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Tyre Nichols remembered Memphis as a city full of vibrant colors and serene moments. He was an adventurous spirit, passionate fan of the San Francisco 49ers, and an accomplished photographer - according to friends.
Nichols was raised in Sacramento, California and later relocated to Memphis with his mother and stepfather. While working second shift at FedEx, he always returned home during his lunch hour for quality time with his family.
Memphis' Beale Street is a cultural mecca, alive with rock 'n' roll energy. Neon lights illuminate blues clubs while steel bridges span serene waters. As an aspiring photographer, Nichols wanted to capture this vibrant energy through his lens.
At day, Beale Street is alive with people moving between street vendors, restaurants and cafes. At night though, it transforms into a music festival with bands playing for thousands of fans.
Nichols also sought out quiet places to reflect. On Thursdays, he would attend Bible study with his friend Brian Jang and one day, listened to a sermon about how distractions stifle growth as he dropped his phone into a cup of water.
He was also drawn to the beauty of the city's natural landscape. He spent countless hours at Shelby Farms Park, a sprawling 4,500-acre green space on the edge of town, admiring its winding trails and shimmering lakes.
According to its website, the park is a vibrant community hub and an oasis from the city's hustle-bustle. However, that tranquility was destroyed when Nichols was tragically taken away by police officers, according to his family and their attorneys.
Friends said the aspiring photographer was just starting to settle into life in Memphis after leaving his hometown of Sacramento. They noted how it had been difficult for him to adjust at first, but that once settled in, Memphis offered endless possibilities.
His transition was difficult at first, she noted, but eventually he accepted the culture of his new home. He reconnected with childhood friends, enjoyed Memphis' music scene and even took up skating again after having stopped due to fear of damaging his knees.
Nichols was a man of deep emotion and affection for his family, especially his mother. His last words to her were "mom." He was less than 100 yards from her house when five police officers beat and restrained him with pepper spray and other weapons.
His family remembered him as a beautiful soul, someone who enjoyed sunsets, photography and skateboarding. They wish for his memory to be remembered differently.
Downtown Memphis is a vibrant hub, where locals come to dine at world-renowned restaurants, shop the finest boutiques, and explore some of Memphis's most intriguing attractions. But there's much more to discover in this bustling neighborhood than meets the eye.
The city's vibrant musical heritage is the cornerstone of its cultural identity, as evidenced by a vibrant music scene and several iconic museums. For instance, The Rock 'n' Soul Museum takes visitors through the turbulent years when black musicians were forced to fight for their freedom.
But the city also has a serene side, as photographer Tyre Nichols captured in an Instagram series. He took photos of murals painted along streets, blue skies framed by footbridges, and sunsets reflected in the Mississippi River.
Nichols rarely shared his photography online, keeping it private until his last days when he decided to start sharing pictures of all the things he loved about Memphis online.
His favorite hangout was Beale Street, a mile-long stretch that features some of Memphis' best live music venues. People of all races and backgrounds come here to check out places like Blues City Cafe, Hard Rock Cafe and Silky O'Sullivan's.
He was an avid skater, spending hours at Tobey Skate Park in Memphis - an expanse of concrete ramps, stairs, bowls and rails just east of downtown Memphis. Friends recalled him for his smooth rides and upbeat demeanor.
Nichols had an affinity for music and skateboarding, as well as photography. He took great pleasure in snapping photos of his favorite sights like the flickering pink forks at Beale Street's Blues City Cafe and Hard Rock Cafe's massive Gibson guitar.
He took photos as a way of recording a life that he had left behind, like documenting the life of his late wife who passed away three years prior. Since moving from Sacramento, California to Memphis three years ago, he had struggled to adjust to city living with a young son and missed his family greatly; additionally, his friend Angelina Paxton reported that he was afraid of being racially profiled because of his race.
The Mississippi River is an iconic cultural landmark, vital artery for commerce and a popular waterway to enjoy. It traverses 10 states - Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana - draining 41 percent of America's continental United States.
The Mississippi is an attractive tourist destination for many reasons. Not only does it provide drinking water to Americans, but also energy for the country and shelter to countless species - not to mention its fascinating history!
Since its inception, the Mississippi has been an essential resource in North America's development. Its abundant resources have drawn settlers to its banks, leading to the formation of cities, towns and other settlements along its banks.
Over time, human activities have caused major changes to the Mississippi River system and its natural functions have been compromised. As a result, its capacity for nutrient removal and habitat for native plants and animals have been severely limited.
One of the most significant improvements to the river has been its transformation into a shipping channel. This has allowed barges and tugs from Minnesota to transport cargo downriver, providing huge economic benefits for the area.
It has also made the upper Mississippi a prime recreational area for boaters, canoeists and hunters. Here you can observe an array of fish species as well as hundreds of birds that migrate along its banks.
Migratory birds such as bald eagles, hawks, turkey, peregrine falcons, herons, egrets, ducks and cormorants form the basis of a diverse ecosystem composed of brackish marshes, freshwater wetlands and riparian zones. These creatures play an integral role in maintaining balance within this vast system by feeding off of nutrients found within its surroundings.
The river plays a significant role in North American ecology, serving as "mother" to over 260 species of fish and 40% of all migratory bird populations on the continent.
In addition, the Mississippi River basin is home to an array of mammals and reptiles such as alligators, snakes, crocodiles and turtles. You'll find some of the highest concentrations of these creatures in its lakes and wetlands.
Since 1906, The Memphis Zoo has been one of the city's top attractions. Spread across 70 acres, its diverse collection of animals - over 2,800 animals representing 400 species - make it ideal for families and kids of all ages to enjoy.
Ya Ya and Le Le, the iconic giant pandas that draw large crowds to this zoo, are its star attractions. Beyond these adorable animals, visitors can explore other exhibits that showcase wildlife from around the world.
Recently, the zoo has been expanding and adding new features to its attraction. In 1998, they completed a new animal hospital that features separate holding and quarantine wings for sick or injured animals. Furthermore, they offer several special events like their annual Zoo Boo festival.
Another popular event is the Wild Side of Christmas, a show that showcases how animals adapt to the holiday season. This free and open to the public event takes place annually.
Other attractions at the Zoo include a bear and wolf enclosure in Teton Trek, an indoor nocturnal habitat and an expansive big cat area. Plus there's also a herpetarium where visitors can view various exotic snakes and lizards up close.
For over a century, the Memphis Zoo has been a beloved landmark within Overton Park. Established in 1906, it's often referred to as "the most important zoo in America" and consistently ranks among the top ten zoos nationwide - making it a must-visit for visitors of all ages.
The entrance of the zoo is graced by an Egyptian-themed wall featuring hieroglyphics expressing its mission statement. There's also a gift shop and small museum located here as well.
At the herpetarium, guests can get up close and personal with many animals including venomous snakes like Burmese python, American alligators, lizards and frogs. Plus there's a tropical bird house featuring many exotic birds from the tropics.
The zoo also offers educational exhibits and lectures that are sure to enchant young guests. If you want to discover more about a certain species, the staff is happy to assist you in doing so.