Banner

Civil Rights Trip: Ulery

Gage Ulery ’18 —During our stop in Memphis, Tennessee, the African American music class made a trip to the Rock’ n’ Soul Museum. This museum included an interactive audio tour that provided us with great information about the formation of blues, R&B, and rock’ n’ roll. Some of the information provided to us was talked thoroughly about in class with Professor Spencer. Before this class and the Memphis stop, I had no idea how important Memphis was to African American rights and music. Memphis radio station WDIA was the first station in the United States to have all African American DJs and was the most popular radio station along Beale Street. Imagine how much different would our radio stations be today if WDIA had not come along. Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Records, would record any person playing any type of music as long as they were good. Dewey Phillips was one of the first white radio DJs to broadcast R&B music to an all-white audience. All of these influential factors played a much larger role in the Civil Rights Movement then I realized. After the music class finished up at the Rock’ n’ Soul Museum, some students walked to the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. This trip was powerful because it put everything we had learned about in previous classes and this class into reality. To think that less than 60 years ago, some groups of people were not treated fairly and killed puts into perspective how messed up our nation was. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to learn more about our past and the Civil Rights Movement that changed the United States of American.