tv American History TV visits Memphis TN CSPAN November 18, 2018 1:59pm-3:36pm EST
the wonderful pleasure of a historian of mexico, alan knight, who even though his interest was the mexican revolution, was willing to work with me on the u.s. mexico border, so in some respects, it was by virtue of the people i was with it has since become -- have stayed with this topic because it has so much relevance to contemporary issues. respects, it was by virtuewe ofa place that people are explained -- escaping from but this and ninehows us sensory, mexico's of his place people were escaping to because it made major interventions of a history of abolition and freedom in north america.
>> alice bumgarner joining us on c-span3 american history tv. >> thanks so much. great to be here. watching their history tv, only on c-span3. >> welcome to memphis, found all the mississippi river in 1819, the city was a hub for cotton production and slave labor, each playing a major role in its economy. it was here that a new genre of music was born, giving rise to future stars such as elvis presley and johnny cash. the 1960's, memphis was the tipping point in the civil rights movement with the sanitation strike and the assassination of martin luther king jr..
nonviolent resistance following but after the of the as a matter of act of the assassination malcolm x you had formation of leaders ofanther and the stokely car missile calling black power to take control of their own neighborhoods and there was a which ideology and philosophy was the most combat civil to rights in america. r. king began to be overshadowed by the young black militants. he was not receiving a very lie rating in the
community. it was old supposed to be a martin luther king coming to memphis. e was going to leads a march and the goal was to get to washington, d.c. later that poor for the proposed people's campaign. segregationist and those were saying mission he didn't have the control of a memphis in is no way e will be successful in washington. he was taken aback by this and group.rift in his own in are members that want to go that hington and others think there should be here in memphis. of e is under a agreement pressure, scrutiny and stress during the weeks leading up to assassination. efore he arrived here segregation was still the law of the land. we still lived in the jim crow
so there were white and colored only signs in all public accommodations. when he returned in 1968 the 1964 has hts act of been passed eliminating jim crow in america and voting rights is signed in 1965 giving african-americanses the right to register to vote without discrimination and we are engulfed with economic injustice the most important thing in the country was the war in one year the day it in death he denounced new york city at the riverside baptist church. kinds of takes a turn into an involving king that we see in the movement. >> i want to make it clear i'm going to continue with all of my and energy and with all of oppose that in inable evil unjust war
vietnam. >> sanitation workers strike week, were killed in the back of a garbage truck 1968, 11 days later 1300 strike against their primarily trying to strike to get a better working themselves and their families. dr. king saw what was going on invited by nd was james lawson and vowed to come lead a nonviolent campaign. once he returns to memphis on day there is war going on in march.ck of the most associate that dr. king was he wasmary organizer but not. he just agreed to participate in it. there are riots and it was chaos hat began to take place downtown on main to the point retreat was forced to
to go to the nearby holiday inn. returns on april 3 and rivers 381 from eastern out of atlanta. this flight was delayed due to a bomb threat that morning. he checked in at the lorraine 11:30 a.m.nd it was one of the most up scale in downtown memphis for african-americans. prior to his re april 3 theil 3 and reason he stays is he stays at a predominantly whit melt march 29 and saying how are you asking african-americans not ycott when you are giving business to the all-black own lorraine. he and rafrl be a navigate think
306 and meets with clergy and was going to meet with lawyers. facing an injunction to have a successful march the april ng week on monday 8. he met with his lawyers as well room lorraine motel in 306. r. king on that day is feeling very emotionally drained lalike symptoms u and laryngitis. that day memphis has arnado warnings and there was scheduled rally that night at the nearby mason temple and he do not think that there's going be a large turnout because of nclement weather so he sends reverend be a navigate think and young and jesse jackson place.k in his they arrive and see over 2,000 people coming in with the
and they are applauding thinking dr. king is behind him it was they realized his crowd be a navigate think here and urges him to come and great the guests that to heare in the weather him speak. arrives he said something this night that he had past 12 years during his duration as a leaders. >> like anybody i would like to life, longevity has its place. i'm not concerned about that now. god's will. to do and he's allowed me to go up to and i have looked the and i have seen promised land.
i may not get there with you but want you to know tonight that we as a policeman will get to get to the e will promised lands. >> we didn't know that would be the last public address he would make. 24 hours later he would be assassinated by a bullet. day of april 4 dr. king was waiting for andrew young to to rn from federal court have the unjunction lifted -- lifted.on he is in a significantly jubilant move when young returns to the lorraine around 4:00 p.m. dr. king and andrew young and members of the sclc were here.g pillow fights he is scheduled to go eat dinner minister's home. ready around 5:25 p.m. april 4 he steps
outside of room 306 and he parking ople in the lot. of the tepping outside room where dr. king stayed. we are actually standing in room he stayed in, room 306. he checked in that wednesday. approximately standing in this position here. of the stepped outside room around quarter until 6:00 assassination,he martin luther king jr. stepped outside the balcony and members southern christian leadership conference are below. first to approach him is reverend jesse jackson. rainbow push and he asks dinner.g what time is he said we will be there shortly but dr. king himself responds jackson, whereend is your tie and jesse jackson a prerequisiteid
for dinner is an appetite and i have that and the two laughed. introduced to a memphis branch ben branch and mr. asked doc what song he would that night at dinner and dr. king responds with hand and ord take my play it real pretty. is chauffeur calls up on the balcony and said doc you should get a jacket. efore he can responds to mr. jones, a shot ring out at 0 -- 6:01 and he faust ounded -- falls wounded and lies here on balcony. [begun shot] >> when it rings out the memphis this way and ning many of his associates including lee, jesse rd jackson are pointing saying no,
memo♪ cious lord and lead p e like the very much rest of the country in how it elt with the aftermath of dr. king's death. people are angry and frustrated. play outat frustration in a number of different ways. urban up risings and a over 100 cities have these uprisings where there is frustration and anger boils out the streets and neighborhoo neighborhoods. that effected a lot of cities because it was not just death.ng's bubbling under the surface not just sanitation
similar issues of racial inequity that was pushing the tension within the community this sent people over the edge. here in memphis which will we uprisings we had where thousands came april 8 and walked to city slatight march. sent out ames lawson memo, today the equivalent of a with very mail, explicit instructions of how you respect ave and people those instructions and marched with signs that said honor king and racism. crowd of people of ifferent backgrounds, ridges, race, ethnicity descended on to say this man of peace died violently but we will not
violence.iolence with we will react to it with peace nd love the way dr. king would want us to do. the sunday after he was ssassinated which was palm sunday the city came together and held a rally called memphis in that stadium benjamin look, james awson, came together and said we are of the community as memphis, not the national aboutght, we have to talk what happened here. because this isn't ok. we still have the issue with the sanitation workers but there was something that was happening in ur city as a community that allowed this to be the place where dr. king was assassinated a community have to wrestle with there. this was facilitated by a car really was not part of the social justice scene but decided there wasn't right and he decided to take a stand.
up having to leave the city for a period of time unpopular became very because he hosted this memphis at the event d they kicked out all the media. they wanted it to be a conversation among the citizens, a moment of healing. and there were a lot of ifficult conversations had in that moment. >> i have heard some say i'm it happened in memphis. is it too bad that it happened ?n memphis people i have heard laugh laughing that this man, this like you and i, in the full prime of his life, is shot down, executed in cold blood. repentance. concerned being
whether or not business moves away from memphis. is not being concerned whether or not people a side of our city will have good feeling about us. how can anyone have a good memphis when one of the finest sons of this world shot down in her streets? [applause] >> no matter how much we try, until there is no longer any written history, the is will be known as place where martin luther king crucified. >> it is a city that has had to with that legacy over the last 50 years. the city is not perfect, but it .s conscious of that legacy and it is continuing to deal with that.
it affects the rest of the disservicewould be a to single member goes out that way. t is a city that has allowed this museum to flourish, has and ised the institution very much lake the rest of the -- like the rest of the country. racial inequity and economic inequity is a hard conversation issue to deal d with. nlike the rest of the country we are dealing with it and we so. continue to do is -- 1300 went on 68, strike to oppose unfair wages and working conditions. we visit the national civil rights museum historian to leading ut the events up to the strike and bullet bringing martin luther king it memphis for the final
time. the 1968 memphis sanitation in the as a cross roads period of the civil rights story. moderate city more than others in deep south. considered mid south but it was on the banks of the ississippi but african-americans and whites still lived in a pretty divisive segregated communities. sanitation workers didn't make he same as their white counterparts and there was a great amount of tension in the in 1968. sanitation workers were .bout 70% african-american' those african-americans only made about a dollar an hour and be fired for being late to work after one minute and you had no pension and you given no other grievances during there period. you were not able to be a driver
a truck. you were only able to ride in the back. took it because they felt it was going to be a steady job period.during this if you worked 90 hours a week as sanitation merican worker you could receiver up to government assistance. could work 90 hours and make little over $100 so it wasn't the right way for african-american men who were take care of and false to live -- families to live off that wage. t.o. jones going back to 1964 effortless ly effortlessly fought to better the wages and conditions for the workers.anitation his really all had its last straw when two workers are back of a garbage truck on february 1, 1968.
was the thursday evening these two sanitation works walker and mr. cole were on their route and inclement large thunderstorm going on. they were unable to sit in the front of the cab so in order to shelter of the truck back to get out of the rain they got in the back and truck they were had been already told it was a faulty truck and and crushed them. memphis provided only $500 in response to the two men's death and these $500 lmost in a which were somewhat garnished because of wages an taxes taken out of their checks. case one was not able to have a proper burial here in memphis. taken to his hometown of tallahassee county, mississippi,
miles south of the city. that is what led to a strike of sanitation workers 11 days later. they wanted better wages and for r working conditions the sanitation workers at this time. hey wanted to file for grievances such as pension, better pay, better work uniforms uniforms, and just to be treated with a little more dignity that responded and the city who had just inaugurated henry lobe wased a plant and that is when the strike took place. 1968, february 12, approximately 1,300 sanitation struck against the city of memphis and that is when it began.lly the response of the city to the trike was with all the other strikes in past met with resistance and oppression.
