Memphis: A Modern City With a Storied Past
When you think of Memphis, it may be Elvis and Graceland that come to mind. Or maybe it conjures up images of Beale Street and the blues. Others think of the powerful Mississippi River that flows through town or the city’s role in the history of issues like slavery and the fight for civil rights.
Today’s Memphis is the largest city in all of Tennessee, with a population of 646,889, making it the third largest city in the southeastern United States. The city’s prime central location is responsible for its business development. Situated on the Mississippi River and intersected by several freight railroads and two Interstates, Memphis is home to the Memphis International Airport, which serves as a hub for FedEx and Delta Airlines. It is also home to three Fortune 500 companies: FedEx Corporation, AutoZone Incorporated and International Paper.
Not just a business hub, Memphis has much to offer culturally, with annual events like Memphis in May, the Beale Street Music Festival, The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and festivals celebrating Greek and Italian heritage. Carnival Memphis also comes around each June, bringing with it a series of parties and festivities that salute various aspects of Memphis life and its industries.
Much of American music has its roots in Memphis, from blues and rock ‘n’ roll to gospel and country. Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Isaac Hayes and B.B. King all got their start in Memphis, which is home to the famed Sun Studios. Justin Timberlake also grew up in the Memphis area before going on to succeed in the music and film industries. Well-known writers including novelist John Grisham and Civil War historian Shelby Foote are from the Memphis area, too, which also features prominently in their writing.
Its diverse culture and host of interesting characters makes Memphis a perfect setting for literature, film and song. In the writing of Faulkner and Pulitzer Prize winner Peter Taylor, in films like Walk the Line, The Blind Side and Cast Away, and in tunes by Paul Simon, Marc Cohn, Chuck Berry, U2 and Bob Dylan, Memphis shines.
Whether you’re visiting the historic Peabody Hotel and its famous ducks, gliding down the Mississippi River, strolling along Beale Street or touring Elvis’ beloved Graceland, Memphis has much to offer.