Anthony Venn-Brown is a former Australian evangelist in the Assemblies of God and an author whose book, A Life of Unlearning describes his experience in Australia’s first ex-gay program. He is the Co-founder and previous Convenor of Freedom 2b, a network for GLBTIQ people from Pentecostal and Evangelical backgrounds, he is the founder and CEO of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International. Anthony Venn-Brown was raised in a family with a strong Anglican Church background, his family were committed to church life during his early years but as a teenager Anthony felt that the rituals and beliefs were irrelevant not only to him but the generation of the 60’s and he ceased all involvement in the church. It was at this time the awareness of his homosexuality increased. Australian society in the 60’s viewed homosexuality as a mental illness/perversion and it was a criminal offence; this led to a suicide attempt. Anthony Venn-Brown made contact with evangelical Anglicans in the Sydney Diocese in his quest to be "normal" and acceptable to his family and friends and was converted in 1969.
After his conversion in 1969, Anthony continued to be involved in evangelism and was baptised in a Baptist church. Many times he felt that God had answered his prayer and that he had been set free of his attraction to the same sex. However, although these moments were spiritually exhilarating they did not have a lasting impact on his life. Believing that ‘more faith and more power’ was needed to overcome his ‘problem’, Anthony began to explore his Christianity in the Charismatic renewal, which had just commenced in Sydney, traditional Pentecostal contexts. In 1971, after feeling a strong call to ministry, Anthony attended Faith Bible College, a pastoral and missionary training centre in New Zealand. After confessing to the leadership of the college that he still struggled with homosexuality, he underwent several weeks of exorcisms through the ministry of Pastor Neville Johnson at Queen Street Assemblies of God in Auckland. However, on returning to Australia, Anthony was still troubled by his sexuality, believing that he could never serve God until this part of his life was overcome, he signed himself into a ‘live-in’ ex-gay program for six months at Moombara and Bundeena Christian Fellowship.
Anthony moved to Orange, New South Wales in 1972 and began youth work for the local Assemblies of God Church and was married in 1974. Venn-Brown pioneered several Assemblies of God churches in regional NSW including Port Macquarie, Gunnedah and Laurieton before moving to Sydney with his family in the early 1980s and founding "Every Believer Evangelism." Venn-Brown became a popular preacher at all the major churches of the Assemblies of God in Australia including Hillsong Church's predecessor Christian Life Centre and preached overseas. In 1990 he became the first Pentecostal to be appointed to the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelism in Australia; the Assemblies of God asked Venn-Brown to start a new youth work to replace the NSW Assemblies of God current youth organisation, called Christ's ambassadors and start some large scale youth events. The first Youth Alive event was a concert held in the beachside suburb of Manly, New South Wales on 23 February 1985; some more conservative members of the Assemblies of God opposed the event because of the use of Christian rock music and walked out.
However, Youth Alive became a successful youth organisation and grew to events of over 20 000 people. Venn-Brown handed over the ministry to his assistant Pat Mesiti as he wanted to concentrate on developing "Every Believer Evangelism". Venn-Brown, A. A Life of unlearning: a journey to find the truth. Venn-Brown resigned as a minister in 1991 after coming out as a gay man. In 2004 he published his autobiography, A Life of Unlearning - Coming out of the church, One Man's Struggle; the book detailed his struggle to reconcile his homosexuality with his Christian beliefs. It won the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association Literary award in 2004; the revised edition, A Life of Unlearning - a Journey to Find the Truth was published in 2007. Anthony doesn't feel he will return to preaching, saying "30 years down the track someone, gay or lesbian will be allowed to minister. I hope I'm there to see it; when I came back to God I felt. What I have now is real. I have learned to live non-judgementally, to live with integrity and I didn't have that as a preacher."
