Director of Museums, Steve Pike, speaks on the history of Memphis.
Memphis Moments is co-produced by the Pink Palace Family of Museums and WKNO-FM, and airs on Tuesdays and Thursdays during All Things Considered on the WKNO Stations. © Copyright 2013.
International Harvester Cotton Picker On October 2, 1944, several hundred people came to the Hopson plantation outside Clarksville, MS, to watch eight International Harvester mechanical cotton pickers clean the field.
The Yazoo Delta's Railroad September 10, 1884, is an important date in Memphis history, although one often forgotten. This was the day that the final spike was driven for the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad, later to become a part of the Illinois Central Gulf.
Davy Crockett's Arrival in Memphis Davy Crockett, folk hero, West Tennessee Congressman, bear-hunter, and martyr of the Alamo, had a colorful reputation, which he enjoyed and promoted. And his first entry into Memphis was a fitting addition to his legend.
Abe Fortas Abe Fortas may be the only Supreme Court Justice whose first career was in a dance band. The son of Jewish immigrants from England, Fortas grew up on Pontotoc Street in downtown Memphis. His father encouraged him to play the violin, and, by thirteen, he was playing in a dance band called “the Blue Medley Boys.”
Elmwood Cemetery Elmwood Cemetery, founded in 1852, is the oldest active cemetery in Memphis. Fifty citizens put up $500 each to purchase and develop a 40-acre parcel of land. Another 40 acres were added later.
The Murder Of Colonel Thomas Dickins In August of 1870, the brutal murder of Colonel Thomas Dickins was reported in the Memphis Avalanche. According to the article, Col. Dickins, returning to his farm near Raleigh, "was way-laid by some fiend, and his life destroyed, in daylight, on a public road."
Allen James Walker Allen James Walker was born a slave near Germantown in 1845. During the Civil War, Walker was one of the thousands of local slaves who escaped from their bondage. Walker joined the Union Army, which raised 51 black companies from Shelby and Fayette County alone.
Ernst von Hesse-Wartegg, an Austro-German traveler, visited Memphis a few months after the 1878 Yellow Fever epidemic. He described his mixed reactions to the city in his memoir Travels on the Lower Mississippi. He wrote, “After traveling to the four corners of the world, I cannot remember impressions anywhere as disagreeable as those upon entering this Memphis.
Captain Kit Dalton And The James Gang Frank and Jesse James hold a prominent place in the history of outlaws. One member of the James gang has a Memphis connection. Captain Kit Dalton, born in Logan County, Kentucky in 1848, ran away from home during the Civil War and joined Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry.
Bison Fossils In The Mid-South From Richardson's Landing, TN, to Greenville, MS, the sand and gravel bars of the Mississippi River cut through old sediments in the riverbed and along its banks, exposing fossil remains of ancient bison that roamed the Mid-South at least 10,000 years ago. These ancestors of modern bison stood almost seven feet tall at the shoulder, and weighed around 2,000 pounds.
James Winchester James Winchester, one of the founders of Memphis, was born in Maryland in 1752. He served under George Washington in the American Revolution, endured capture by the British, and moved to Middle Tennessee after his release.
Frances Dancy Hooks February 23rd is the birthday of Frances Dancy Hooks. In 1949, Mrs. Hooks, wife of the late Dr. Benjamin Hooks, began a career in education that would span 24 years.
Early Photography In 1839, the invention of daguerreotype made it possible to capture and preserve a photographic image. The public was thrilled with the opportunity to be recorded for posterity, and the business of professional photography blossomed.
The Martin Brothers The four Martin Brothers, W.S., J.B., A.T., and B.B., were remarkable men. Born in Mississippi in the 1880s, they moved to Memphis to attend LeMoyne.
Gray's Creek Baptist Church Founded two decades before the Civil War, Gray’s Creek Missionary Baptist Church is one of the oldest black congregations in the area. The church was organized as a congregation for freedmen and slaves and has continued to serve African Americans for more than 150 years.
Larry Brown and the Memphis Red Sox The Memphis Red Sox was one of the most exciting teams in the Negro League in the 1930s-1940s.
Lena Angevine Warner Lena Angevine Warner is rightfully known as Tennessee’s pioneer nurse. Lena Angevine, born in Grenada, MS, in 1869, was the only member of her immediate family to survive the yellow fever epidemics of 1877 and 1878.
Creeping Bear At the turn of the 20th century, Memphis' Main Street was a dangerous place and the site of many violent crimes. One of these involved a Native American named Creeping Bear. Some reports said he was a Creek Indian; others said he was a Sioux. Some believed he'd been left stranded in Memphis by a traveling Wild West show.
The Lorraine Hotel, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination, has had a long, uneven history. When the hotel first opened in the 1920s, it was called “The Windsor.”
Lemuel Diggs and the Mid-South Blood Bank When the nation's fourth blood bank opened in Memphis in 1938, blood transfusions were still a new technology. Patients were connected by tubes directly to donors with the proper blood type, and many patients died before a suitable donor could be found.
