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Memphis and the Paradox of PlaceGlobalization in the American South$
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Wanda Rushing

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832998

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807895610_rushing

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Gender, Race, Ritual, & Social Power

Gender, Race, Ritual, & Social Power

Memphis and the Paradoxes of Tradition

(p.153) 6 Gender, Race, Ritual, & Social Power
Memphis and the Paradox of Place

Wanda Rushing

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses the history of Carnival Memphis, which celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary in June 2006. Members of the original Carnival association organized in 1931 during the throes of the Great Depression. They intended to showcase Memphis to the region and the world as a modern, progressive city capable of hosting a festival promoting commerce, community, and celebration. Carnival founders included the presidents of the Retail Clothiers Association, the Cotton Exchange, and the Junior League. Supported by the directors of the Cotton Exchange, they tapped into the city's nineteenth-century commercial and social roots to find business sponsors and festival themes. Cotton Carnival founders succeeded in fostering civic participation, boosting community identity, attracting spectators and media attention, and promoting the region's most vital economic product at the time—cotton.

Keywords:   Carnival Memphis, Carnival association, Great Depression, Retail Clothiers Association, Cotton Exchange, Junior League

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