Archives for USA

Memphis: City of two Kings

Memphis, the biggest city in Tennessee, epitomises the old and new South of the United States. Once a major slave trading centre, in the 1960s it was the focus of civil rights action. Dr Martin Luther King was assassinated there, and the National Civil Rights Museum in the city is his memorial. It has always been, and still is, a major musical centre for blues, country, jazz and rock and roll. Elvis Presley began his career here and he wasn’t the only one. Memphis’s Sun Studios recorded Elvis but can also count Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins among its stars. Later, Stax Records, a label devoted entirely to recording black musicians, had Otis Redding, the Bar-Kays, and Booker T and the MGs creating a special soul sound. View PDF
Read More

Houston: space, history and food

Houston claims the honour of it name being the first word spoken on the moon. Remember what Neil Armstron said: “Houston, the eagle has landed.” Today the Houston Space centre isn’t nearly as important as it once was because the space programme isn’t as important as it once was. It is still the Texan city’s most visited attraction with over a million visitors a year. Thousands of kids, parents, teachers and school parties pour through each day, taking in Mission Control and the displays and exhibits. View PDF
Read More

City’s tale of two kings

Memphis the biggest city in Tennessee, epitomises the old and new South of the United States. Once a major slave-trading centre, in the 1960s it was the focus of civil rights action. Dr Martin Luther King was assassinated there, and the national civil rights museum in the city is his memorial. It has always been a major musical centre for blues, country, jazz and of course rock and roll. The king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley, started there and he wasn’t the only one. View PDF
Read More

Lakes Charles LA, beautiful and quirky

Take a beautiful national park complete with nature trails, wildlife, including alligators and pink cranes, add a beach, some casinos, plenty of local history, some great local food and a rum distillery and you have Lake Charles in southwest Louisiana. Lake Charles is about 2-3 hours drive west of New Orleans and about the same distance east from Houston, Texas. It’s a town of about 100,000 people with its own port, airport and rail connections as well as the interstate highway. View PDF
Read More

48 hours in San Antonio

San Antonio in southwest Texas is a special place, an in- teresting blend of Spanish, Texan and now Mexican influences where the cowboy tradition is strong and the battle cry of “Remember the Alamo’’ still resonates. A visitor can easily fill 48 hours. Begin your day with breakfast: you’ve got choices. It might be Mexican – huevos rancheros, for example – or Texan – eggs, very crispy bacon, breakfast potato in some form, and biscuits with gravy or grits, plain or with cheese, shrimp and more. And coffee. View PDF
Read More

US jurists in civil rights battle

A lawyer is either a social engineer or a parasite; that’s what Thurgood Marshall, the first black person to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, was told as a student. He got the message from another leading black jurist, Charles Hamilton Houston, who was dean of the Howard University Law School in Washington DC when Marshall was a graduate student there in the 1930s. View PDF
Read More

Elvis’s legacy is larger than life

Elvis Presley, the great and enduring cultural icon, singer, actor and performer of the 1950s through the 1970s has now been dead just slightly longer than he was alive. His legacy – seen at his Graceland home and complex in Memphis, Tennessee – is thriving and even better after a multimillion dollar upgrade. View PDF
Read More

Civil rights museums attract

It seems odd, even bizarre, that history of brutal oppression and violence against a whole race of people should be presented as a tourist attraction and perhaps even more bizarre that it should be a successful strategy. That is precisely what’s happening in many Southern cities in the United States as Americans show a new willingness to confront their own past and come to terms with it. View PDF
Read More

Lake Charles Louisiana a secret delight

Take a beautiful national park complete with nature trails, alligators, wildlife in- cluding pink cranes, add a beach, some casinos, plenty of local history, some great local food and a rum distillery and what have you got? Lake Charles in southwest Louisiana, about two to three hours’ drive west of New Or- leans and about the same dis- tance east from Houston in Texas. It’s a town of about 100,000 people with its own port, airport and rail connec- tions, as well as the interstate highway. I had the opportunity to spend 48 hours there breaking my journey from New Orleans to Houston and was entranced by the variety and the beauty. View PDF
Read More