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Elvis, King and X

Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:56 pm

Since this is MLK Day, I'm curious to know a few things related to Elvis and the Civil Rights Movement. In an interview with Elvis' ex girlfriend Linda Thompson on Larry King Live she said that he was a big fan of MLK and loved the tone in his voice and that Elvis was also Civil Rights activist. So my questions are:

Did Elvis ever meet Dr. King or speak of him other than through the song If I Can Dream?

What did Elvis think of the racist Malcolm X and his hatred for whites?

Did Elvis ever stand up against racism publicly?

What was his views on the Klu Klux Klan being from the deep south?

What would he think of Obama and tomorrow being the inauguration for the first black president?

Let me make it clear that i do not support Barack Obama but I will stand behind him as our president and hope and pray he knows what he's doing.

Re: Elvis, King and X

Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:52 pm

elvisallc wrote:Since this is MLK Day, I'm curious to know a few things related to Elvis and the Civil Rights Movement. In an interview with Elvis' ex girlfriend Linda Thompson on Larry King Live she said that he was a big fan of MLK and loved the tone in his voice and that Elvis was also Civil Rights activist. So my questions are:

Did Elvis ever meet Dr. King or speak of him other than through the song If I Can Dream?

What did Elvis think of the racist Malcolm X and his hatred for whites?

Did Elvis ever stand up against racism publicly?

What was his views on the Klu Klux Klan being from the deep south?

What would he think of Obama and tomorrow being the inauguration for the first black president?

Let me make it clear that i do not support Barack Obama but I will stand behind him as our president and hope and pray he knows what he's doing.


Elvis never met MLK. We all know EP wasnt racist
He stand publicly against racism because he sang with the sweet inspirations ( and i think he had a problem once in Houston ). One can deduct he was against Klu Klux Klan. Elvis & Tom Parker only wanted the show to be sold-out. You know in the 60's , There were many little events that turned controversial like :arrow: During one tv show, Petula clark touched harry Belafonte's arm and this "interracial contact" was considered taboo or Sammy Davis who married a white woman etc ...

Re: Elvis, King and X

Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:13 am

Elvis Presley liked Martin Luther King very very much. Jerry Schilling said so in his Book.

Re: Elvis, King and X

Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:14 am

Thanks for those replies. My grandma came up in that time and she was telling em that it was Elvis who changed a lot of white Americans minds towards blacks back int he 50's with his music and being photographed with them so much. I didn't know that. It's a shame that Elvis never got to meet Dr. King. I bet it would have made him proud. He seemed to be a caring and loving man who fought for equal rights for all man kind, not just blacks and I admire him for that and his courageous efforts.

When I first heard If I Can Dream I thought then how similar it was to Dr King's I Have A Dream speech. Then realised it was about that. I never thought of Elvis disliking blacks as most white southerners did back then, especially because of how he presented his music. Pat Boone stole from Little Richard by trying to make Tuti Fruiti sound white while Little's version was the original. Elvis' version was kept in the same feel as Little's version which I respect and appreciate as a fan of both. Just think o all the cars he gave away to those poor blacks in the south. How many multi-millionaire rappers do you know of today that does that even for their own?

I think it's sad though how blacks today discredit Elvis for all he achieved and did for them by breaking down racial barriers. Just imagine what it would have been like had Elvis Presley never came around and did that? Would the Civil Rights Movement ever have even taken place, at least at that time of the 50's?

Re: Elvis, King and X

Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:20 am

Yes ideed Elvis was such a close follower of Martin Luther King that he made sure he sang "If I Can Dream" at every concert he made!

Get off the grass folks, there is no evidence that Elvis had any strong pro feelings to Kings idealls and considering his Memphis background it would be highly unlikely.

What's the proportion black/white in Memphis? Compare that to the number of blacks in the Memphis mafia!

Re: Elvis, King and X

Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:45 am

KiwiAlan wrote:Yes ideed Elvis was such a close follower of Martin Luther King that he made sure he sang "If I Can Dream" at every concert he made!

Get off the grass folks, there is no evidence that Elvis had any strong pro feelings to Kings idealls and considering his Memphis background it would be highly unlikely.