Anthony Venn-Brown was one of the keynote speakers at the 2009 "Evangelical Network Conference" in Arizona. Preferring to be known as a gay ambassador instead of gay activist, Venn-Brown is now a representative and advocate of gay and lesbian people, he seeks to create an informed, intelligent yet respectful dialogue about the issues of same sex orientation within the Christian and Pentecostal community. One of the models that he has developed is "Creating a Space for Change"; this is a non confrontational way of preconceived ideas. One of the first people to be involved in this dialogue was Pastor Mike Hercock, a Baptist minister, leading a church in Darlinghurst, Sydney. A friendship developed and Anthony relayed the many stories of tragedy and loss experienced by gay and lesbian people, rejected by the church. Anthony introduced Mike to the work of Freedom 2b, he was touched by the stories of those he met. In 2007, Freedom 2b marched for the first time in the Sydney Ga
Conversion therapy is the pseudoscientific practice of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using psychological or spiritual interventions. There is no reliable evidence that sexual orientation can be changed and medical bodies warn that conversion therapy practices are ineffective and harmful and medical and governmental organizations in the United States and United Kingdom have expressed concern over the validity and ethics of conversion therapy. Various jurisdictions in Asia, Europe and the Americas have passed laws against conversion therapy. Techniques used in conversion therapy prior to 1981 in the United States and Western Europe included ice-pick lobotomies. More recent clinical techniques used in the United States have been limited to counseling, social skills training, psychoanalytic therapy, spiritual interventions such as "prayer and group support and pressure", though there are some reports of aversive treatments through unlicensed practice as late as the 1990s.
The term reparative therapy has been used as a synonym for conversion therapy in general, but it has been argued that speaking it refers to a specific kind of therapy associated with the psychologists Elizabeth Moberly and Joseph Nicolosi. The American Psychiatric Association opposes psychiatric treatment "based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that a patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation" and describes attempts to change sexual orientation by practitioners as unethical, it states that debates over the integration of gay and lesbian people have obscured science "by calling into question the motives and the character of individuals on both sides of the issue" and that the advancement of conversion therapy may cause social harm by disseminating unscientific views about sexual orientation. United States Surgeon General David Satcher in 2001 issued a report stating that "there is no valid scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed".
The highest-profile advocates of conversion therapy today tend to be fundamentalist religious organizations which use a religious justification for the therapy rather than speaking of homosexuality as "a disease". The main organization advocating secular forms of conversion therapy is the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, which partners with religious groups; the history of conversion therapy can be divided broadly into three periods: an early Freudian period. During the earliest parts of psychoanalytic history, analysts granted that homosexuality was non-pathological in certain cases, the ethical question of whether it ought to be changed was discussed. By the 1920s analysts assumed that homosexuality was pathological and that attempts to treat it were appropriate, although psychoanalytic opinion about changing homosexuality was pessimistic; those forms of homosexuality that were considered perversions were held to be incurable. Analysts' tolerant statements about homosexuality arose from recognition of the difficulty of achieving change.
Beginning in the 1930s and continuing for twenty years, major changes occurred in how analysts viewed homosexuality, which involved a shift in the rhetoric of analysts, some of whom felt free to ridicule and abuse their gay patients. Sigmund Freud was the founder of psychoanalysis. Freud stated that homosexuality could sometimes be removed through hypnotic suggestion, was influenced by Eugen Steinach, a Viennese endocrinologist who transplanted testicles from straight men into gay men in attempts to change their sexual orientation, stating that his research had "thrown a strong light on the organic determinants of homo-eroticism". Freud cautioned that Steinach's operations would not make possible a therapy that could be applied, arguing that such transplant procedures would be effective in changing homosexuality in men only in cases in which it was associated with physical characteristics typical of women, that no similar therapy could be applied to lesbianism. Steinach's method was doomed to failure because the immune system rejects transplanted glands, was exposed as ineffective and harmful.
