers were broken and civil rights history was Made in Tennessee. The history of slavery and racism in America is poignantly told at National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, housed at the site of the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Was assassinated in 1968. Nearby, the Withers Collection Museum & Gallery—featuring photographs of the civil rights era—recount that time in riveting detail. The personal stories of the men and women who fought for civil rights are told throughout Tennessee, from those of the 12 high school students who integrated Clinton High School, told at the Green McAdoo Cultural Center in Clinton, to the Bessie Smith Cultural Center in Chattanooga and the collection of civil rights documents and photographs at the Nashville Public Library. Alex Haley, who brought the story of slavery and triumph to the world in his book “Roots,” grew up in the west Tennessee town of Henning, and the story of his life and writings are told at his grandparents’ house—now the Alex Haley Museum and Interpretive Center—where as a child, he heard the oral history of his family. EARLY SETTLERS & ANCIENT CULTURES The roots of our history stretch back through ancient times, and the lives of the earliest Tennesseans are reconstructed at C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa (Memphis), Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park (Pinson) and The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum (Vonore). In Birchwood, the story of the Trail of Tears and its impact on Native Americans is displayed at the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park in Meigs County, while the Tennessee State Museum (Nashville), Museum of Scott County (Huntsville) and Museum of Appalachia (Clinton) provide context for our history and those who made it. East Tennessee History Fair, Knoxville Withers Collection, Museum & Gallery, Memphis NOTABLE TENNESSEANS Those who’ve made history in Tennessee include three presidents, James K. Polk (Columbia), Andrew Jackson (Nashville) and Andrew Johnson (Greeneville). We claim heroes Davy Crockett (Limestone) and Alvin C. York (Pall Mall) and Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas (Memphis), the grandfather of America’s public defense system. Sports idols include strong female role models Olympic track and field competitor Wilma Rudolph (Clarksville) and legendary NCAA women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt (Henrietta and Knoxville). Our pioneers include Cordell Hull (Olympus, Pickett County), father of the United Nations and Nobel Prize winner; Ernest Holmes (Chattanooga), inventor of the tow truck; and Fred Smith (Memphis), who changed the world by launching FedEx. A President’s Residence Stroll through the peaceful farm and the authentically preserved mansion at The Hermitage in Nashville, former home of the seventh President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, who celebrates his 250th birthday this year.
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