The historic Levitt Shell concert venue in Overton Park was also defaced by vandals in addition to the legendary musician's home.
Image Soure: Twitter/Brad B.
Early Tuesday morning, Elvis Presley's iconic Graceland estate in Memphis was vandalized by protestors with 'Black Lives Matter' and 'Defund the Police' graffiti. The stone wall surrounding the King's mansion along Elvis Presley Boulevard was painted with thick black and orange lettering of protest slogans, according to the Commercial Appeal. It also included phrases like 'Abolish ICE', 'F**k Trump', and 'Defund MPD.' Elvis lived in Graceland for 20 years before his death in August 1977. The place quickly became a signature Memphis landmark and major tourist attraction. In 1982 it officially became a museum, with thousands of fans visiting the property every year and leaving heartfelt tributes for the late King of Rock'n Roll. Now, these tributes have been covered by the spray-painted slogans left by vandals.
Graceland Wall...This is just pure Vandalism! Isn't it ironic Elvis's music had it's roots in Black gospel/ Rhythm & Blues ... pic.twitter.com/oilPB2oxg9— Vince Kennedy (@vincetheprince1) September 1, 2020
According to the New York Post, workers at the museum discovered the graffiti early Tuesday morning and by mid-morning, power-wash equipment was brought out to remove these slogans. Fans of the music icon were outraged seeing the defaced landmark. "We were just driving by this morning and we looked over. We just couldn’t believe it. We were just stunned by it," said Alice Self, while speaking with WMC5. Elvis' stepbrother, Bill Stanley, also expressed his shock and said that he was appalled to know someone would deface the iconic landmark.
I’m sorry but this is wrong, Elvis fans have been going to Graceland for years, writing messages to him or for him, Elvis was a massive reason why black and whites can mix, if you don’t know that you don’t know your history, this is just stupid. https://t.co/OWvUer9vqf— Liam (@Aloharian97) September 1, 2020
"This is totally uncalled for. 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," said Stanley. But not everyone viewed this recent vandalism in the same way. Democratic State Rep. Antonio Parkinson, who had a different take on the issues, said, "What’s the real issue here? Every visitor that has come to Graceland has written on that wall and there were no complaints. So, really, it’s WHAT was written, not the fact that it was written." When a Graceland spokesperson was approached for a statement, they denied commenting on the vandalism.
Okay I'm mad!!! This is Elvis Presley's Graceland! How does this accomplish peace and why is this considered “peaceful”? What am I missing here? - God help us...... pic.twitter.com/1VLPVllHFm— Lorene Wages Whitten (@FairlightDawn) September 1, 2020
The home of the legendary musician was not the only iconic landmark that became the target of vandals in the city. Late Monday, vandals also graffitied the historic Levitt Shell concert venue in Overton Park until the early hours of Tuesday morning. The spray-painted graffiti had similar phrases, including 'F**K TRUMP', 'Eat the Rich', 'F**K STRICKLAND' (a reference to Mayor Jim Strickland), and 'Defund MPD [Memphis Police Department].' On July 30, 1954, Elvis gave his first paid concert in the open-air amphitheater. Apparently, this is the sixth time this year that the concert location had been vandalized, revealed a spokesperson for the Levitt Shell.
Crews are doing unexpected cleanup at two Memphis landmarks Tuesday, after a vandal or vandals spray painted graffiti overnight. https://t.co/RxF9R04V1g— 5NEWS (@5NEWS) September 1, 2020
This comes during a time when the Levitt Shell is already struggling financially, with an $800,000 budget deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Daily Mail. According to Memphis police, the cost of repainting the concert venue could come to around $150,000 as it's a historic location. "That’s why this is such a devastating situation seeing it this morning," said Levitt Shell executive director Natalie Wilson. "It’s getting worse." Although Wilson did not condone the graffiti, she hoped that this historic space could be a place for the community to heal. "Defacing our stage is not appropriate; however, we acknowledge their pain and we want to say to our community 'it’s time the conversations are deeper, they’re more productive and that change happens with good communication,'" said she.
Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate vandalized with graffiti pic.twitter.com/Rh6FUON9b0— CNN Early Start (@EarlyStart) September 2, 2020
Memphis police are currently investigating the vandalism. Many took to Twitter and debated over the identity of the vandals, while some simply expressed their disappointment. Country singer Travis Tritt wrote: Anyone who personally knew Elvis will tell you that he absolutely loved the black community and the black community loved him. It breaks my heart to see his memory tarnished this way. Governor Mike Huckabee shared: They’ve done it now! These anarchist goons have defaced Graceland! Please @realDonaldTrump -federalize the Natl Guard and round up these criminals! Where I come from you don’t mess with Elvis! Elvis Presley's mansion vandalised.
He stole 80% of his music from the black community and he groomed minors. A little paint on the outer wall of his old estate isn't gonna destroy his legacy he's actions will.— Cool kid12943 (@kid12943) September 2, 2020