Elvis Presley’s Graceland Estate Tagged With Black Lives Matter Graffiti
Elvis Presley's former Memphis home, the legendary Graceland estate, was vandalized in the hours between Monday night (Aug. 31) and Tuesday morning (Sept. 1). Memphis' Commercial Appeal reports that vandals spray-painted the front walls surrounding the property with Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police graffiti overnight.
According to the Commercial Appeal, vandals used black and orange spray paint to write slogans including "Defund MPD" and "BLM" on the sidewalk in front of Graceland along Elvis Presley Boulevard. They also scrawled "#DefundThePolice" and "Abolish ICE" on the sidewalk and the stone wall that surrounds the King of Rock and Roll's former estate, which he bought in 1957 and lived in until his death at the age of 42 on Aug. 16, 1977. Graceland is now a popular tourist attraction in Memphis.
Vandals also hit the Levitt Shell, a popular open-air concert amphitheater located in the Overton Park area of Memphis. The venue was the site of what some historians call the first-ever rock 'n' roll show, according to its official website, when Presley took the stage on July 30, 1954, before the evening's headliner, Slim Whitman. The venue continues to host more than 50 shows each year, and vandals covered it in profanity-laden graffiti that included "F--k Trump" and "F--k Strickland," referring to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, as well as slogans including "Defund MPD," "Eat the Rich" and more.
Vandals also hit the famous "I (Heart) Memphis" mural. The graffiti was discovered on "901 Day," which unofficially celebrates Memphis culture every Sept. 1.
Workers were on the scene at Graceland on Tuesday morning to clean the graffiti off of the stone walls and sidewalk. Graceland spokesperson David Beckwith offered no comment when the Commercial Appeal contacted him via email, while Levitt Shell Executive Director Natalie Wilson says she and her team are "brokenhearted and devastated by this."
"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," she states.
“We want to be part of the conversation that helps heal our city. We want to see change happen," she adds. "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."
It's unclear if anyone involved with the Black Lives Matter movement was responsible for any of the vandalism. Memphis news station WMC Actions News 5 reports that Memphis police are conducting an investigation into the graffiti.
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