Freud's main discussion of female homosexuality was the 1920 paper "The Psychogenesis of a Case of Homosexuality in a Woman", which described his analysis of a young woman who had entered therapy because her parents were concerned that she was a lesbian. Her father wanted. In Freud's view, the prognosis was unfavourable because of the circumstances under which she entered therapy, because homosexuality was not an illness or neurotic conflict. Freud wrote that changing homosexuality was difficult and possible only under unusually favourable conditions, observing that "in general to undertake to convert a developed homosexual into a heterosexual does not offer much more prospect of success than the reverse". Success meant making heterosexual feeling possible, not eliminating homosexual feelings. Gay people could be convinced that heterosexual sex would provide them with the same pleasure they derived from homosexua
University of California, Irvine
The University of California, Irvine is a public research university located in Irvine, California. It is one of the 10 campuses in the University of California system. UC Irvine offers 98 graduate and professional degrees; the university is classified as a Research I university and in fiscal year 2013 had $348 million in research and development expenditures according to the National Science Foundation. UC Irvine became a member of the Association of American Universities in 1996 and is the youngest university to hold membership, it is considered to be one of the "Public Ivies", meaning that it is among those publicly funded universities thought to provide a quality of education comparable to that of the Ivy League. The university administers the UC Irvine Medical Center, a large teaching hospital in Orange, its affiliated health sciences system. UC Irvine set up the first Earth System Science Department in the United States. UCI was one of three new UC campuses established in the 1960s to accommodate growing enrollments across the UC system.
A site in Orange County was identified in 1959, in the following year the Irvine Company sold the University of California 1,000 acres of land for one dollar to establish the new campus. President Lyndon B. Johnson dedicated the campus in 1964, a fact, commemorated with the delivery of a commencement speech by President Barack Obama fifty years later. A total of seven Nobel Prize laureates have been affiliated with UCI; the university is associated with a total of seven Pulitzer Prize winners, including three faculty members and four alumni. The UC Irvine Anteaters compete in the NCAA Division I as members of the Big West Conference; the Anteaters have won 28 national championships in nine different team sports, 64 Anteaters have won individual national championships, 53 Anteaters have competed in the Olympics. The University of California, Irvine was one of three new University of California campuses established in the 1960s under the California Master Plan for Higher Education. During the 1950s, the University of California saw the need for the new campuses to handle both the large number of college-bound World War II veterans and the expected increase in enrollment from the post-war baby boom.
One of the new campuses was to be in the Los Angeles area. This site was chosen to accommodate the county's growing population, complement the growth of nearby UCLA and UC Riverside, allow for the construction of a master planned community in the surrounding area. On June 20, 1964, U. S. President Lyndon B. Johnson dedicated UC Irvine before a crowd of 15,000 people, on October 4, 1965 the campus began operations with 1,589 students, 241 staff members, 119 faculty, 43 teaching assistants. However, many of UCI's buildings were still under construction and landscaping was still in progress, with the campus only at 75% completion. By June 25, 1966, UCI held its first Commencement with fourteen students, which conferred ten Bachelor of Arts degrees, three Master of Arts degrees, one Doctor of Philosophy degree. Unlike most other University of California campuses, UCI was not named for the city; the name "Irvine" is a reference to James Irvine, a landowner who administered the 94,000-acre Irvine Ranch.
In 1960, The Irvine Company sold 1,000 acres of the Irvine Ranch to the University of California for one dollar, since company policy prohibited the donation of property to a public entity. On campus, UC Irvine's first Chancellor, Daniel G. Aldrich selected a wide variety of Mediterranean-climate flora and fauna, feeling that it served an "aesthetic and educational." To plan the remainder of the ranch, the University hired Associates. Pereira intended for the UC Irvine campus to complement the neighboring community, it became clear that the original 1,000 acres grant would not suffice for Pereira's vision. In 1964, the University purchased an additional 510 acres in 1964 for housing and commercial developments. Much of the land, not purchased by UCI remains held by The Irvine Company, but the completion of the University drove the development of Orange County; the City of Irvine became established in 1971 and 1975, respectively. UCI remains the second-largest employer in Orange County, with an annual economic impact of $5 billion.
