Walking In Memphis: HuffPost’s Listen To America Tour Stops In Tennessee

Jenna Amatulli

Memphis, Tennessee, is a city that one local described to us as “raw and diverse.” In the four days that Listen to America, HuffPost’s 25-city tour around the U.S., spent there, all that and more proved to be true.

The place is named after an ancient Egyptian city that fell into ruin, leaving in its wake monuments and traces of the influential figures who once called the place home. Like its African counterpart, this Memphis carries the weighted history of powerhouses ― in its case, Martin Luther King Jr., whose messages still echo in the ears of Americans everywhere and who was assassinated at the Lorraine Hotel, and Elvis Presley, who changed the music world irrevocably. 

We listened to and chatted with locals and visitors alike at the vibrant new Crosstown Concourse. We hosted a lively discussion about economic justice in the storied Clayborn Temple, the meeting point for the sanitation workers’ strike of 1968, which King came to Memphis to support.

With sites like the temple, the National Civil Rights Museum and Graceland, Memphis has clearly not forgotten where it came from, and we will certainly not forget Memphis. Here’s what our time there looked like:

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The HuffPost tour bus arrives in Memphis, Tennessee, on Sept. 17, 2017, as part of "Listen To America: A HuffPost Road Trip." The outlet will visit more than 20 cities on its tour across the country.

The HuffPost tour bus sits in front of the Tennessee Welcome Center.

HuffPost staffers (from left to right: Christine Roberts, Melissa Radzimski, Emma Gray and Ja'han Jones) make their way to the bus activation site.

Emma Gray and Christine Roberts chat with guests during the HuffPost visit to Memphis.

Reggie Davis, left, and Andy Nix sign up to go on the HuffPost bus.

Dancer Jared Brunson shows off some his dance moves.

Jenna Amatulli interviews Reggie Davis, left, and Andy Nix.

Jamie Harmon speaks to reporters at one of the HuffPost video stations.

A storm descends on the bus.

Staffers run to break down tents as a storm rolls in, flipping over tents and equipment.

Hillary Frey helps clean up the site.

The facade of Clayborn Temple in Memphis on Sept. 18, 2017. 

The HuffPost bus sits by Clayborn Temple.

The stained glass windows of Clayborn Temple in Memphis.

The inside of Clayborn Temple.

Sunlight reflects through Clayborn Temple.

Hillary Frey introduces the "€œEconomic Justice in the City (Revisited)" event at Clayborn Temple.

"Wealth is insurance against life's emergencies," says Wendi C. Thomas as she begins the panel discussion with Alex Matlock, Floyd Tyler, Jozelle Booker and Carolyn Hardy.

Floyd Tyler jokes with other panelists.

"We had 85 people deported [in Tennessee last month]. ... They were pulled out of their homes. It's happening in 2017," says Alex Matlock, as she speaks to the crowd about the uncertainty surrounding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the repercussions for the Latin community in Memphis.

The crowd in attendance at the Clayborn Temple.

"No one believed a black female wanted to buy a 1,003,000-square-foot brewery," says Carolyn Hardy, as she speaks to the crowd about shattering expectations as a woman in business.

"People of color, like people of any other color, start businesses and they work in those businesses, day in and day out for those businesses to grow. ... All with the intention and the hope of being beneficiaries to America's promise: Prosperity for all," Jozelle Booker says to the crowd.

Madeline Faber of Memphis' High Ground News speaks during the "€œEconomic Justice in the City (Revisited)" event.

The setting sun in Memphis.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.