What's the proportion black/white in Memphis? Compare that to the number of blacks in the Memphis mafia!


Had Elvis had ever had any blacks in his inner circle in that day and time he would have been taken out just like Kennedy and King was. It was considered breaking the law back then to even associate with blacks or be seen crossing the street with them. Black musicians had to sneak out the back of studios not to be seen with their white counterparts in fear of their lives. In school, I've done my history research on the Civil Rights Movement and its activists like King and Medgar Evers, who oh btw, Elvis is said to have once written him a check in support of his campaign as the first black congressman in the state of Mississippi. The check's supposedly on display at a museum in Mississippi.

According to Linda Thompson AND Priscilla Presley, Elvis was a MLK supporter and cried when he died. I knew all that which led me to my set of questions surrounding King and Elvis. I also find it hard to believe that if Elvis were racist (as some think) or not in support of King that he would never have recorded nor suggest the song If I Can Dream which was written in honor of King's historical legendary speech at the March on Washington.

I've also read either on here or somewhere else that Elvis never did the song live because he couldn't match the energy level that he put into the original recording or performance and it would take too much out of him to sing it live during a concert. If you watch the ending of that phenomenal performance, arguably his greatest performance he ever gave, he's out of breath as he says "thank you and good night". I can see why, and because it was also meant as a message song of hope and peace at a time when that year was one of the worst in history.


Let me add that Lind also said he would recite King's speech word for word. So he must have followed his words closer than you think.

Re: Elvis, King and X

Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:32 am

Well, I'm no expert but I'll try to answer your questions as best I can:

1 Did Elvis ever meet Dr. King or speak of him other than through the song If I Can Dream?
I don't think Elvis ever personally met MLK but I believe he did speak of him on at least a couple of occasions. Steve Binder has mentioned that Elvis spoke about MLK after the death of RFK and said how sad he was that he should have been killed in Memphis. It was Elvis' opinion, apparently that this would merely propogate the general impression that the south was full of racists.

Elvis co-star, Celeste Yarnall (http://www.gomemphis.com/news/2008/aug/ ... -a-little/) offers this insight:
"Live a Little, Love a Little" was shot in the early spring of 1968. "At this time, Martin Luther King's funeral was being televised, and Elvis was very broken up," Yarnall said. "We watched the funeral in his dressing room and he sang 'Amazing Grace,' a capella, and he was crying and I was comforting him. He felt very strongly that he would have liked to have attended. He was very broken up that (the assassination) had occurred in Memphis, of all places -- the city that he loved more than any other place on the planet."

2 What did Elvis think of the racist Malcolm X and his hatred for whites?
There's no record of Elvis' opinion on this as far as I'm aware. I believe that MX recanted his extreme views towards the end of his life: does this still make him a racist?

3 Did Elvis ever stand up against racism publicly?
The only episode of which I'm aware is the well-documented hotel incident with the Sweet Inspirations. However, though I'm not as well read as some, I don't recall reading a single documented incident regarding Elvis having offered a rascist view or comment (please correct me if I'm mistaken). Bearing in mind some of the stuff that's come to light over the years, I find that a telling point.

4 What was his views on the Klu Klux Klan being from the deep south?
Not documented, as far as I know but I can't imagine him feeling anything but embarrassment, particularly regarding the information given in 1.

5 What would he think of Obama and tomorrow being the inauguration for the first black president?
I don't think any of us can speak for Elvis on this ... however, he might have really liked him if he'd been able to obtain for Elvis a brand new shiny DEA badge ...

Re: Elvis, King and X

Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:28 am

George Smith wrote:Well, I'm no expert but I'll try to answer your questions as best I can:

1 Did Elvis ever meet Dr. King or speak of him other than through the song If I Can Dream?
I don't think Elvis ever personally met MLK but I believe he did speak of him on at least a couple of occasions. Steve Binder has mentioned that Elvis spoke about MLK after the death of RFK and said how sad he was that he should have been killed in Memphis. It was Elvis' opinion, apparently that this would merely propogate the general impression that the south was full of racists.

