f8inmemphis f8inmemphis

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Mike Kerr  f/8, it's an aperture, it lets the light in. And fate, it brought me to Memphis. Puzzled? Google 'f8 and be there.' DM or f8inmemphis (at) gmail.

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It's well past time for Memphis to remove this bronze statue of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, and another of Jefferson Davis, from prominent spots in two downtown city parks. While officials sort out the legal complexities of doing that, police are guarding both locations. Memphis officials are worried about taking action that could violate the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act of 2016, which requires local entities that want to remove or relocate a monument on publicly owned land to first obtain the approval of the Tennessee Historical Commission. In this case, though, bold action could be the best approach: The city should just remove the statues anyway. If someone then chooses to sue the city, bring it on. Some argue that Forrest was a brilliant military commander, but he also was a former slave trader who played a role in the founding of the Ku Klux Klan – and as a Confederate general in 1864, he led the gruesome massacre of surrendered Union troops (black and white) at Fort Pillow, Tennessee. The bodies of Forrest and his wife were exhumed from their graves in Elmwood Cemetery in 1904 and reinterred under the statue in Forrest Park, about two miles away. The family’s plot remains at Elmwood, a 165-year-old cemetery that contains the graves of many Memphis luminaries, including other Confederate veterans. Historical context would be honored if the Forrests’ remains could be returned to their family plot there – along with the statue, if possible. As for the statue of Davis, who lived in Memphis for some years after the Civil War: Simply store it until a new location can be found that gives it the proper context as well, such as a museum or Civil War battlefield. No one is saying that we should destroy these historical monuments. But the fact is, the Civil War was all about slavery. And ask yourself this: If your great-grandfather had been bought and sold like a piece of property, how would you feel about walking past these monuments every day? Be bold, Memphis. Take 'em down. And Trump needs to go, too.

Fans jammed the street in front of Graceland on a muggy Tuesday night for the annual candlelight vigil to mark the anniversary of Elvis Presley's death. The crowd for this year's 40th anniversary appeared to be bigger than in recent years, and security was tightened; everyone entering the area had to pass through a security checkpoint. But the line of fans waiting to walk up to the gravesite looked much shorter than in past years; Graceland officials for the first time were charging people a $28 tour fee for the privilege. Elvis died on Aug. 16, 1977.

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You'll never walk alone in Memphis during August. Look around, there's probably an Elvis tribute artist nearby. Entrants in the 2017 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest were giving it their best hip shake Friday night at the Hard Rock Cafe on Beale Street. Shown in these four photos are Jacob Roman, Fisher Stevens, Mario Kombou and Matthew Boyce.

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It's good to see this place finally getting a little respect, after years of neglect. City government officials put up a sign yesterday at 406 Lucy, the long-abandoned house in South Memphis where Aretha Franklin was born. Here's what the sign says, for those who don't want to pinch and zoom: "Aretha Franklin was born in this house on March 25, 1942, to Baptist Bishop C.L. and Barbara Franklin. Ms. Franklin is an American singer, songwriter and musician. She began her career as a child singing gospel at her father's church, New Salem Baptist, located not far from here on Latham Street. At the age of 18, Ms. Franklin embarked on a secular career. She would leave Memphis and go on to become one of America's greatest singers. Memphis, Tennessee loves and honors our hometown singer the 'Queen of Soul,' Ms. Aretha Franklin." News reports indicate the city is looking for private funding to renovate the house.

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