Elvis Presley’s Graceland Mansion was defaced, Tuesday night, with graffiti reading “Black Lives Matter,” “Defund MPD” — referring to the Memphis Police Department — and “Eat the Rich,” leaving the historic home with around $150,000 in damage.
The mansion, which appears on the National Register of Historic Places, is now a museum dedicated to the life of Elvis Presley, who built the home and owned until he died in 1977. Elvis’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, is now the owner and caretaker of the mansion, which recently underwent an extensive renovation.
Memphis, Tennessee, where Graceland is located, like many major cities, has seen its share of unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department and also like many major cities, Memphis has experienced a dramatic rise in crime this summer.
According to USA Today, Memphis is one of the primary targets of Operation Legend, which seeks to bolster urban police departments with specialty agents of the federal government — agents of the FBI, the DEA, and the ATF. Memphis received a deployment of 40 federal agents back in July, in Operation Legend’s second wave.
The unrest turned destructive this week when rioters targeted Graceland and the adjoining Levitt Stadium, where Elvis Presley gave his first paid concert.
“The walls outside of Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., were tagged with graffiti by vandals on Sunday, with phrases like ‘BLM’ and ‘No Justice No Peace,'” Fox News reported Wednesday. “Fox 13 reporter Shelia O’Connor tweeted out photographs of the damaged walls on Tuesday morning, which included messages about the death of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in Louisville while police were serving a no-knock warrant on her home.”
The photos show extensive damage to Graceland’s exterior walls.
Crews are cleaning up after someone spray painted the walls of Graceland with messages like “Defund MPD” “Arrest Breonna Taylor’s murderers” and “BLM” and more. I’ll give you a live look on @FOX13Memphis midday. pic.twitter.com/iggrafPLb8
— Shelia O'Connor FOX13 (@SheliaOConnor) September 1, 2020
Repairs on the property are estimated at around $150,000, per local media.
“The executive director of Levitt Shell told Memphis Police that between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., the property was vandalized with vulgar graffiti,” Fox 13 Memphis reported. “In order for the property to be repainted, it is estimated it will cost $150,000 due to it being a historical venue, according to Memphis Police.”
Much of the graffiti has already been cleaned, however. Repairs will be made next.
Black Lives Matter protesters have targeted a number of landmarks and monuments under the guise of correcting racial injustices. Typically, demonstrators target monuments to Confederate leaders, or statues of Christopher Columbus, whom they consider irredeemably racist and a representation of colonialism.
Protest targets, though, have gone beyond just Confederate generals or fifteenth-century explorers. As recently as Tuesday, according to The Daily Wire, a commission, created by Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser suggested “removing, relocating, or contextualizing” no less than the Jefferson Monument, the George Mason statue, the George Washington statue, and the Washington Monument, which towers over the National Mall.
Elvis Presley has a complicated relationship with racial justice activists who say the musical juggernaut rose to fame by mimicking the style of artists of color.