Elvis co-star, Celeste Yarnall (http://www.gomemphis.com/news/2008/aug/ ... -a-little/) offers this insight:
"Live a Little, Love a Little" was shot in the early spring of 1968. "At this time, Martin Luther King's funeral was being televised, and Elvis was very broken up," Yarnall said. "We watched the funeral in his dressing room and he sang 'Amazing Grace,' a capella, and he was crying and I was comforting him. He felt very strongly that he would have liked to have attended. He was very broken up that (the assassination) had occurred in Memphis, of all places -- the city that he loved more than any other place on the planet."

2 What did Elvis think of the racist Malcolm X and his hatred for whites?
There's no record of Elvis' opinion on this as far as I'm aware. I believe that MX recanted his extreme views towards the end of his life: does this still make him a racist?

3 Did Elvis ever stand up against racism publicly?
The only episode of which I'm aware is the well-documented hotel incident with the Sweet Inspirations. However, though I'm not as well read as some, I don't recall reading a single documented incident regarding Elvis having offered a rascist view or comment (please correct me if I'm mistaken). Bearing in mind some of the stuff that's come to light over the years, I find that a telling point.

4 What was his views on the Klu Klux Klan being from the deep south?
Not documented, as far as I know but I can't imagine him feeling anything but embarrassment, particularly regarding the information given in 1.

5 What would he think of Obama and tomorrow being the inauguration for the first black president?
I don't think any of us can speak for Elvis on this ... however, he might have really liked him if he'd been able to obtain for Elvis a brand new shiny DEA badge ...


Thanks for answering my questions and for that link! :D I had a black classmate the other day tell me that Elvis was racist and was friends with KKK supporter J Edger Hoover, the racist FBI leader who criticised King and called him the worst liar in America. But truth is, Hoover criticised Elvis as well and labeled him as being a threat to American society with his race mixing and sexual exposuire to young men and women. It's amazing how rumors can be taken as facts. :roll:

Re: Elvis, King and X

Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:31 am

elvisallc wrote:
Thanks for answering my questions and for that link! :D I had a black classmate the other day tell me that Elvis was racist and was friends with KKK supporter J Edger Hoover, the racist FBI leader who criticised King and called him the worst liar in America. But truth is, Hoover criticised Elvis as well and labeled him as being a threat to American society with his race mixing and sexual exposuire to young men and women. It's amazing how rumors can be taken as facts. :roll:


No stop now please! I'm nearly always the first to stick up for you when certain members have a pop at you, but you've just ruined it with this post I'm afraid.

Re: Elvis, King and X

Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:49 am

Little Darlin wrote:
elvisallc wrote:
Thanks for answering my questions and for that link! :D I had a black classmate the other day tell me that Elvis was racist and was friends with KKK supporter J Edger Hoover, the racist FBI leader who criticised King and called him the worst liar in America. But truth is, Hoover criticised Elvis as well and labeled him as being a threat to American society with his race mixing and sexual exposuire to young men and women. It's amazing how rumors can be taken as facts. :roll:


No stop now please! I'm nearly always the first to stick up for you when certain members have a pop at you, but you've just ruined it with this post I'm afraid.
What did I say? I did have a black classmate that said that about Elvis and Hoover. I didn't make it up. :?

Re: Elvis, King and X

Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:32 am

Very odd post, but let me dive right in anyway.

elvisallc wrote:Did Elvis ever meet Dr. King or speak of him other than through the song If I Can Dream?

Yes -- privately he expressed great respect for the man.

What did Elvis think of the racist Malcolm X and his hatred for whites?

You have no idea what you are talking about. You need to educate yourself.

A decent starting point is Alex Haley's book -->
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autobiography_of_Malcolm_X

Did Elvis ever stand up against racism publicly?

Yes.

What was his views on the Klu Klux Klan being from the deep south?

Unknown, but not likely to be favorable, no matter where they were from.

What would he think of Obama and tomorrow being the inauguration for the first black president?

