🇺🇸 Memphis is a city along the Mississippi River in south-western Shelby County, Tennessee, It is Tennessee's second-most populous city and the largest city proper situated along the Mississippi River. Greater Memphis is the metropolitan area. The city is the anchor of West Tennessee and the greater Mid-South region, which includes portions of neighbouring Arkansas, Mississippi, and the Missouri Bootheel. Memphis is the seat of Shelby County, Tennessee's most populous county. One of the more historic and culturally significant cities of the southern United States, Memphis has a wide variety of landscapes and distinct neighbourhoods.
Memphis grew into one of the largest cities of the Antebellum South as a market for agricultural goods, natural resources like lumber, and the American slave trade. After the American Civil War and the end of slavery, the city experienced even faster growth into the 20th century as it became among the largest world markets for cotton and lumber.
Home to Tennessee's largest African-American population, Memphis played a prominent role in the American civil rights movement and was the site of Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1968 assassination. The city now hosts the National Civil Rights Museum—a Smithsonian affiliate institution. Since the civil rights era, Memphis has become one of the nation's leading commercial centres in transportation and logistics. Its largest employer is the multinational courier corporation FedEx, which maintains its global air hub at Memphis International Airport, making it the busiest cargo airport in the world. In addition to being the global air cargo leader, the International Port of Memphis also hosts the fifth-busiest inland water port in the U.S., with access to the Mississippi River allowing shipments to arrive from around the world for conversion to train and trucking transport throughout the United States, making Memphis a multi-modal hub for trading goods for imports and exports despite its inland location.
Memphis is a regional centre for commerce, education, media, art, and entertainment. It has long had a prominent music scene, with historic blues clubs on Beale Street originating the unique Memphis blues sound in the early 20th century. The city's music has continued to be shaped by a multicultural mix of influences: the blues, country, rock and roll, soul, and hip-hop. Memphis-style barbecue has achieved international prominence, and the city hosts the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, which attracts over 100,000 visitors to the city annually.
Economy The city's central geographic location has been strategic to its business development. Located on the Mississippi River and intersected by five major freight railroads and two Interstate Highways, I-40 and I-55, Memphis is ideally located for commerce in the transportation and shipping industry. Its access by water was key to its initial development, with steamboats plying the Mississippi river. Railroad construction strengthened its connection to other markets to the east and west.
Since the second half of the 20th century, highways and interstates have played major roles as transportation corridors. A third interstate, I-69, is under construction, and a fourth, I-22, has recently been designated from the former High Priority Corridor X. River barges are unloaded onto trucks and trains. The city is home to Memphis International Airport, the world's busiest cargo airport, surpassing Hong Kong International Airport in 2021. Memphis serves as a primary hub for FedEx Express shipping.
As of 2014, Memphis was the home of three Fortune 500 companies: FedEx, International Paper, and AutoZone.
Other major corporations based in Memphis include Allenberg Cotton, American Residential Services (also known as ARS/Rescue Rooter); Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz; Cargill Cotton, City Gear, First Horizon National Corporation, Fred's, GTx, Lenny's Sub Shop, Mid-America Apartments, Perkins Restaurant and Bakery, ServiceMaster, True Temper Sports, Varsity Brands, and Verso Paper. Corporations with major operations based in Memphis include Gibson guitars (based in Nashville), and Smith & Nephew. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis also has a branch in Memphis.
The entertainment and film industries have discovered Memphis in recent years. Several major motion pictures, most of which were recruited and assisted by the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission, have been filmed in Memphis, including Making the Grade (1984), Elvis and Me (1988), Great Balls of Fire! (1988), Heart of Dixie (1989), Mystery Train (1989), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Trespass (1992), The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag (1992), The Firm (1993), The Delta (1996), The People Vs. Larry Flynt (1996), The Rainmaker (1997), Cast Away (2000), 21 Grams (2002), A Painted House (2002), Hustle & Flow (2005), Forty Shades of Blue (2005), Walk the Line (2005), Black Snake Moan (2007), Nothing But the Truth (2008), Soul Men (2008), and The Grace Card (2011). The Blind Side (2009) was set in Memphis but filmed in Atlanta. The 1992 television movie Memphis, starring Memphis native Cybill Shepherd, who also served as executive producer and writer, was also filmed in Memphis.
Memphis is rated Sufficiency by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Sufficiency level cities are cities that have a sufficient degree of services so as not to be overly dependent on world cities.
Memphis was ranked #550 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Memphis has a population of over 651,073 people. Memphis also forms part of the Greater Memphis metropolitan area which has a population of over 1,348,260 people. Memphis is the #288 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 2.774 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores.