This week saw several spots in Memphis, including Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion, vandalized with graffiti promoting the Black Lives Matter movement and calling to defund the police, among other messages. The graffiti at Graceland was found on a rock wall outside the property on Elvis Presley Boulevard Tuesday morning before it was power washed by a worker.
Presley's ex-wife Priscilla Presley offered her thoughts on the vandalism with a post on Facebook Thursday, writing that she was "horrified" by the graffiti. "Concerning the graffiti at Graceland, I'm absolutely horrified that those in our own city disgraced the walls surrounding Graceland," her post read. "I'm saddened by acts like this and appalled by this behavior. We were able to clean all the graffiti off thanks to our dedicated crew."
Elvis purchased Graceland in 1957 and lived there until he died in 1977, and Priscilla was a driving force behind turning the estate into the tourist attraction it is today. After Elvis' death, expenses for the property left Priscilla with the choice to sell, but she studied other famous homes that were turned into museums and decided to do the same for Graceland. It is now visited by thousands of tourists each year.
"We were just driving by this morning and we looked over," Presley fan Alice Self told WMC Action News 5 of the graffiti at Graceland. "We just couldn't believe it. We were just stunned by it." Presley's stepbrother Bill Stanley said the graffiti was "totally uncalled for," going to say it was "one of the saddest days of my life" besides "the day that Elvis passed away, this right here is right up next to it."
Along with Graceland, other Memphis locations, including Levitt Shell Amphitheater in Overton Park and the "I Heart Memphis" mural in midtown Memphis, were also tagged. On Thursday, Black Lives Matter Memphis told FOX13 that their organization had no involvement in the vandalism at Graceland and the Levitt Shell, adding that it does not condone acts of violence or hate.
"That's not something that we would participate in, but we don't want people to miss the message and the vandalism because somebody did that and whoever did that, did it for one or two reasons," said Black Lives Matter Memphis organizer P. Moses.
Black Lives Matter Memphis shared that it is raising money to continue the cleanup process at the Levitt Shell and is starting a partnership with the venue to host events promoting peace and unity in the city.