It offers 87 undergraduate degree programs, 59 master's and 46 Ph. D. programs. Aldrich developed the campus' first academic plan around a College of Arts and Science, a Graduate School of Administration, a School of Engineering; the College of Arts and Science was composed of twenty majors in five "Divisions": Biological Sciences, Fine Arts, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences. In 1965 the California College of Medicine became part of UC Irvine. In 1976, plans to establish an on-campus hospital were set aside, with the university instead purchasing the Orange County Medical Center around 12 miles from UC Irvine, in the City of Orange. In early July 2
Soulforce is a U. S.-based social justice organization that supports acceptance of lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people through creative forms of nonviolent direct action. Soulforce is inspired by the principles of relentless nonviolent resistance as taught and practiced by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr, it was founded in 1998 by Mel White, a ghostwriter for Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, others until he came out as a gay man. The organization's Executive Director is Haven Herrin. Since 2006, Soulforce has supported a project called the Equality Ride. Led by young adults, it targets Christian colleges. In 2007 it was divided into each leg visiting 15-20 different colleges. Other rides were launched in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014. In 2006 Soulforce organized the Right to Serve Campaign, the first nationally organized youth effort to bring attention to the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy of the United States Armed Forces. Youth in 30 cities across the country were recruited to organize events in which lesbian and bisexual youth attempted to enlist in the United States Armed Forces while stating their sexual orientation.
Headed by Jacob Reitan and Haven Harrin, it took place in 30 cities from late summer and fall of 2006. It attracted coverage in both national media. Reitan said: "The don't ask don't tell policy couldn't be any more government-sanctioned discrimination; the Right to Serve Campaign is a way for us to show to the American people how this discrimination works."In May, in Roseville, a suburb of Minneapolis, two men and a woman tried to enlist in the Minnesota National Guard. One application was rejected and the others put on hold. On August 30, in Madison, Wisconsin, an Army recruiter turned away three men, one a college graduate and the others college students. One of them said: "We're not here as a publicity stunt. I want to serve alongside my fellow Americans. That's why we're here." Two men turned away by recruiters in Chicago on September 12, 2006, returned the next day and staged a sit-in. They were arrested but not charged. A University of Maryland sophomore was turned away when she tried to enlist on September 26.
Other events, some including arrests, occurred in New York. In New York City, the recruitment center was closed, but the Right To Serve protesters staged a 7-hour sit-in that resulted in no arrests; the Campaign was endorsed by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which stated: "We applaud the young men and women from Right To Serve who seek to join the proud tradition of military service. The Right To Serve campaign challenges the federal government to end its prohibition on open and honest service by gay Americans, at a time when America can ill afford to turn away one bright, capable recruit in the fight against terrorism." In December 2006, SLDN named the Campaign as number five on its list of the Top-Ten "Don't Ask Don't Tell" stories of 2006. Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, stated in September 2006: "I think the people involved here do not have the best interests of the military at heart, they never have. They are promoting an agenda to normalize homosexuality in America using the military as a battering ram to promote that broader agenda."
She said that "pro-homosexual activists...are creating media events all over the country and internationally." LGBT-welcoming church programs Soulforce — official website
Assemblies of God
The Assemblies of God the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, is a group of over 140 autonomous but loosely associated national groupings of churches which together form the world's largest Pentecostal denomination. With over 397,000 ministers and outstations in over 256 countries and territories serving 69.1 million adherents worldwide, it is the fourth largest international Christian group of denominations and the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world. As an international fellowship, the member denominations are independent and autonomous; the Assemblies originated from the Azusa Street Revival of the early 20th century. This revival led to the founding of the Assemblies of God in the United States in 1914. Through foreign missionary work and establishing relationships with other Pentecostal churches, the Assemblies of God expanded into a worldwide movement, it was not until 1988, that the world fellowship was formed. As a Pentecostal fellowship, the Assemblies of God believes in the Pentecostal distinctive of baptism with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
The Assemblies of God should not be confused with the Assemblies of God International Fellowship, the International Assemblies of God Fellowship, the Independent Assemblies of God International, all of which are Pentecostal denominations. The World Assemblies of God Fellowship is structured as a loose alliance of independent national and regional Pentecostal denominations. For the particular beliefs and polity of individual national fellowships, refer to the links in the following list: The doctrinal position of the Assemblies of God is framed in a classical Pentecostal and an evangelical context; the AG is Trinitarian and holds the Bible as divinely inspired and the infallible authoritative rule of faith and conduct. Baptism by immersion is practiced as an ordinance instituted by Christ for those who have been saved. Baptism is understood as an outward sign of an inward change, the change from being dead to sin to being alive in Christ; as an ordinance, Communion is practiced. The AG believe that the elements that are partaken are symbols expressing the sharing the divine nature of Jesus of Nazareth.
