Sweeping photographs portraying the rebirth and rise of modern Memphis, Tennessee
Residents and visitors know the city of Memphis by many names--Bluff City, Big Shelby, Blues City, and the Good Samaritan of the Mississippi.
In this new book of 122 full-color photographs, Larry E. McPherson captures the history and sense of place that make Memphis what it is often called today, the Crossroads of the Mid-South.
Memphis brings to life the streets, buildings, and outskirts of the river-powered city where sumptuous homes of cotton planters verged on rough shanties of slaves and later poor blacks, dock workers, and boatmen.
McPherson's Memphis is an artistic rendering of the city's soul. His full-color photographs tap the entrepreneurial and creative energy of Sun Studios, Beale Street, Graceland, Cotton Row, and Federal Express. They focus on civil rights history in photographs of the Lorraine Motel, Mason Temple, and City Hall.
This photographic panorama comprises all areas in and around Memphis--the downtown, the midtown, the suburbs, nearby farms, and surrounding natural areas along the Mississippi and Wolf rivers--and draws attention to the complex relationship between urban development and natural environment.
The photographs include locations important to business, architecture, musical heritage, and the legacy of civil rights. Scenes of road building, suburban development, and the revitalization of the downtown dramatize the city's dynamic change in the twentieth century. In accompanying captions, the photographer turns an extra lens on history.
Giving an overview to the splendid photography, the introductory essay by Charles Reagan Wilson, an esteemed scholar of southern cultures, recounts the history of the city's development and connects Memphis to the heart of the Mid-South.
Larry E. McPherson is associate professor of art at the University of Memphis. His photographs have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Charles Reagan Wilson is director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.