not a very welcome iing turn for people who supported the at this time. february 23 there was a march downtown ned in memphis. ver hundreds were arrested and hospitalized. but this really doesn't see the takes violence that place until after dr. martin luther king returns to the city march 28, thursday 1968. lawson from the meth an odist church was organizer of the sit-in movement decade arlier part of invited dr. king to come and he he ved on march 18 and receives a wonderful reception at the nearby mason temple. be a he tells reverend better navigaty we are going to come back to memphis and march workers.f of the
that day is march 28, 1968. returns to the city of memphis on the tkaday, on in the roar going back of the march just an hour a er the march takes place 16-year-old youth from south emphis is killed by a memphis police officer. is assassinated thursday april 4, 1968, 6:01 at the lorraine motel. many began to er eel whether the worst of the sanitation workers received the minor increases take the life of a man who fought for freedom and justice and inequality but show
a es to america still nonviolent movement creates a violent response. f all the five political assassinations that occur in the decade dr. king's is the only in violence and uproar. with the at assassination of dr. king the -- pillar of onviolence being here prompted the mayor and local lawmakers to fix this. reaches ater the city strike resolution with the sanitation workers. they are given a very minor but they are given better working conditions and better last year thes of sanitation workers, around 13 or 14 finally receiver a pension receiver a pension for their work. face a completely different experience than they ago.d have 50 years
they are receiving pension and better working wages and given growth rtunity for within the city of memphis's department. legacy of the sanitation workers strike was to show even the declaration of independence the passage of the said all ment it was things would be protected under treated asy were not men and we will risk our lives to memphis and sacrifices his life so that they the unitedtreated in states of america. >> during the mid 19century was king. next away learn about how it played a role in the memphis legacy it still leaves today. you cannot understand memphis without understanding cotton
impact on had such an not just the economy, but also social fabric of the city. he role of cotton in memphis history and economy is central. of the 19th h century it is the industry in memphis. 1837, for example, memphis 23,000 bales of cotton. 20 years later it is shipping of cotton.0 bales so you can see the growth in 20 years. there is no other industry in memphis in the 19th superstar large. if you are going to make real money in the south cotton is to be.ou want founding in 1819 it became a center of the cotton
of its because transportation location. at the the bluff right mississippi river. if you are a cotton planter in shelby county or other parts parts, you would bring your so that you phis reach the wider world to a large goods to industry. by 1830 memphis is an mportant center for cotton production. then beginning in 1857 the to develop in memphis which provides another opportunities for you to ship other points. in 1857 the memphis and charleston railroad is open and connects mississippi river with the atlantic ocean which is
crucial to the growth because you can easily ship cotton that produced in the surrounding region, bring it to processed then loaded on the railroad cars and charleston and can ship to england. 1860's, the s, mills in england rely on southern cotton and memphis is a this.omponent to at the same time, soon after you have the development of the which is where people with buy and sell cotton. someone who wants to invest in cotton, you may not be and involved in processing it, but the other key the of that industry is buying and selling of cotton. exchange you ton will be getting economic reports other parts l and
of england, other parts of of pe and what is the price cotton today. five cents a pounds. you buy or sell your investment. t was very common for speculators to go to the cotton -- exchange day one day and make a huge amount rich.ney and walk out the next day they also everythi -- lose everything. it was a gambler's market in many respects. the cotton economy indirectly affected everyone. means that demographically you have a lot of rural people to sell into memphis their cotton, to take advantage beale street where they can drink and gamble, movie.ee a so, it creates a regional tourism industry in the city as
well. but a key factor in all of this is the of demographics slave population. the cotton industry, whether it picking of cot,ginning or relies on slave labor. hat means there's a large african-american population in memphis walking the streets they day, working in all of industries that we have been talking about but particularly industry.n at the very where they are kaudz ins where they process it and bale it they are slaves doing the work. there were about 16,000 african-american slaves in memphis. there were about 300 free persons of color in the city who either bought their way out of slavery or had been
their owners and allowed to stay in the city. in population of memphis 35,000, so we're talking about a third of the speaking is ughly african-american. the o it creates white-black dynamic in memphis the city for the 19th century, 20th century and into the 21 century. he civil war did change the cotton economy in memphis. during the war the south could cotton to europe. their large for textile mills, began buying cotton from egypt. continues after the war. the markets are diminished. hey don't disappear by any means but they are diminished after the war because there are join cotton producers that
in the economy. cotton prices in the late 19th fall.y begin to you have a lot of people who are dependent on the cotton economy because they don't know anything else. continue to grow it every year. ships it industry out, makes money, speculates on it. the prices are hlower. so that means there is essentially, except world war i, -- cotton economy is depressed memphis is forced to move beyond cotton in the early 20th begin to embrace industrializati industrialization. a ford motor plant, later international harvester.
tire and rubber build a plant here as well as means that ailroads goods that are manufactured here beyond cotton can be shipped out city.he so, that has an impact as well. of ng the great depression, course, the cotton economy had collapsed. comes and there was a huge need for cotton. for example, there is a need for otton to ship weapons in as -- protect weapons. it is also used in artillery. is used to swab cannons .nd artillery pieces then there is this huge need for soldiers and sailors and marines. so, the accounten industry the cotton industry begins to grow in the 1940's really for the first time since ends of the 19th century and
world war ii of course the otton industry in places leak -- like holland which had created a cotton economy the of the 20th century has been destroyed by nazi occupation and the war. so, memphis is able to supply exploit the need for cotton in a depressed europe then combine and that with the growth of technology. for example, the cotton exchange still exists and now it all done on computers. -- we have ave seen had cotton speculate fors in the in the library on cotton ones trading while talking to you. so it has expanded it. there ifferent because are fewer people growing cotton. nobody is picking it by hand any
more. all by machine. if you go into the rural part of and fayette county and north mississippi and in september as, and october, you are going to pickedot of cotton being by machines. so, where it would take 50 a field, now it takes one guy on a tractor and picker. the industry has changed in the in e there are fewer people memphis involved but in terms of how much onomics and money it brings into the city directly or by shipping it it is still huge. flowed of tkhradollars are through memphis because it is a ransportation hub and that includes cotton. is an's legacy for memphis two-edge sword.
is the reason in many ways memphis grew beyond roots.ll had there been no cotton economy might not have been the need for a transportation hub at this location on the river. without cottonle memphis wouldn't exist in the 21st century. however, we can't forget that is eing done on backs of enslaved people. o, it sets up a foundation of inequality, a foundation of discrimination that memphis is with for the rest of its history up until this point. legacy is strong and it emains an important part of memphis culture. >> i'm on the banks of the river used by slaves to escape imprisonment.
