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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Memories in Memphis

Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy lives in the city where he died 30 years ago

Families in search of a vacation destination with tourist attractions, as well as sites for spiritual reflection, can find both in the beautiful Southern city of Memphis, Tenn.

Perched on a bluff overlooking the mighty Mississippi River, the place that bills itself as "the home of the blues and the birthplace of rock 'n' roll" is revered as a musical mecca. Tourists the world over flock here to see historic Beale Street, where W.C. Handy first trumpeted the blues; Sun Studio, which in the 1950s launched the careers of Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley; and, of course, Graceland, Presley's mansion that has become the second most-visited home in America, after the White House.

But Tennessee's largest city--where the population is about equally divided between African Americans and whites--is also struggling to heal deep racial scars. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death. The civil rights leader was assassinated April 4, 1968, on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in downtown Memphis.


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