Shown at Civil Rights Museum, Back row l-r :Gemmes Debbie Hirsch, Carmelitar Parham, Jewels Kaylea Arnold, Alayna Mitchell, Shakira Cobb, Bene’ Malone, Majesty Ford, Candance Huff, Gemmes Wanda Miller-Benson, and Pat Rees; Front row l-r: Jewel Mylan Alexander, Gemme Victoria Green, Jewel ShaNiyah Lee, and Gemme Shirley Nix Davis

By Victoria Green

On the early morning of June 16, 22 ladies of the Nashville Chapter of Les Gemmes, Inc. and their young Jewels traveled to Memphis. The journey was very educational. The city of Memphis has a diverse number of phenomenal museums. 

The first museum that we toured was the National Civil Rights Museum at the former Lorraine Motel. The young Jewels experienced the history of the civil rights movement and walked through the area of the motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. 

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music was the second museum that we toured. Stax was a recording studio that produced stars, such as Otis Redding, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Isaac Hayes, Johnnie Taylor, and several other artists. Everyone enjoyed listening to soul music, the musical exhibits, and the beautiful display of Isaac Hayes’s green and gold Cadillac. 

Shown at Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum l-r: Alayna Mitchell, Kaylea Arnold, Bene’ Malone, Candace Huff, Shakira Cobb, Majesty Ford, ShaNiyah Lee, and Mylan Alexander

Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum (Burkle Estate) was the third museum that we toured. Jacob Burkle opened his home to help slaves escape to freedom. We all walked through the door of the Burkle house very attentive to the display of slavery and the underground railroad. We began to receive knowledge of the Burkle family – From Africa before and beyond the middle passage – The meaning of the spiritual songs to freedom – The quilts with codes to escape to freedom – Trap doors – and the secret cellar that provided a “Haven” for the runaway slaves. 

Saturday afternoon we left Memphis and journeyed to Brownsville, TN to the Tina Turner Museum-West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. The fourth and final museum. The highlight of the museum was experiencing the Flagg Grove School, childhood school of Tina Turner. The former one room school currently displays a video of Tina Turner’s educational experience and growing up in Nutbush, Tennessee, gold records, beautiful costumes, and other memorabilia. 

On our way back to Nashville, TN, the Jewels were asked, “What has inspired you the most about your trip to Memphis?” 

Jewel Mylan Alexander stated, I learned about the history of music and slavery.” “The highlights of the trip have been the Slave Haven Museum and the Civil Rights Museum.” 

Jewel Shakira Cobb stated, “I like social studies and History. I especially loved the Slave Haven Museum and the Civil Rights Museum.” 

Jewel Majesty Ford stated, “Civil Rights Museum and Stax Museum. “I really love music and to see where the music originated from.”

Jewel Candance Huff stated, “The accuracy of the historical displays.”  “The Slave Haven Museum being able to see how my ancestors lived in real time and it changed my point of view of my African roots.” “Stax Museum I love Jazz music.” 

Jewel Alayna Mitchell stated, “It was really inspiring to see the different facets of history that black people were apart of.” “Through each generation and historical era black people have been at the forefront of these revolutions.” “Being able to go to Memphis and see different eras of black history was overall an inspiring and empowering experience.” 

The Ladies of Les Gemmes and the Jewels adventure to Memphis was educational, inspirational, motivational, and enjoyable.