The Assemblies of God places a strong emphasis on the fulfillment of the Great Commission and believes that this is the calling of the church. As classical Pentecostals, the Assemblies of God believes all Christians are entitled to and should seek the baptism in the Holy Spirit; the AG teaches that this experience is subsequent to the experience of salvation. The baptism in the Holy Spirit empowers the believer for Christian service; the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues "as the Spirit gives utterance". It believes in the present-day use of other spiritual gifts and in divine healing. While the World AG Fellowship has a statement of faith which outlines the basic beliefs which unify the various branches of the movement, each national AG denomination formulates its own doctrinal statements; the Assemblies of God USA, for example, adheres to the Statement of Fundamental Truths. The Assemblies of God has its roots in the Pentecostal Azusa Street Revival of the early 20th century.
The Pentecostal aspects of the revival were not welcomed by established churches, participants in the movement soon found themselves forced outside existing religious bodies. These people sought out their own places of worship and founded hundreds of distinctly Pentecostal congregations. By 1914, many ministers and laymen alike began to realize just how far-reaching the spread of the revival and of Pentecostalism had become. Concerned leaders felt the desire to protect and preserve the results of the revival by uniting through cooperative fellowship. In April 1914, after splitting from the Church of God in Christ, about 300 preachers and laymen were invited from 20 states and several foreign countries for a general council in Hot Springs, United States. A remaining fellowship emerged from the meeting and was incorporated under the name General Council of the Assemblies of God in the United States of America. In time, self-governing and self-supporting general councils broke off from the original fellowship or were formed independently in several nations throughout the world, originating either from indigenous Pentecostal movements or as a direct result of the indigenous missions strategy of the General Council.
In 1919, Pentecostals in Canada united to form the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada which formally affiliated with the Assemblies of God USA the next year. The Assemblies of God in Great Britain was formed in 1924 and would have an early influence on the Assemblies of God in Australia, now known as Australian Christian Churches; the Australian Assemblies of God was formed in 1937 by a merger of the Pentecostal Church of Australia and the Assemblies of God Queensland. The Queensland AG had formed in 1929; the Assemblies of God of South Africa was founded in 1925 and like the AG Queensland, was not aligned with the US fellowship. Prior to 1967, the Assemblies of God, along with the majority of other Pentecostal denominations opposed Christian participation in war and considered itself a peace church; the US Assemblies of God continues to give full doctrinal support to members who are led by religious conscience to pacifism. In 1988, the various Assemblies of God national fellowships united to form the World Pentecostal Assemblies of God Fellowship at the initiative of Dr. J. Philip Hogan executive director of the Division of Foreign Missio
Focus on the Family
Focus on the Family is an American Christian conservative organization founded in 1977 in Southern California by psychologist James Dobson, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is active in promoting conservative views on public policy. Focus on the Family is one of a number of evangelical parachurch organizations that rose to prominence in the 1980s; as of the 2015 tax filing year, Focus on the Family declared itself to be a church. Focus on the Family's stated mission is "nurturing and defending the God-ordained institution of the family and promoting biblical truths worldwide", it promotes abstinence-only sexual education. It opposes abortion. Psychologists and social scientists have criticized Focus on the Family for trying to misrepresent their research to bolster FOTF's fundamentalist political agenda and ideology; the core promotional activities of the organization include a daily radio broadcast by its president Jim Daly and his colleagues, providing free resources according to Focus on the Family views, publishing magazines and audio recordings.