visit a slave humor and str stop on under grouground railro lawn jockey usually looks derogatory in the way he might tructed and they think that jacob barkle was a because of the statue but it of the opposite. undergrounde on the railroad. if the lantern was burning that safe it comeuld be to this house. if you do not see a lantern that moo means it was dangerous. it was there for a certain giving notice to the unaways that jacob had a safe house and that you can come in on., that the light is part of the
underground museum. owned by jacob bur it hide and he used run aways escaping to freedom. that very significant in it is one of a very few safe we are aware of in this entire area. it was very significant in helping slaves it escape it freedom. he was a german immigrant and he here it the united states after the german when a on of 1848 powerful and oppressive government was placed in leadership. left to avoid that so he with immigrated others here. south and herehe was another oppressive system,
slavery. personally e would become involved. in 1856 this area was on the memphis. of it was very secluded and he memphis stock yard so he had hundreds of animals all owned the a and entire block. the house is located about two the mississippi river. that was very convenient because by which jacob would help the runaways to escape. underground railroad was a clandestine activities conductors, s, station masters, with codes and was secretive. so there were safe houses, there of transportation. s ere were all kinds of secret
that took place in order to make this underground railroad a success. this is a flight to freedom map. gray lines indicate secret outes on the underground railroad. so, this lets us know that there and there l routes are more than we see on there map even because they are still safe houses. this is memphis that we see here. the lines coming through memphis. they are starting here in following the mississippi river, which is the underground railroad. here in is very wide memphis. that lets us know that a lot of here,le ofme through them hid right here in his home. they want to cross the ohio river to get into the free states. green states are free 581850's. the
when they cross the ohio river free.an be memphis was a hub of slave trading because of its locality. it was located right here on the mississippi river. of e was a main mode transportation for bringing and so soldthe area memphis was known as king cotton. needed slave labor in order to produce the cotton. blocks from this home, areas where the slave markets were located. e wish to buy 100 good negroes by the 1st of october. post.sis a negro you had several slave markets thet here in memphis during
time that jacob burkehold was slaves on his property. so, this was one of the main ndustries in memphis or sinesses in memphis, silver -- slave trading. nderground of course simply means secret. they had secret methods of communicating with the safe and hiding places. .ut there was a secret language -- enslaved people could not read or write so they had to create a language the white would not understand. they would hang a clip on the clothesline to air them but when hey hang the clips during slavery those clips will certain messages and they would hang in a certain chronological order that gave
route to canada. so, these are representing some those quilts that were part of the underground railroad that secret languages, there would be a monkey wrench quilt here. that would be the first one hung their t represents preparation for escaping, to get to y because you are going run away. then the next one would be the wheel. that would be your mode of a wagon whether it is or a boat or however you are going to escape. each quilt would hang out a seven period of time and you that code and do what it says. on.goes on and the monkey wrench turns wagon to the beard canada trail and you
cross into canada. themming bowties tells it to the church and get married. exchange double wedding rings. -- the flying guarantees the path. on each is significant and they would know what it meant. geese would mean they are following the north path, they canada.g north to but they are traveling would always look for the north star. here is a north star quilt here. they followed north star they north, they ing know they are going north. -- learn to o l read the north star in particular. in all of these codes were the quilts. this is just one of the many
codes that they used. a porch in ing into the home. his was all open and there was no ceiling there. all of this was open. opens the large door that into the cellar which was main home. area in this we do not believe that the hid in the home would have come down these same down. the way we came if you look behind the wooden teps you will see some brick
steps. at the top of the brick steps there's a brick wall. would not seem logical. no one builds a steps and puts a brick wall at the top. it was open and there was a that door at the top of last step. it has been closed in. thea cellar door opens from inside as well as the outside and that is the end of the house on the other side of that wall. so, from there they could go down to the mississippi river two here which is about blocks. op e side here there are openings where they could get air and light. could see the holes from the front of the house from here. us know that judiciary urkehold 30 -- jacob burkehold more than likely built there house with the purpose of helping slaves to escape. archeologists say there was the first room that was built in
the entire house. this room is about maybe eight .y 10 he would have provided them with fo ood, with clothing, with coverings. they might have waited here four or five nights. it would now how long have been. but he would have certainly made them comfortable while they were here. and then from here he would make the that they got on to next point, which would have been the mississippi river. the underground railroad was so secretive that it would have dangerous for jacob burkehold to know the entire route. had someone suspected that he as engaged in the underground railroad activity he could have een beaten and forced to tell where the next stop was so it was best that he not know.
agent knew the entire route. for a slave who was caught subjected to so much cruelty. was in the mind of the slave master or the slave catcher. could have been dismemberment. could have been beating, ouring salt on waoupbtdz after they were beaten. restrained with neck collars, chains, with shackles. any kind of restraints that the slave master had or could construct. nd, of course, a person like jacob burkehold would have been subject to tkdeath. conductors or agents from the underground put to who were indeed death because of their activities. memphisre talking about
and we are talking about the south. lavery was the order of the day. so, definitely, he would have been subjected to a harsh punishment. we are quite sure that there were others. only ld not have been the one. there surely were others as well. it is ot know, but fortunate that the family of burkehold passed down the that took tivities place here at his home and that is how we know the story today. this house is very significant museum le to tour the and to get a clearer understanding of what the railroad actually was all about. numerous safe houses throughout the united states and this one tunate that is in the south.