Unknown, but he would probably be as blown away as most Americans.


elvisallc wrote:Let me make it clear that i do not support Barack Obama but I will stand behind him as our president and hope and pray he knows what he's doing.

Oh, it's as clear as the kettle on the stove is black.

You do not support him because lacks the "experience" to be president, right?

Re: Elvis, King and X

Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:31 am

Doc, thanks for that.

Let me say that today has made me see the man in a different light. Not because he's black or making history. But because he's calm and collective and carries himself with pride and dignity. All I ever saw during the election was race and the talk about him being Muslim or anti-American. But as the time has passed I have grown to respect him little by little. Today changed my views about him as a man first. I will pray for him and support him as our commander in chief. Although there are some things that I do not agree with him on. But he is a mile of steps up from the Bush administration.

As for Malcolm X, I have read about him and he did not have love but hate for white America. He criticized King for being too peaceful and non violent. King met with him and told him hatred would get him nowhere and that he wasn't going to do things X' way.

Re: Elvis, King and X

Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:45 am

elvisallc wrote:As for Malcolm X, I have read about him ...

What, exactly have you read?

Re: Elvis, King and X

Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:04 pm

When Elvis was told that the management of a venue in Texas were objecting to 'those black girl singers' - he replied: "Well, if they aren't coming, I'm not coming !"

Re: Elvis, King and X

Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:11 pm

ColinB wrote:When Elvis was told that the management of a venue in Texas were objecting to 'those black girl singers' - he replied: "Well, if they aren't coming, I'm not coming !"

Correct, this was for his Feb-Mar 1970 Astrodome bookings.

An even braver example came in the middle of his breakthrough year, at home in Memphis.

FECC MB superstar Brian Petersen put up a great page about it -->

Image

Memphis, Tn., June 19, 1956
http://www.brian56.dk/560619.htm

This act spoke volumes about his views on the racial divide in America in the 1950s.

Re: Elvis, King and X

Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:39 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
ColinB wrote:When Elvis was told that the management of a venue in Texas were objecting to 'those black girl singers' - he replied: "Well, if they aren't coming, I'm not coming !"
Correct, this was for his Feb-Mar 1970 Astrodome bookings.
An even braver example came in the middle of his breakthrough year, at home in Memphis.
FECC MB superstar Brian Petersen put up a great page about it -->
Image
Memphis, Tn., June 19, 1956
http://www.brian56.dk/560619.htm
This act spoke volumes about his views on the racial divide in America in the 1950s.


I know he used to 'book' the entire fairground for his group.

So, did he do that on 'coloured' night and prevent other customers attending ?

Or just go on the 'regular coloured night' and mingle ?

Re: Elvis, King and X

Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:48 pm

ColinB wrote:So, did he do that on 'coloured' night and prevent other customers attending ?

Or just go on the 'regular coloured night' and mingle ?

It wouldn't be much of a "statement" if he had done the former.

If you read the information on the posted page, and look at the photos there, you will have both queries answered in full.

Re: Elvis, King and X

Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:18 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
ColinB wrote:So, did he do that on 'coloured' night and prevent other customers attending ?
Or just go on the 'regular coloured night' and mingle ?
It wouldn't be much of a "statement" if he had done the former.
If you read the information on the posted page, and look at the photos there, you will have both queries answered in full.


Well, no it wouldn't, would it ?

Hence my question.

I did read the page & look at the photos, but neither gave me sufficient info.

There isn't a black face to be seen in the photos, except the one you posted, and they look as if they could be disappointed patrons, lined up behind a security guy, unable to get in !

I wanted to see him sharing a dodgem car with a 'Big Mama Thornton' look-alike !

Re: Elvis, King and X

Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:37 am

ColinB wrote:I did read the page & look at the photos, but neither gave me sufficient info.

This is what that page told me -->

Presley took a date (Barbara Hearn) to the Fairgrounds for a night of fun. It was "colored night" -- unlike the racist ideology that mandated such an evening, Elvis didn't care. He was comfortable attending and bringing his girlfriend. A huge statement.

Hope this clears things up for you.

