On August 16, 1979 The University of Memphis (then Memphis State University) hosted a Seminar on Elvis Presley & His Times, the inaugural event of what came to be known as Elvis International Tribute Week, today know simply as Elvis Week. In 1997 and 1998 EPE reprised the seminar event. On August 15, 2002 EPE will bring it back in recognition of the 25th anniversary of Elvis’s passing. The topic: Is Elvis History? : 2002 and Beyond.
Participants will include: renowned music critic Greil Marcus; Elvis biographer Peter Guralnick; Elvis’ first record producer, the legendary Sam C. Phillips; veteran recording industry executive Eddie Ray; U of M history professor and nationally recognized Tennessee/Delta region historian, Dr. Charles Crawford; Memphis media columnist Jackson Baker; and WKNO-TV personality Chuck Scruggs. Also participating will be close friends of Elvis, including: Memphis Music Commission Executive Director, Jerry Schilling, and former Shelby County Sheriff/former Shelby County Mayor, Bill Morris. Also on the panel will be Michael Bertrand and Allison Graham, whose recent respective books, Race, Rock & Elvis and Framing the South, have shed new light on Elvis as a figure of history and myth.
The issue for the discussion will be at the outset of Elvis’s popularity "Will Elvis last?" in the context of assessments of his past and future historical meaning. At the crux of this issue is whether or not Elvis will be seen as a positive force contributing to the diversity and freedom of American culture or at best a transitional figure.