Memphis Heritage Trail Introduces Curriculum On Memphis History

Pilot Program Tested at Kirby High School

 The Memphis Heritage Trail (MHT) is rolling out a pilot educational curriculum this summer featuring the historical locations on the trail. The curriculum’s pilot was tested to entering freshman at Kirby High School’s Summer Institute June 6-9, 2017.

After the pilot is completed and reviewed, plans are in the works for it to be available to Shelby County School teachers this fall. The curriculum roll out will coincide with a MHT smartphone app that will be launched in conjunction with the 50th commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. death, April 2018.

“This is a wonderful accompaniment to the trail,” said Felicia Harris, manager of Planning and Development for the City of Memphis. “This curriculum will teach the youth in our city about our historic people, events and places, and the trail will allow them to see first-hand where history took place. I must thank MHT volunteer Lauren Barksdale, who developed the curriculum, for all of the work she has put into it.” Ms. Barksdale is a history teacher at Kirby High School.

The curriculum, for grades K-12, is broken into four units based on aspects of Memphis heritage and creative devices such as writing, art, graphic design and music. It focuses on figures and events in Memphis history such as Robert Church and the Church legacy, the all-black military units who fought during the Civil War (Fort Pickering) and the legacy of Beale Street.

“We wanted to base the curriculum around what makes up the city’s heritage,” said Barksdale. “There’s no way to tell the story of the city without mentioning the Civil Rights Movement, the Civil War, and our cultural gems. However, we wanted to include lesser

known narratives that make up our heritage that give a full scope of this city’s beauty.”

The MHT is a historic 20-block redevelopment area in downtown Memphis. The project has been in the works since 2008 and includes the area bordered by Beale Street on the north, Main Street on the west, Crump Boulevard on the south and Manassas Street on the east. Buildings within the area are: Clayborn Temple, Mason Temple, Universal Life Building and the National Civil Rights Museum. It is considered the epicenter of African-American history, heritage and culture and will include a walking trail with historical markers.

About MHT

Memphis Heritage Trail is an expansive plan to celebrate the rich business, culture and musical heritage of African-American achievements in Memphis. The project brings historical tourism, urban redevelopment and city-wide pride to important public spaces. The borders are Beale Street, Main Street, Crump Boulevard and Manassas Street. More information is available at http://memphisheritagetrail.com/.