Re: Elvis, King and X

Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:44 am

That pic and that story was interesting. I think the fact that he went on coloured night says a lot about how he felt being around black people in those days. Thanks for posting that. I'll have to show this to my ignorant classmate now. :D

As for the story on that link, it's a shame that he couldn't even take a girl out without extortion being involved.

Re: Elvis, King and X

Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:37 am

OHMYGOD!!!! PICTURES!
I am a little late but I will jump to the site ASAP.
Why the cop and why does Elvis look besiegeged? {no autocorrect on this Kindle so it is misspelled}
Where is his date? She run off?
June 19 is Juneteenth. Look it up if you ned to. Elvis picked a BIG celebration night for black America.
Do you know about the Ice Capades 1960? Did it again but REALLY made a spectacle.
Black Memphians have called him a "Race Man." No higher praise in those times.
THANK YOU FOR THOSE PHOTOS!!

Re: Elvis, King and X

Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:35 am

I have been to the site.
One photo, at least, was taken at home later that night. Stuffed animals and TV set. And I just recognize it.
Elvis looks like he is running from the cop! He is not staying with him as in concert type photos of the time.
No one looks "dissapointed" except Elvis when he looks all mussed up. The people look calm. The cop looks content but I cannot read the expression. But he is not distressed by a mobbing.
Did Elvis sneak in, try to "blend," and then get tossed out? I mean, he is alone. Like the others took off. Looks on the run and mussed up. There's a cop but Elvis is NOT having fun. Some faces look a little stunned or in comprehending. Mostly they look curious.
I have rarely seen such a look on his face when NOT being mobbed.
I mean he did a "crazy" thing in any case. He looks like he just got noticed and caught. Help me understand. I need a "DOC"!!
And according to June Juanico he still went to public places.
If he went in after closing he would not be alone and all mussed up and on the move.
Great pic but strange too.
We know the black papers said he "cracked" the laws that night. What does that mean?
At home, though, he is grinning.

Re: Elvis, King and X

Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:04 am

There IS something I will never understand. Do sensible people really wish that Elvia hired black boot kissers?
Thank goodness Charlie etc. were white! Actually he didn't need ANY of em!
Dang.

Re: Elvis, King and X

Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:06 am

rjm wrote:OHMYGOD!!!! PICTURES!
I am a little late but I will jump to the site ASAP.
Why the cop and why does Elvis look besieged? {no autocorrect on this Kindle so it is misspelled}
Where is his date? She run off?
June 19 is Juneteenth. Look it up if you ned to. Elvis picked a BIG celebration night for black America.
Do you know about the Ice Capades 1960? Did it again but REALLY made a spectacle.
Black Memphians have called him a "Race Man." No higher praise in those times.
THANK YOU FOR THOSE PHOTOS!!

This is a fantastic observation. And I looked it up.

Juneteenth

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a holiday in the United States honoring African American heritage by commemorating the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. State of Texas in 1865. Celebrated on June 19, the term is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, and is recognized as a state holiday in 37 states of the United States.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juneteenth


Wow. No way could this have been a coincidence on Elvis' part, could it?

Re: Elvis, King and X

Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:35 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
rjm wrote:OHMYGOD!!!! PICTURES!
I am a little late but I will jump to the site ASAP.
Why the cop and why does Elvis look besieged? {no autocorrect on this Kindle so it is misspelled}
Where is his date? She run off?
June 19 is Juneteenth. Look it up if you ned to. Elvis picked a BIG celebration night for black America.
Do you know about the Ice Capades 1960? Did it again but REALLY made a spectacle.
Black Memphians have called him a "Race Man." No higher praise in those times.
THANK YOU FOR THOSE PHOTOS!!

This is a fantastic observation. And I looked it up.

Juneteenth

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a holiday in the United States honoring African American heritage by commemorating the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. State of Texas in 1865. Celebrated on June 19, the term is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, and is recognized as a state holiday in 37 states of the United States.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juneteenth


Wow. No way could this have been a coincidence on Elvis' part, could it?


Can't see it being coincidence Doc... Just Elvis making a modest statement that got lost in the sands of time. Such a shame that his intended message went unnoticed for the most part.