slaved here and they were running from the area and here were people to sacrificed their lives to help them right here in the south. >> the place of rock 'n roll sun memphis.in it was first place for record g he wills have presley and roy orbison, carl and johnny cash. we go inside to learn how it came to be. ♪ ♪ immediatelynificant following as being the irthplace of rock 'n roll and where the genre coalesced to sound.this with elvis being here, b.b. cash, jerry lee lewis giving us the title of the
rock 'n roll. there's no other studio like it. >> the creator was sam phillips. there was his vision. repo record the blues music that was being beale street at a time when most other player in the saw no value and he received criticism just for blues.ng but he felt it was a true form and true emotion and feeling that people were not -- ng in most of poprad which was very tame songs and arrangements. knew that particularly the younger people in america it wanted rtant they different.hat was
energy.eded that raw that is what he was looking for. it in 1950. nd obviously memphis in those days was hugely segregated city. music was a way to .ind of tie people together because you could segregate schools, but you couldn't segregate music. from uldn't stop somebody turning on the radio and something.to so, he saw music as a way to all of these end racial issues and tensions that e were having not ol here in memphis -- not only here but all over the country. chose this sister clo--
this store front. ost of the other recordings were done in radio stations. hat is why he careful out of a background. he knew about radio and they recorded live music at radio. the control room right now. this is sam's, where he work, basically. you can see there is actually gear he used, very simple equipment. window look out this here, there glass here, petition. cutting room. the musicians would be playing front was the area., the waiting marian was the office manager. so you had these three rooms and is incredible. the first acts he recorded were lues acts and a little bit of
country. he also recorded country music. more interested in country acts that are diagnose something different. - that were doing something different. at that time you had country groups in member goes that were lowly starting to incorporate rhythm and blues songs into their repertoire. he was only interested in country it they were doing something different. for the blues s artists and a few blocks down street is beale street and there was no end to the wealth the talent of people he could bring in. a record tarted with called rocking 88 which was by ike turner.1 credited as the first rock 'n roll record. >>♪ you have heard the noise
means my new rocking 88. one way, just rockin' 88.kikes my riding in style and moving along♪ first few years really sam was struggling. for -- ot doing this obviously he wanted to be not ssful, but he was intentionally recording music just because he knew it was going to sell. it because he g leak it. t the time he sold elvis's contract he was bankrupt. he was about to lose the studio. how elvis recorded here there is in thing that sam offered those days which was kind of a custom session recording, and ally you can come in pay $4 and record two songs and going to be a real sun record, just something he
could take home. is a famous story that says he recorded that for his a sweethich sounds like story but it is not true. he didn't record it for his mother. he came in because he wanted to hear his own voice. recorded.er heard it he wanted to meet sam phillips a real record here. as it turns out, elvis would have to wait about a year before he got a call back phillips. it is an interesting story about got a call nally back at sun. it so happened there was a demo been made of had stateate at the tennessee opinion 10 share -- penitentiary that he had song written and it was this balancd song. of they lost track of who the man
was. him.couldn't find maybe he had been released or something. searching for one similar to the voice. phillips and sam ask if he knew somebody and sam a loss but marian said what about that kid elvis. a call.t you give him and have him do a demo. it., he never recorded up recording that is all right mama that is an old put a country rhythm lined it and here was something that sam wanted, it different.ng they forgot about that balad. ♪ that's all right mama,
that's all right mama, just any way you choose, all right, that's all right. right, mama, any way ♪ u choose >> it was released i think it popular in there region. -- in this region. he was a small independent label. he didn't have a huge outreach. literally have to drive around to radio stations with ecords in trunk of his car and personally give them it deejays to play. so, it definitely created a ensation but it was just regional hit. t was not a huge chart hit or anything like that. impact it had is pretty incredible when you think about it because not only did it
so many musicians in this area to try to do something that kind of mix of country and blues led to johnny in and jerry lee and beyond perkins to those people in reached the whole world. europe, england, roups lake the rolling -- like rolling stones and beatles were influenced by these records. but they not huge hits affected pretty much everything we are listening to today has a the signing of elvis's contract came about because again, sam, even with elvis, he wasn't financially that stable yet. he also knew that being a little independent label, he'd done about all he could for elvis. he didn't have this huge
promotion engine behind him to get him out there to the rest of the country so he knew that elvis really needed management. he needed someone that could take his career further. so he saw that the selling of elvis's contract was kind of like a mutual benefit to both of them. sam with that money was able to keep the studio going, keep recording all these other great artists. and that deal went to rca cords and one of the big negotiators of that deal on rca's side was colonel tom parker. he was a manager of country singers in nashville and through colonel tom marker, he really -- you know, no artist in history had ever been promoted and marketed like that before and he became the first big superstar
because of the marketing push that came behind him. elvis was here for 10 years. he had a 10-year liaison the building. he never actually owned it. he leased it in 1950. in 1960 sam moved down the street, opened up another studio. really this all kind of started many the 1980's, mid 1980's. it was opened -- it's always pretty much been always kind of a tourist destination, tours during the day and then at night recording. it's always been about recording since then as well. we get hundreds of people in here a day to see this place. people from all over the world and, you know, you get people to come -- older people that much waited their whole laich. they'll tell you that, i've wait mid whole life to come see this place, come be in this place. you see it as this -- it's not
something dead. it's an ongoing fascination that eople have of this place and kind of a myth of this place. it is a legendary place. like the name says, legendary tudio. >> it was home to the king of rock 'n' roll but elvis presley's graceland is also home to one of the largest archives in the country. up next, we take you to elvis presley's memphis for a look at the collection. lay off of my blue suede shoes ♪ >> what's unique about the graceland archives is that it really tells a completetory asker -- story and it really is one of the largest archives dedicated to one individual that