The organization produces programs for targeted audiences, such as Adventures in Odyssey for children and Family Minute. From 1977 to 2003, James Dobson served as the sole leader of the organization. In 2003, Donald P. Hodel became president and chief executive officer, tasked with the day-to-day operations; this left Dobson with chiefly creative and speaking duties. Focus on the Family aims to equip families "through radio broadcasts, simulcasts, interactive forums, magazines and counseling." In March 2005, Hodel retired and Jim Daly the Vice President in charge of Focus on the Family's International Division, assumed the role of president and chief executive officer. In November 2008, the organization announced that it was eliminating 202 jobs, representing 18 percent of its workforce; the organization cut its budget from $160 million in fiscal 2008 to $138 million for fiscal 2009. In February 2009, Dobson resigned his chairmanship, He left Focus on the Family in early 2010, subsequently founded Family Talk as a non-profit organization and launched a new broadcast that began airing nationally on May 3, 2010.
He is no longer affiliated with Focus on the Family. On June 23, 2017, Vice President Mike Pence attended the organization's 40th anniversary celebration. Pence's attendance at the event, along with Focus on the Family's stances on LGBT rights, were criticized by the Human Rights Campaign. In its IRS Form 990 for Tax Year 2015, dated October 26, 2017, Focus on the Family for the first time declared itself a "church, convention of churches or association of churches", claiming that it was no longer required to file the IRS disclosure form and that the sources and disposition of its $89 million budget were "Not for public inspection." Tax Attorney Gail Harmon, who advises nonprofits on tax law, said she found the declaration "shocking", noting that ""There’s nothing about them that meets the traditional definition of what a church is. They don’t have a congregation, they don’t have the rites of various parts of a person’s life." Focus on the Family sees its primary ministry as helping couples "build healthy marriages that reflect God's design", based on what it sees as "morals and values grounded in biblical principles."
The group opposes same-sex marriage. Focus on the Family formed Love Won Out, an ex-gay ministry, in 1998 and in 2009, it was sold to Exodus International. In June 2013, Exodus ceased activities, it issued a statement which repudiated its aims and apologized for the harm their pursuit caused to LGBT people. Focus on the Family's Wait No More ministry works with adoption agencies, church leaders and ministry partners to recruit families to adopt children from foster care; the program co-sponsors several adoption conferences throughout the country each year. Since November 2008, more than 2,700 families have started the adoption process through Wait No More. In Colorado, the number of children waiting for adoption dropped from about 800 to 350, due in-part to the efforts of Wait No More. Focus on the Family's efforts to encourage adoption among Christian families is part of a larger effort by Evangelicals to, in their perception, live out what they see as the "biblical mandate" to help children.
Focus on the Family supports laws to prevent couples from adopting who are cohabiting together outside of marriage as well as homosexual couples. Focus on the Family's Option Ultrasound Program provides grants to qualifying crisis pregnancy centers to cover 80 percent of the cost of an ultrasound machine or sonography training; as of October 31, 2014, the program has provided 655 grants to centers in all 50 states and Bucharest, Romania. Focus on the Family began OUP in 2004 with the goal of convincing women not to have abortions. FOTF officials said that ultrasound services help a woman better understand her pregnancy and baby's development, creating an important "bonding opportunity" between "mother and unborn child"; the Option Ultrasound Program reported in 2014 that it has helped prevent more than 270,000 abortions since 2004. A study released in February 2012 shows that ultrasounds do not have a direct impact on an abortion decision. In 2011, FOTF Preside
Memphis is a city located along the Mississippi River in southwestern Shelby County, United States. The 2017 city population was 652,236, making Memphis the largest city on the Mississippi River, second-largest city in Tennessee, as well as the 25th largest city in the United States. Greater Memphis is the 42nd largest metropolitan area in the United States, with a population of 1,348,260 in 2017; the city is the anchor of West Tennessee and the greater Mid-South region, which includes portions of neighboring Arkansas and Mississippi. Memphis is the seat of the most populous county in Tennessee; as one of the most historic and cultural cities of the southern United States, the city features a wide variety of landscapes and distinct neighborhoods. The first European explorer to visit the area of present-day Memphis was Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto in 1541 with his expedition into the New World; the high bluffs protecting the location from the waters of the Mississippi would be contested between the Spanish and the English as Memphis took shape.
