U.S. Civil Rights Trail Panel Discussion, Music, & Book Signing uscrt logo smaller


Stax Museum of American Soul Music
926 E. McLemore Ave, Memphis, TN, 38106, United States

U.S. Civil Rights Trail Panel Discussion, Music, & Book Signing

August 2 @ 2:00 pm – August 2 @ 4:00 pm
Admission: FREE for Shelby County Residents

Churches, schools, homes and landmarks where Black Tennesseans fought for fundamental freedoms during the civil rights era are now the centerpiece of The Official U.S. Civil Rights Trail Book, which will be introduced to the Memphis community during a public program at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music on Tuesday, August 2 from 2 to 4 p.m. CT. Museum admission for Shelby County residents is free on Tuesday afternoons between 1 and 5 p.m.

Soulsville Foundation Deputy Director Pat Mitchell Worley will moderate a panel discussion that spotlights the city’s significant role in the civil rights movement, discuss the importance of preserving historic landmarks and celebrate recent Tennessee additions to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.

The program will begin at 2 p.m. when Stax Music Academy students honor musicians from the period by performing songs first recorded at Stax Records. Following the panel discussion, Lee Sentell will sell and sign copies of his book to benefit the Stax Museum. The Official U.S. Civil Rights Trail Book, a 128-page page hardcover book, includes an entire section devoted to Memphis’s role in the movement as one of the 14 cities profiled.

“My sisters and I were actively involved in Memphis’s civil rights movement throughout the 1960s,” said Elaine Lee Turner. “What began as regular sit-ins, which usually consisted of the Lee family, became marches from Memphis to Jackson, MS, alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists. The peace that Dr. King exuded gave us the courage and confidence to continue being part of this brave movement. Today, that sense of peace and pride remains with me in my work to educate the Memphis community and our visitors about our city’s rich civil rights legacy.”

To kick off Black History Month in 2022, tourism officials joined together to announce several new landmarks along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, including the Stax Museum. Situated on the former site of Stax Records, the tiny movie-theater-turned-recording-studio in South Memphis produced numerous hits that continue to stir souls today.

“Stax is a phenomenal destination and, through the power of the music of the movement, visitors can learn about the Civil Rights legacy,” said Mark Ezell, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and secretary/treasurer of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail Marketing Alliance. “The history of Stax Records is moving and as important to Tennessee as rock and roll, blues, country, gospel and other genres for which the state is known internationally. Stax also interprets an important story about inclusion, successful integration, Civil Rights and African American achievements. What happened in Tennessee changed the world. We’re proud to include Stax along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail and draw thousands of visitors from around the world.”

Tennessee Tourism also teamed up with Travel South and Ingredient Creative on a mini podcast series about the state’s civil rights legacy. In episode one, listeners can learn more about Memphis, the role of music and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work and legacy.

In addition to the museum, the trail features five other Memphis landmarks, including the National Civil Rights Museum, Clayborn Temple, WDIA Radio Station, Mason Temple Church of God in Christ and Beale Street Historic District, all of which played instrumental roles in the local movement.

“Memphis has a deep and complex civil rights history, and, as an educator for more than 20 years, I’m grateful to work at the National Civil Rights Museum, where we provide a sacred space for visitors to interrogate this history,” said Dr. Russell Wigginton, president of the National Civil Rights Museum. “At the museum, it is our responsibility to continue honoring Dr. King and others who fought for civil rights and social justice. We also are committed to making those experiences relevant today and tomorrow as our nation and world continue the journey to be a more inclusive, equitable place.”

Designed to bring to life the stories and history of the American civil rights movement, the hardcover book showcases more than 200 iconic photographs captured by former Southern Living photographer Art Meripol. The Memphis chapter guides readers through local demonstrations on Beale Street, Dr. King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech and his tragic assassination at the Lorraine Motel.

Sentell, who authored the book in 2021 and has served as Alabama tourism director for nearly 20 years, began organizing the trail in partnership with 14 neighboring state tourism agencies in 2007, making the trail the first of its kind. The trail has garnered regional and international acclaim since its 2018 launch.

“I’m honored to speak with civil rights educators and foot soldiers at the Stax Museum where Black and white artists worked together to create music during an era of egregious segregation and racism in Memphis,” said Lee Sentell. “A newly added trail site, the Stax Museum offers an incredible collection of remarkable stories through the lens of music that will continue to attract local, national and international visitors to Memphis while traveling along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.”

The U.S. Civil Rights Trail book was published by Alabama Media Group in partnership with the Alabama Tourism Department. Proceeds will benefit a campaign to install LED lighting to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. The book is available for purchase directly through Alabama Media Group and via Amazon, at the King Center and various retailers along the trail. Travelers can also find copies of the book at Hudson Books in select airports including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport.

For more information about the book or to plan your journey on the trail, visit civilrightstrail.com. For more information on Tennessee stops along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, visit www.TNcivilrightstrail.com.

About the Stax Museum of American Soul Music

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music, located at the original site of Stax Records in the Memphis neighborhood known as Soulsville USA, interprets the unique story of Stax Records, as well as that of various other American soul music record labels. A site on the United States Civil Rights Trail, the Stax Museum features interactive exhibits, films, music, and more than 3,000 artifacts including stage costumes, instruments, vintage recording equipment, photographs, records, and personal items that belonged to stars such as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, and the Staple Singers. It also houses permanent exhibits including a recreation of the original Stax recording studio, a dance floor, a circa-1906 country church, and Isaac Hayes’ 1972 Peacock-blue, gold-trimmed, fur-lined Cadillac Eldorado.

About The U.S. Civil Rights Trail

The U.S. Civil Rights Trail is a collection of more than 135 churches, courthouses, schools, museums and other landmarks across 15 Southern states where fearless activists played pivotal roles in advancing social justice in the 1950s and 1960s. It was the movement that changed America. Get the official U.S. Civil Rights Trail book and take a journey through school integration, protest marches, freedom rides and sit-ins. For more information about the book or to plan your journey on the trail, visit civilrightstrail.com.