exists here in the united states. in the archives at graceland we have over 1.5 million artifacts from. documents, to books to wardrobes. the space is around 3,000 square feet and it really gave us the opportunity to explore the collection and display things that might have never been seen before. a lot of our visitors, of course, want to see jump suits so we have over 30 of them on display throughout elvis presley's memphis. it's what people really connect with because of shows and concerts and what they remember. cars. the cars are huge. even if you're not an elvis fan, there's a lot of people that just love the car collection because he had such an amazing collection of cars. probably the biggest part of our collection or the biggest item besides the mansion would be the lisa marie airplane. that's always a big hit. elvis buys the plane in 1975 and uses its over 200 times in two years and as you're driving down
elvis presley boulevard, you can't help but see it. probably one of the pieces i would -- i thought i would never get to see would be the cape that goes with elvis's hawaii concert he wore in 1973. at the end of the show elvis tosses into the audience the cape he had on during the final song. it changed hands a couple of times, was in a private collection when the owner passed, he actually headline it back to the state. the owner passed of cancer. andy. he was in florida. after his passing his mom calls and said andy had something he wanted to donate to graceland and a week later the cape was here. his only condition was that it always be on display and always have his name attached to it. it was pretty amazing. we got that back in 1995 and it was only missing one stone. keeping up with arpkives is not
just displaying things and having things tell stories. there's a lot of care, preservation and restoration work that goes on. we've had several items restored over the years, including original music equipment that's on display in the archives experience. there's also a car that probably was the most difficult thing we did. it was the 1973 substitutes, the last karel vis drove. we worked with a company in north carolina. had the car shimmed there, kind of under hush-hush conditions. it took several months trying to find the right tires and the right parts and everything that as needed to actually do the proper preservation of the car. probably the most challenging part of an archives that contains basically almost everything under the sun is the fact that it canes -- contains
everything under the son-in-law. documents get brittle if they get too dry but they're video footage and film and photography likes to be stored cold and wardrobe likes to be stored at a certain temperature. it's finding that happy medium that keeps everything at the proper preservation level. even though some things like to be colder and some things warmer, having that even balance since we have so many different materials stored in one place and then the perez vacation of it all. our collection is relatively young compared to other collections. we're not restoring 100-year-old silks and we're not doing tapestries that were made several hundred years ago. we're storing and caring for wool gaberdine or 1970 plastic fruit that you see in the
kitchen. that's probably the most challenging is the stability of the collection as far as the material. it's so young, a lot of it is manmade sin netic stuff and people don't know how it's going to react 100 years from now. every collection is different and unique. this collection really tells elvis's complete story. it tells the story of a loving son. it tells the story of a friend, a father, a husband. it tells the story of a teen idol, a hollywood actor, leading man. to the king of rock 'n' roll, basically. it really covers all gap sexuts it really helps give people an insight into who elvis was, not only the personal but also the entertainer. >> we're in front of singer isaac hayes' cadillac in front
of the stacks museum of american history in memphis, history. stacks records was known for putting out records from hayes but also known for being an integrated workplace in the 9 60's south. up next we learn more about the label's history. >> the sound that comes out of those speakers was unlike anything else. while motown might be held, stacks is held but most importantly stax gut. it comes from a place of talent and love but also from a place of working together in a stull, everybody is on equal footing and actually -- equal terms. it's black and white working together and working together as a team. you know it when you hear it. a stax record is a stax record, especially that early stuff and you can pick it out from anything. it's stax, memphis. we are in the stax records of
american film music located only the corner of college and mclemore, the original home of stax records in memphis, tennessee. it's a record label that exitted from about 1957 to 1975. it was first called satellite records and started on the north side of memphis. they reported country singles and his sister realized there might be a future in this. she took out a second mortgage on her house. got a brand-new roareder in brunswick, tennessee. they recorded their first single in 1959 called the belltones. a single called -- ♪ the first black artist he worked with so the light bulb went on and one, realized that maybe this was the type of music he would wants to make even though
he was a country fiddle player by night and a banker by day. but it was the first record he'd made and the first that sold. if they wanted to make r&b records, they wanted to go somewhere whether wr there wasn't an abundance of threablets. they got the old capital theater and transformed it into what eventually became stax records. were ewart and his sister really special people and they understood the power of empowerment. it was a time, obviously in memphis of segdepation if a. a time where blacks and whites really didn't mix if ever, at at all. what they felt was they could create a workplace and environment where people could create freely. where music could happen, the creative arts could happen. where young people would have an
opportunity to not just black and white working together but at a place where young people were paid to make music, paid to work in a record store, paid to stuff envelopes and send things out through the maim. this was their vision all along. they did not see color when it came to hiring please and working with people. -- employees and working with people. they came to this neighborhood and embraced the neighborhood and the neighborhood embraced them back because the door was always open at stax records. they did have an open-door policy. they started off with ruth and carla thomas, who did a single calledment i love you." takes off from there. atlantic records hears ago this great new music that's being made in memphis. they want to distribute this music. they start sending some artists down here but things take off
when a guy named otis redding shows up in 1962 and he steps up to the microphone and sings "kneels arms of mine" and the world goes like this and nothing was the same here at stax sexrorppeds nothing was the same in the world. he becomes the voice and face of stax records in a lot of ways and really was the first crossover artist. playing to white all of a suddens. booker t and the m.g.'s came over. carla thomas and then a guy likes -- named isaac heals shows up. stax records was always a place where civil rights -- it's hard to ignore. it's not like everybody came in through the front door and forgot -- forgot everything that was happenings outside of the world.
