MEMPHIS VS EVERYBODY
Do More in Memphis:
Do More in Memphis:
In a Time Magazine study, Memphis ranked fourth on the list of the top 25 cities where millennials are moving. Part of what makes Memphis a great place to live is that there are job opportunities that allow young professionals the opportunity to advance their careers and gain meaningful work experience - in fact, Glassdoor says Memphis is among the top cities in the country for job opportunities in 2020. Top companies and organizations like FedEx, Autozone, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital being headquartered in Memphis are just a glimpse at the job potential this city has.
Soul. We all know that Memphis is the birthplace of soul music, but this idea is much bigger than that. It's about generosity and kindness, activism and spirit, creativity and curiosity. It's about changemakers and innovators, big ideas and big hearts. In this series, we ask Memphians to define what soul means to them. And yes - you might've seen some of these faces and ideas on billboards around the city! Keep scrolling, keep reading, and when you're done head over to social media and let us know what soul means to you.
Memphis, our soulful home, has one of the most important and interesting histories in all of America. Our home by the river is steeped in moments that define the soul of our beautiful city, and within it a lineage that celebrates and honors the diversity, struggles, and triumphs so deeply ingrained in our culture. Here’s a short history of the Bluff City and some interesting facts you may not have known.
The area that was to become Memphis has always been historically important and notable, finding its humble beginnings more than 200 years before the idea of America was formed.
The first mention of the area that would later become Memphis was first noted in 1541, as the Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto visited the area and encountered the original inhabitants, the Chickasaw Native American tribe. As time went by and the tumultuous beginnings of our Nation began to take shape, both the French and Spanish constructed forts that existed briefly in the area, but ultimately didn’t last. But that all changed in 1797, when the newly minted United States of America built Fort Adams.
In 1819, Memphis was officially founded by future President Andrew Jackson on the land that was previously inhabited by the Chickasaw. As inspiration for naming the city by the river, Memphis was named after the Capital of Inebu-hedj, the first iteration of what would soon become Lower Egypt, which was similarly nestled upon the Nile River. When translated, Memphis means “Place of Good Abode.”
During the Early days of the city, Memphis expanded rapidly, as it was one of the very first and most important hubs of transportation in the nation due to the railroads, river, and central and easy access to the south during a time of booming economic growth. Incorporated in 1826, Memphis played an involved role during the Civil War, originally being part of the confederacy. Captured by a Union navy force on June 6, 1862, Memphis remained occupied by the Union army until the end of the war.
During the 1870s Memphis was struck with an outbreak of Yellow Fever, devastating the city and much of the progress it had made during reconstruction. But from the ashes of this devastation came drastic and necessary reforms and advancements that would bring the city back to life, bolstered greatly by the growth of a new emerging market for hardwood. The need for these building materials furthered the advancement and importance of Memphis as a transportation hub, as this much sought-after resource needed to be distributed around America.
As America moved forward into the new century and the hardwood and cotton industries went on to become the world’s largest markets for both commodities, Memphis grew into one of largest and most important distribution hubs in the world.
Memphis was one of the most important and notable cities during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Tragically, in 1968 while supporting workers in the sanitation department of Memphis, the great Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. In 1991, the motel was turned into the National Civil Rights Museum, memorializing the history of our nation’s struggle for civil rights. Dr. King’s room has been preserved as a reminder of the man who inspired and pushed forward the movement for equality.
The History of Memphis wouldn’t be complete without mentioning its singular importance in music and cultural history. Memphis is known as home of the Blues, Soul, and Rock ‘n’ Roll. The hallowed ground of Sun Studio, a famed and legendary music recording studio and distributor, launched the careers of countless blues musicians including B.B. King and the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll himself, Elvis Presley. After the death of Elvis in 1977, his incredible Graceland Mansion became a shrine to the fallen musician and was opened to the public in 1982.
Memphis was also the home of some of the most notable Soul musicians in history, with major talents such as Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and Al Green finding themselves recording and calling Memphis home. In fact, Memphis was a place where musicians of all faiths and races came together to create music that changed the world – and that’s the true legacy of Memphis music.
Memphis has always been a city of changemakers, legends, and innovators. The importance of our city’s history, individuals, and contributions to the fabric of the American tapestry cannot be understated. From musicians who changed the way the world hears music to becoming the pork BBQ Capital of the world, Memphis is authentic, original, and just getting started. Here are a few of the most notable events, people, organizations, and historic moments that have roots in Memphis. Enjoy a bit of our history and those who made Memphis what it is today.