Guest Blogger: Carolyn Michael-Banks


My name is Carolyn Michael-Banks and I was born in The Bronx, NY and lived there until I attended Clark University in Worcester, MA. While in college I spent two summers in Washington DC where I worked as a tour guide for one of the largest tour companies in the city.  I eventually moved to DC and continued my career in tourism and became the General Manager for a national tour company.  During my tenure as GM I chose to make some changes in our tour script that would include information about the contributions of African Americans which was woefully lacking. The changes I made were not readily accepted by the owners of the company. 
In spite of our fundamental disagreement with what “history” should be included in our scripts, this company moved me to develop and launch operations in Savannah, GA  and then Philadelphia, PA where I did historical research, wrote tour scripts and trained tour guides.
Soon after being transferred to Philadelphia I was downsized.  What I thought was one of the worst things that could happen, ended up being the best blessing I could have imagined. I had time on my hands and decided to start my own tour company using the skills I learned over the 13 years I worked for other tour companies.  I was able to do something I was extremely passionate about and that was to give tours focused on African American History.  A subject matter that is often nonexistent in traditional tours of a city. A Tour of Possibilities was born.
The icing on the cake was I met the love of my life while in Philadelphia who lived in Memphis, TN.  After being in a long distance relationship for 2 1/2 years, he made me an offer I chose not to refuse…a marriage proposal!  I closed my business and moved to Memphis in 2000.  We have been happily married for almost 16 years.  ATOP was reborn here in Memphis in August 2014.
Very rarely do you hear or even participate in a conversation about historical tours. Am I right? I understand it is normally not a topic that “trends” very often, if at all.  Most people when they think about history, they think of incidents that occurred many years ago.  I look at history differently.  Every second that passes is now a part of history.  Knowing history can also give you a perspective and an understanding about what is happening all around us today.  History is fluid.  It can not be looked at in a vacuum.  The phrase, “if you don’t your history, you are bound to repeat it,” is very real. 
A Tour of Possibilities gives you a chance to not only look at what has happened in the past but to envision what is possible in the future.  Whether you are a native Memphian, a recent transplant or someone just passing though Memphis, this tour is for you!  We are the only sightseeing tour company in Memphis that offers regularly scheduled tours, focused on African American History.  All tours are expertly narrated driving tours departing from the TN Welcome Center located at 119 N Riverside Drive, Memphis, TN 38103. Come and embark on A Tour of Possibilities.  The possibilities are endless!
For more information about tour options, please visit our website http://www.atopmemphis.com . If you are looking for upcoming events, attractions to visit, and places to eat, there is an App for that!
iPhone users click here: https://goo.gl/r0zERc
Android users click here:  https://goo.gl/ZMI6ow
Offer: 20% off Adult and Seasoned Adults tickets for the Overview Tour ONLY. Reservations are required and tickets can be purchased on the website or 901.326.3736
Offer code: BDB2016
Offer expires: June 30, 2016

 


1 comment


  • Susan Knutson

    If your tours are even 1/2 as interesting and informative as your software classes were, then you will knock this out of the park. Congratulations on this endeavor – I know you will have great success!


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