Modern Memphis was founded in 1819 by three prominent Americans: John Overton, James Winchester, future president Andrew Jackson. Memphis grew into one of the largest cities of the Antebellum South as a market for agricultural goods, natural resources like lumber, the American slave trade. After the American Civil War and the end of slavery, the city experienced 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 Dr. 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 grown to become one of the nation's leading commercial centers in transportation and logistics; the city's largest employer is the multinational courier corporation FedEx, which maintains its global air hub at Memphis International Airport, making it the second-busiest cargo airport in the world.
Today, Memphis is a regional center for commerce, media and entertainment. The city has long had a prominent music scene, with historic blues clubs on Beale Street originating the unique Memphis blues sound during early 20th century; the city's music has continued to be shaped by a multi-cultural mix of influences across the blues, rock n' roll and hip-hop genres. Memphis barbecue has achieved international prominence, the city hosts the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, which attracts over 100,000 visitors to the city annually. Occupying a substantial bluff rising from the Mississippi River, the site of Memphis has been a natural location for human settlement by varying cultures over thousands of years; the area was known to be settled in the first millennium A. D. by people of the Mississippian Culture, who had a network of communities throughout the Mississippi River Valley and its tributaries. They built complexes with large earthwork ceremonial and burial mounds as expressions of their sophisticated culture.
The historic Chickasaw Indian tribe, believed to be their descendants occupied the site. French explorers led by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle and Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto encountered the Chickasaw tribe in that area in the 16th century. J. D. L. Holmes, writing in Hudson's Four Centuries of Southern Indians, notes that this site was a third strategic point in the late 18th century through which European powers could control United States encroachment and their interference with Indian matters—after Fort Nogales and Fort Confederación: "... Chickasaw Bluffs, located on the Mississippi River at the present-day location of Memphis. Spain and the United States vied for control of this site, a favorite of the Chickasaws."In 1795 the Spanish Governor-General of Louisiana, Francisco Luis Héctor de Carondelet sent his Lieutenant Governor, Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, to negotiate and secure consent from the local Chickasaw so that a Spanish fort could be erected on the bluff. Holmes notes that consent was reached despite opposition from "disappointed Americans and a pro-American faction of the Chickasaws", when the "pro-Spanish faction signed the Chickasaw Bluffs Cession and Spain provided the Chickasaws with a trading post…".
Fort San Fernando de las Barrancas remained a focal point of Spanish activity until, as Holmes summarizes: he Treaty of San Lorenzo or Pinckney's Treaty of 1795, all of the careful, diplomatic work by Spanish officials in Louisiana and West Florida, which has succeeded for a decade in controlling the Indians, was undone. The United States gained the right to navigate the Mississippi River and won control over the Yazoo Strip north of the thirty-first parallel; the Spanish dismantled the fort, shipping its iron to their locations in Arkansas. In 1796, the site became the westernmost point of the newly admitted state of Tennessee, located in what was called the Southwest United States; the area was still occupied and controlled by the Chickasaw nation. Captain Isaac Guion led an American force down the Ohio River to claim the land, arriving on July 20, 1797. By this time, the Spanish had departed; the fort's ruins went unnoticed twenty years when Memphis was laid out as a city, after the United States government paid the Chickasaw for land.
The city of Memphis was founded on May 22, 1819 by John Overton, James Winchester and Andrew Jackson. They named it after the ancient capita