TN Tourism launches new Civil Rights Trail podcast

Visitors view Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last motel room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. The motel now operates as the National Civil Rights Museum. (Photo Courtesy of Tennessee Tourism)

Former Stax Records Executive Al Bell, Memphis’ Heritage Tours Co-Founder Elaine Lee Turner, Historian Dr. Crystal A. deGregory, and Clinton 12 Member Bobby Cain will all appear on episode one of Tennessee Tourism’s new Civil Rights Trail podcast when it premieres on June 20.

Last week, the state Department of Tourist Development (TDTD) and Travel South launched the trailer for the new Tennessee Civil Rights Trail Podcast, a three-episode series where historians and experts explore the most significant events of the Movement that happened in the state during the 1950s and 1960s. The series also features real stories from Civil Rights veterans who were there and who made a difference, and it explains why what took place then is still so relevant today. The first episode is slated to debut on all streaming platforms beginning Wednesday, June 20.

The podcast features lesser-known stories like that of the Lorraine Motel co-owner, Mrs. Lori Bailey, who fell into a coma after a cerebral hemorrhage the night Dr. King was assassinated. She died five days later, the same day Dr. King was laid to rest in Atlanta. Another interesting story revolves around how Nashville’s nickname The Music City. Spoiler: it originated because of the 19th century African American Jubilee Singers from Fisk University, not from country music. The podcast will also explore the relatively unknown story of Clinton 12 member Bobby Cain, the first African American to graduate from a formally segregated high school in the south.

“This podcast dives into difficult conversations directly from the brave men and women who stood up for equal rights,” said Mark Ezell, Commissioner of the Tennessee Dept. of Tourist Development and Secretary/Treasurer of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail Marketing Alliance. “We’re proud to partner with Travel South and help shine a light on the on the triumphant and impactful stories at these Tennessee destinations that helped change the world.”

Episode one will explore the Memphis Civil Rights legacy including the work of Martin Luther Kings Jr., his assassination, and the role of Beale Street’s Stax Records during that time. Episode two, which releases June 27, will discuss Nashville’s Civil Rights legacy and the role of local college students in the movement. The third episode revolving around the Clint High School Legacy will premiere on July 4.

For more information on Tennessee’s 14 stops along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, visit Travelers can also document their visits and redeem their “stamped” passports for prizes, all from their mobile device, using Bandwango. Passports are available online. Join the conversation on social media at #tncivilrightstrail. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only locally-owned newspaper in Lynchburg and also the only woman-owned newspaper in Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}