NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Feb. 1, 2022 – Today, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development (TDTD) and Travel South announced the addition of two new sites and one expansion along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, including the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville and Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis. The new additions join other landmarks for a total of 14 Tennessee stops on the trail.
“What happened in Tennessee changed the world and through the power of music of the movement, visitors can learn about that legacy at world-class destinations like Stax and NMAAM,” said Mark Ezell, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Secretary/Treasurer of the U.S Civil Rights Trail Marketing Alliance. “Visitors can walk in the footsteps of the brave men and women who stood up for equal rights. Our state’s history and heritage shine a light on the triumphant and impactful stories at these destinations.”
The National Museum of African American Music, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary, is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the many music genres created, influenced and inspired by African Americans. The “One Nation Under a Groove” gallery is focused on how music inspired the Civil Rights Movement and evolved with the issues of the day. Educational programs, programming and events spotlight the achievements and influences of African American music.
“From the covert messages embedded in ‘Wade in the Water’ to the stirring melodies of ‘What’s Going On,’ African American music has provided the soundtrack for Civil Rights Movements in the United States,” says H. Beecher Hicks, President, and CEO of the National Museum of African American Music. “We are proud to continue our work in preserving and celebrating African Americans’ contributions and influence on the American Soundtrack.”
In Memphis, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, located on the original site of Stax Records studio since 2003, pays special tribute to the artists who recorded there, as well as other American soul legends. Many of the artists and musicians who recorded at Stax were from the surrounding neighborhood, local churches and schools. In a time when racial tension was high, the studio was integrated from day one, focusing on producing its own sound, a Memphis sound. Today, Stax launched its second annual Virtual Black History Month Tour, which is available at no cost to educators and students throughout the world.
"Our launch of the Stax Museum's Virtual Black History Month Tour couldn't be more in line with the announcement that the museum is now being added as an iconic location on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail," said Stax Museum Executive Director Jeff Kollath. "More than just a label that recorded some of the most indelible, timeless music in history, Stax Records provided a company culture that was inclusive and where people of all races and genders worked together like family at a time of extreme racism and sexism in the United States and particularly in Memphis and the South. Both our new status on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail and the launch of our Virtual Black History Month tour reflect that rich history and how it still applies to current events."
The Stax Museum will hold a special, in-person event Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022, 7-9 p.m., during which it will premiere the virtual tour and host live music and an interview with former Stax Records owner Al Bell. The event is free and open to the public.
Another Memphis site along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail is Clayborn Temple, is now expanded to include “I AM A MAN” Plaza, which features a sculpture alongside a wall filled with the names of those who participated and rallied in the historic 1968 Memphis sanitization strikes.
For more information on Tennessee stops along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, visit www.TNcivilrightstrail.com. Travelers can also document their visits and redeem their “stamped” passports for prizes, all from their mobile device, using Bandwango. Passports are available online.
The U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which debuted in 2018, includes more than 120 sites that were significant to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s - a collection of churches, courthouses, schools, museums and other landmarks primarily in the Southern states where activists challenged segregation in the 1950s and 1960s to advance social justice. The people, locations and destinations included in the Civil Rights Trail provide a way for families, travelers and educators to experience history firsthand and tell the story of how “what happened here changed the world.” Discover each landmark’s importance, watch interviews with foot soldiers and heroes of the movement, check out an interactive map, past and present photographs and 360-degree special video features. Chart the course of the movement and learn about the full trail and other states’ sites at www.civilrightstrail.com.
The U.S. Civil Rights Trail also recently launched a podcast. The series includes half-hour interviews with historians and experts who explore some of the most significant events of the Movement. The podcast series about Tennessee will debut in June, during Black Music Month, and can be found on streaming sites, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Amazon.
ABOUT TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF TOURIST DEVELOPMENT
Tennessee is the home of the blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly, and rock ‘n’ roll— delivering an unparalleled experience of beauty, history, and family adventure, infused with music, that creates a vacation that is the “Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” Explore more at tnvacation.com and join other Tennessee travelers by following “TNVacation” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, and “Tennessee” on Snapchat.
Mary Katelyn Price
ABOUT STAX MUSEUM OF AMERICAN SOUL MUSIC
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music, located at the original site of Stax Records in the Memphis, Tennessee neighborhood known as Soulsville USA, is an international tourist destination and a community-based museum that offers a wide variety of free programming throughout the year. In addition to permanent exhibits including Isaac Hayes' 1972 gold-trimmed Cadillac, a dance floor, a circa-1906 Mississippi Delta church, and a replica of the original Stax recording studio, the museum interprets the unique story of Stax Records and American soul music through interactive exhibits, videos, photographs, stage costumes, records, instruments and recording equipment that were used to create the Stax sound, and more than 2,500 items of memorabilia, all highlighting the stories of artists such as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, Sam & Dave, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Al Green, Ike & Tina Turner, and hundreds of others.
The National Museum of African American Music is the only museum in the world dedicated solely to preserving African American music traditions and celebrating the central role African Americans have played in shaping American music. Based in Nashville, Tenn., the museum shares the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to honor the musical heroes of African American music of the past and the present. For more information, please visit www.blackmusicmuseum.org.