Elvis Presley’s Graceland Estate Graffitied With Black Lives Matter Slogans
Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate has been graffitied with Black Lives Matter slogans, as have several other Memphis landmarks.
The estate is the city’s most popular tourist attraction, and was defaced with messages like ‘Defund the Police’, ‘Abolish ICE’ and ‘BLM’ overnight on Monday, August 31.
The slogans were written in thick black paint along the Elvis Presley Boulevard, as well as on the stone walls of the mansion Elvis lived in for 20 years until his death in 1977. His home officially became a museum in 1982.
The vandalism covered thousands of handwritten messages of love for the late ‘King’, many of which were written while queuing for the annual candlelight vigil for Elvis, reported Commercial Appeal.
By mid-morning yesterday, people had arrived to try remove the graffiti.
Bill Stanley, Elvis’s stepbrother, spoke to local news station WMC5 following the incident. He said, ‘This is totally uncalled for. [It’s] one of the saddest days of my life. I mean, besides the day that Elvis passed away, this right here is right up next to it.’
A spokesperson from Graceland said that they had no comment on the matter.
As well as the Graceland estate, the city’s Levitt Shell and ‘I Heart Memphis’ landmarks were also hit by vandals. At the Levitt Shell, slogans like ‘F*ck Trump’ and ‘F*ck Strickland’ were graffitied, referencing Jim Strickland, Memphis’s mayor. The Shell is where Elvis performed his first public concert in 1954.
The instances of vandalism were discovered on ‘901 Day’, an unofficial celebration of Memphis culture that takes place on September 1. Apparently the landmark has been vandalised six times this year already.
Natalie Wilson, executive director of the nonprofit Levitt Shell, said:
We wake up, excited to celebrate our city on 901 Day, and we see our beautiful historic landmark defaced with messages of pain and that breaks our heart. We’re brokenhearted and devastated by this.
We want to be part of the conversation that helps heal our city. We want to see change happen. But how do we talk together, how do we ensure that the messages we provide are productive? This isn’t productive. People are trying to speak, and I get that, but we’ve got to come up with a better way.
The Shell, which hosts 50 free music concerts every year, has been badly affected by the pandemic and is reportedly facing a $800,000 shortfall. Making things worse, these acts of vandalism prove very costly to remove.
Memphis Police are said to be investigating the incidents.
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