a number of artists had gotten drafted and were sent to vietnam. they had issued a couple of songs sort of talking about soldiers' experience in vietnam but really hadn't taken a deep dive into the issues of the day. after april 1968 it was difficult to ignore that anymore with dr. king being assassinated here in memphis and so many stax artists. bell would come into the mix and was working in a position of management with the label. he had marched with dr. king in the 1960's. stax gets flown into the mix right away on april 5 with the unrest in the city. the mayor's offices for the first time sort of acknowledges t is -- stax records and asked them if they could provide any artists to go on the largest black radio station in the area. basically calling the people
down so to speak so the unrest didn't grow in the city and while stax par 'tis pated in that and did their part, it was with a lot of sadness and anger and things began to change here after that. the front door that was always open was closed. so when you see from 1968 and after was stax artists and the company embrace the black community. as bell put it, it was their job to take care of the people who were buying the records and the majority of people who were buying the records were black. can't change my skin ♪ >> so you start to see more of an involvement in civic and community issues here. artists taking stronger political stands on issues. so really you see stax becoming a company that understood
corporate social responsibility before that was even actually a thing. so there's this remarkable story and this remarkable progression that stax undergoals. following soon there after with their severing of their relationship with atlantic records in 1968. stax finds itself as a record company would records, essentially. they had no control over anything they released in partnership with atlantic records. so the other -- only thing they had were alternate tracks or things that were in the vault that they hadn't put out yet and any new artists or new music they could record. stax pull themselves up by their boot straps and embark on a year long campaign to reestablish itself as a powerful player in the recording industry so they start signing new artists and
start signing distribution deals with other label and all these things are happening within very short order and they start turning out more records. so it culminates in early 1969 with something called the soul explosion. a release of 30 singles and 27 albums at one time. completely insane, unprecedented at that time, never happened before and a huge risk by the company to do it but jim stewart and y'all bell had fapets in their -- al bell had faith in their artists anded products. they had a two-weekend party. they sell a few million dollars of stock and reestablish themselves as a label. so from that point in 1969 up til 1972 stax is growing and culminates in the -- concert shows the cultural impact of stax records. >> it is a new day. it is a day of black awareness.
it is a day of black people taking care of black people's business. today we were together. one e unified and on accord. but when we are together, we've got power and we can make decisions. >> they attempt told put on a concert and show that you could bring together a predominantly african-american all of a sudden, a predominantly african-american slate of performers and have it come off peacefully and it's an amazing story. 112,000 people at the l.a. coliseum in august of 1972. $1 to get in. no issues at all throughout the entire event. shaft ♪ is the man -- >> what you see is this remarkable showing of really -- of the black community in a positive light and so many
people in america and really throughout the world but especially in this country had such a negative view of inner city life in black neighborhoods and within black communities and this puts a really positive spin on it and it shows what stax really game became, which is the start of an indidge fouls this african-american art form. of soul and r&b and gospel music. from that points until 1975 it does become a bit of a struggle for the label. essentially they had signed a new agreement with cbs records, columbia records and all this great music they're recording and putting out starts to not get to market. stores aren't able to get product and money is not coming in so stax starts to fall on harmed times. budgets are starting to dry up for arts and for production. some of the distribution deals thatome of the new artists
were trying to break didn't hit so they were grasping at straws through the last part of 1974 and first part of 1975. they're paying people out of their own pockets. goals from about 200 or so employees down to a local two dozen and then december 1975 federal agents show up here and come into the building, tell everybody they have half an hour to get their stuff out. it's a tragic end and an bankrupt, violent end to such a remarkable story and to a company that had done so much good for so many people. so stax closes in 1975. there's a property auction in early 1977. all the equipment gets sold. the mixing boards, the consoles, all the recording equipment, a lot of other things that were here. of course the big things are the master take place. those were sold to fantasy
records and rhino. they started to reissue and some other music. but things that happened in the 1960's, new interest comes back to stax and starts to take off late 1980's, early 1990's. some local philanthropists come together and start soulsville, which is our parent organization now. one of the first things and more important things they did was they start it would stax music committee. an afterschool program serving tween 120 and 130 students grades six through 12 every year. i'm sitting by the dock of the bay ♪ >> and so music academy starts in 2000 and the museum opens in
2003. between 55,000 and 60,000 visitors from all over the world each year. this goes to show the long-lasting impact of this music. inning for a lot of stax artists, it's vindication for the work that they've done, the fact that they can come in here and see their record on the wall, they can see their story told and really come to a place that honors the work they did that had been forgotten for so long. stax's enduring legacy is several fold. obviously the strain a lot of people are drawn to is this idea of an integrated workplace in the segregated south where black and white could work together. for me, it comes back to the opportunity it gave to young people. this is the story of young people given the space and time to do extraordinary things. again, it's understanding the value of a community. understanding that stax would
not exist without memphis. and stax doesn't exist without the black people that live within a few blocks of here. it grows in stature in the city in which the music was made. it only happened here at stax records. only happened here in memphis, tennessee. ♪ >> smetches in the south center part of the united states. right next to the mississippi river. i think memphis is best known for music and food. the blues were period of timed re in -- perfected here in memphis. rock 'n' roll was invedgetted here and soul still defines this city. memphis is roughly 65% african-american. memphis during the civil war was the heart of the confederacy and
was as racist as any city in america. the slave trade was very active here. in part because of the proximity to the mississippi river and the cotton industry was huge here and that was mostly driven by slave labor. jim crow was terrible. here in the early 1900 but one of the good things is memphis was one of the first cities that allowed african-americans to vote and they could vote in the early 1900 but it didn't -- we were not a city of good abold. we were not a city of brotherly love. it was a raceist culture. we struggle with that and still struggle with that to a large portion but in the 1950's and 1960's, the civil rights movement took off here and the leadership here was very strong and integrated the city facilities. we are much more integrated city
than we were. we have a long way to go and let me give you an example. fred davis was one of the first african-americans on the city council. and he told me 25 years ago at a quan is club, that if you add up all the business transaffected in the city, and i'm not talking about just by city government. i'm talking about us going to the grocery store, buying insurance. article the business transaffected in the -- tall business transacted in the city. 1% is transactsed with african-american-owned business. that was 25 years ago. i talked to him a year or two ago. it's still 1% in a city that's 65% african-american. it's not right. it's also not sustainable. it's not good for the future of the stiff. so well to change that number and obviously one of the factors for that low number is racism. we're working on that one
particular issue in memphis at city government. i'm talking about contracting with african-american-owned businesses. we've made it a priority. when i took office, roughly 12% of our contracts went to minority and women-owned businesses. we've doubled that to 24% and we've gotten a lot of national recognition. we need to do more of it. but that's just one example. educational achievement is much high we are white young people as oppose told black young folks and poverty is much higher in the black community than the white community. so we do have a long way to go. i do think we've made tremendous strides in this city and i'm very proud of that fact. mphian. d to be a me but because of the pride i have in the city, i want us to do any better. >> snow.
