Brownsville Heritage Tours
Brownsville Heritage Tour
The story of Brownsville is the story of people, places, music, and, above all else, cotton. That story stretches all the way back to the 1820s when the rich, fertile frontier of West Tennessee’s coastal Mississippi River plains attracted the area’s first settlers. For most of those earliest pioneers, it was far from easy. The men and women, both black and white, who either ventured on their own or were brought west labored to create a new community just a few miles from the banks of the Hatchie River, what is still one of the last wild and unbridled tributaries of the mighty Mississippi. In the process, they built homes, families, schools, and businesses. They created new churches and new congregations. Most were in search of a better life, some fought for their freedom against a current of unpopular change, and all struggled during hard times. Today, Brownsville’s historic landscape reflects the transformation of almost two centuries of rural and community life in West Tennessee. There are four historic districts and 450 historic properties. From the cotton fields to the courthouse, you can not only see and hear Brownsville’s story, you can experience.
Cotton Junction Trail
The Cotton Junction Trail leads travellers on a journey around West Tennessee to hear the stories of early pioneers, railroad heroes, the reign of “King Cotton,” the struggles of slaves and sharecroppers, and more.
The musical heritage on this trail is as rich as the soil. Learn about blues legends, rock-a-billy heroes, and international icons like the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll” herself – Tina Turner – who have called this area home.
Americana Music Triangle
If you’re coming into Memphis after traveling the Delta Highway portion of the trail, this route is a natural next chapter in the coming-of-age story of American music. The city itself is a musical time capsule, and its heart was (and many argue, still is) Beale Street, where merchants and musicians traveling the Mississippi in the mid-1800s played, influenced and borrowed stylistically from one another. During its original heyday it was the center of African-American culture in the U.S. Beale was the spot to be entertained, earn a living, gamble your earnings, and engage in all manner of illegal activities. It was this cultural mix that laid the foundation for an ongoing evolution of sound and style, as blues, jazz, R&B and gospel music collided, combined and borrowed from each other to create sounds that couldn’t have happened anywhere else, or at any other time. In 1950s Memphis, after brewing for decades, that complex mix of style, sound and genre would become the fuel for America’s best-known export: rock and roll.
As the Civil Rights movement took hold in the American South during the 1960s, the history made on this part of the Gold Record Road changed the world forever. Memphis became the national stage for more than just music; in turn, the music of Memphis was so much more than just a soundtrack. Music dramatically transformed the social landscape, giving people access to each other, and to opposite points of view during one of the most turbulent times in the country’s history. It provided a common language that did more to integrate blacks and whites in the Southern U.S. than perhaps any other cultural force of the time, bringing people together in the studio, on the dance floor and in everyday life. For more information please visit here.