Note: This is an excerpt from my forthcoming book on the meaning of Memphis fifty years after Martin Luther King, Jr.
In Memphis, “The King” may be Elvis, but the city since April 4, 1968 has been defined by what happened to “A King” on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel outside of room 306.
Like Dallas, Texas, Memphis, Tennessee suffers from a sense of metaphysical guilt over the blood, in this instance, of a King, who came in peace and was slain in its city. No city leader wants this type of tragedy to occur in their geopolitical space. It simply is not good for business; and if not good for business, city leaders walk on eggshells to cleanse their collective guilt for a crime committed within their political subdivision; and some may argue with their acquiescence.