sitting in the morning sun i'll be sitting when this evening comes atching the ships roll in and then i'll watch 'em roll away again i'm just sitting on the dock of the bay tching the tiled roll away i'm sitting on the dock of the ♪ wasting time >> jlt sitting on the dock of the bay" by otis redding was released by stax records in 1968. up next, we take a driving tour of memphis with music producer boo mitchell to learn how music has shamed the city. >> memphis was the place of a
lot of racial tension but it feels also place of a lot of racial harmony, the musicians in town, nobody cared about your race so the musicians always worked together, even from the earliest times so there was a strong sense of brotherhood amongst musicians, to matter what color you were. >> we took a driving tour of the city with record producer and owner of boom studios, boo mitchell. >> thank you for showing us around today. grammy award winner, producer. you've been a lifelong resident of memphis? >> yes, i've been here all by -- my life. i had a crazy quhilede childhood growing up with the temptations tats house and the doobie brothers and al green and all these cool people. we'll go by the stax museum.
see the civil -- civil rights museum. the lorraine hotel and some cool memphis places. >> shall we go? let's do it. . we're going into the downtown now. >> in is a cool part of town that's just been kind of under development for the past 10 years. so memphis is predominantly black. i think it's maybe 60% african-american and, you know, i think the race relations today are, you know, way cooler than it used to be. memphis is still -- we have a lot of nightclubs and restaurants where you see black and white and, you know, all races, all classes. >> so we're driving onto beale street right now. beale street is kind of known as the main thoroughway for memphis, right?
>> yeah, beale street is -- they call it the home of the blues because this is where b.b. king bluebland and all of the greats came to hone their craft and to get their message out to the world. back in the day it was the whole neighborhood, not just this one street. there were several streets so this is where elvis came to learn how to dance and to do all the things that he did. that was huge influence for blues and rock 'n' roll. beale street today is still -- there's a lot of clubs and shops and and there's still music being pumped out of here seven days a week. it's -- you know, it's a vibrant entertainment district.
it's one of the top tourist spots in tennessee. >> so outside the national civil rights museum or as a lot of people knew it, the lorraine motel. what's noteworthy about what happened here? >> so where the wreath is, that's the site where dr. king was assassinated in 1968. you know, this is an extraordinary museum. it's a huge piece of american history. >> how did people in memphis react to having something like that happen here? >> man, it was -- it was a terrible thing. people were rioting and looting. the city got a lot of the famous musicians and singers and stuff like william bell and others to get on the radio and say hey, guys. let's stop -- stop the rioting, stop the destruction. we're all hurt but now it's time
to come together and figure out ow we can heal and fix these problems. the thing about memphis is that, you know, most of the popular music -- the most influential american music came from memphis. blues, rock 'n' roll, soul. this is what we call soulsville, u.s.a., because it's the area where soul music started and ust -- i mean, in a three-mile radius you have two legendary studios, aretha franklin's birth home. isaac hayes lived down the street. booker t. and the m.g.'s grieve grew up around the corner. so we have stax music committee, the soulsville starter school. the stax museum.
>> and and the stax museum was known for being an integrated workplace when there weren't many in the south. >> exactly and after dr. king was assassinated, that's when the great al bell started doing even more stuff so under al bell's rule, stax became the second largest employer of african-americans in america, next to jet magazine. >> give me an example of some of the music coming out during that civil rights era? >> otis redding was one of the huge successes out of that time period. booker t. and the m.g.'s. the stuff my dad was doing, the willie mitchell combo. there were a lot of groups that are -- that were completely integrated that. spimplet kind of went on into the 1970's. then there was a lot of stuff going on.
the vietnam war was going on in the early 1970's and a lot of the music was -- you know, people were making songs about the war and al green comes along singing this song, hey, let's stay together. what about love? bhoob happiness and i think that started a change in the climate in the country. >> al green is still here. still kind of preaching the message of love. >> yes, still preaching, still clining -- clinging. to see ing on -- road the full gospel tacker knackle. also known as the church of reverend bishop al green. al green was one of the first sell albums. to he may be the last great american soul singer.
>> he's now a bishop in the church here. still singing in the church. i think he struggled with fame in soul music and finally came to turns with hey, there's nothing wrong with singing about love. >> so right now we're coming upon graceland. >> yes, graceland. this is elvis' world. on the right we have the lisa marie, the plane he used to fly around. on the left, graceland itself. you know, speaking of racism and stuff, you know, people wanted to ban elvis when he first came out because they said he was dancing like a black person and they didn't want his records played.
there were certain neighborhoods in memphis that he couldn't move into. elvis was a real pioneer. he went through a lot of stuff, you know, to get his music out and his music heard. >> we've been all over the city. we've seen stax records. we've seen the national civil rights museum. we've seen al green's church. is there somebody you want people to know about snetches for somebody who lives across the country and they've not heard of it. how would you want your city to be represented? >> the city just has a vibe to it that people still come to experience and the memphis vibe is just -- there's a spirit in memphis that just lives here and you feel different here than do you anywhere else. >> our city's tour staff recently travel told memphis, tennessee, to learn about its rich history. learn more on -- about memphis and other stops on