Christmas in Memphis When you ask Memphians of the certain age to talk about the Christmases of their childhoods, they often mention a train, a puppet, and the circus.Listen
The UT Docs In the fall, Southerners' fancies turn to football, and, in the 1920s, football included the amazing UT Docs.Listen
International Harvester Cotton PickerOn October 2, 1944, several hundred people came to the Hopson plantation outside Clarksville, MS, to watch eight International Harvester mechanical cotton pickers clean the field. Listen
Davy Crockett's Arrival in Memphis Davy Crockett, folk hero, West Tennessee Congressman, bear-hunter, and martyr of the Alamo, had a colorful reputation, which he enjoyed and promoted. And his first entry into Memphis was a fitting addition to his legend. Listen
John Erskine Dr. John Erskine was buried in Elmwood Cemetery on September 17, 1878. Dr Erskine was a native of Alabama. Listen
The Yazoo Delta's Railroad September 10, 1884, is an important date in Memphis history, although one often forgotten. Listen
Annie Cook There were many stories of heroism that arose out of the Yellow Fever outbreaks of the late 19th century, but none stand-out as much as the story of Annie Cook. Listen
The Howard Association In August of 1878, Memphis was struck with its most disastrous Yellow Fever epidemic. The Howard Association, a volunteer group of young businessmen, organized a medical corps to help the devastated city. Listen
The Memphis Jug Band From 1927 through 1934, the Memphis Jug Band created an exceptional sound, combining harmonicas, violins, mandolins, banjos, guitars, washboards, kazoos, and, of course, jugs. Listen
Elvis Presley's Death For many Memphians of a certain age, August 16, 1977 was really “The Day the Music Died.” Elvis Aaron Presley died at his mansion, Graceland. Listen
The Million Dollar Quartet On December 4, 1956, Elvis dropped by Sun Studios to visit Sam Phillips. Although Elvis was now a recording star with RCA, he was still close to Phillips, his old friend and mentor. Listen
Elvis' "First Home" in Memphis Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. He grew-up there in a shotgun shack that his father, Vernon, built.Listen
Baptist Memorial Hospital Memphis has long been a center of medical care and training in the Mid-South. Listen
Marion Post Wolcott On July 14, 1938, photographer Marion Post Wolcott was offered a job with the Farm Securities Administration. Listen
Blair T. Hunt Blair T. Hunt (1888-1978) is a name every Memphian should know. Listen
The Gayoso House The Gayoso House, the first luxury hotel in Memphis, was built in 1842, when the city was barely twenty years old.Listen
Mark Twain in Memphis in 1907 Samuel Clemens, better known to readers worldwide as Mark Twain, had an intimate connection with Memphis. Listen
The Battle of Memphis When the Civil War broke out, Memphis declared its allegiance to the Southern cause. Listen
Luke Weathers June 25, 1945 was Captain Luke Weathers Day. Listen
Carl Karem Some 40,000 men from the Memphis area volunteered to serve in WWII.
Elmwood Cemetery Elmwood Cemetery, founded in 1852, is the oldest active cemetery in Memphis.
Miles Vanderhorst Lynk Miles Vanderhorst Lynk was born on a farm outside of Brownsville, TN, on June 3, 1871.
Memphis Cigar Trade Few Memphians know that Memphis was once a center of the cigar-making trade.
Memorial Day Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May.
The Flood of 1927 Flooding along the Mississippi River is a danger that has always existed.
Bill Terry and the Lichterman Nature Center On May 3, 1938, Bill Terry, former manager of the New York Giants baseball team, bought an estate from Clarence Saunders, founder of Piggly Wiggly.
Associate Justice Abe Fortas Abe Fortas may be the only Supreme Court Justice whose first career was in a dance band.
Admiral Thomas Dewey In May of 1900, Admiral Thomas Dewey, hero of the Spanish-American War, visited Memphis.
The Sultana Disaster On April 21, 1865, the steamboat Sultana left New Orleans. As she left port, she was having problems with leaky boilers, problems that continued to plague the vessel on her way up the river.
The Flood of 1912 The flood of April, 1912, was one of the worst floods ever seen in the Mississippi Valley.
Cossitt Library and Integration On March 23rd, 1960, the Memphis Press Scimitar reported that 23 students from LeMoyne College had tried to use the Cossitt Library and the Brooks Art Museum, and they were charged with trespassing.
Frances Dancy Hooks February 23rd is the birthday of a remarkable woman, Frances Dancy Hooks. In 1949, Mrs. Hooks, wife and steadfast partner of the late Benjamin Hooks, began a career in education that would span 24 years.
Miriam DeCosta-Willis Dr. Miriam DeCosta-Willis is a writer, scholar, and university professor. She has defined her life by her passion for learning and her commitment to equality.
Maxine Atkins Smith Maxine Smith has spent her life working for racial equality and excellence in education.
Sebastian S. Kresge K-Mart is a name and a store most Americans are familiar with. But most people do not know that the man behind the store had a Memphis connection.
Nathan Bedford Forrest Nathan Bedford Forrest is best known for his role as a brilliant military strategist for the Confederacy during the Civil War and as one of the founders of the Ku Klux Klan. But there's more to Forrest's story than that.
Vietnam Memorial Wall Architect's Sample Memphis, TN (2011-11-17) The Vietnam War was one of the signal events of the last half of the 20th century. It was controversial, and the controversy continued long after the war ended.
Frances Wright Memphis, TN (2011-11-1) Scottish by birth, Frances Wright earned her reputation as a reformer in the United States. She was an early champion of women's rights, democracy, the working class, and abolition.
Henry Ford and the Model T Memphis, TN (2011-10-06)Henry Ford founded a car company, and changed our lives forever. His goal was to build a car that most families could afford, and he succeeded.
Clifford H. Poland, Sr. Memphis, TN (2011-09-06) Clifford T. Poland opened the first commercial studio space in Memphis, where he became known for being the only photographer between St. Louis and New Orleans to take color and sound movies at that time.
The Harahan Bridge Memphis, TN (2011-07-13) The Harahan Bridge, originally called the Rock Island Bridge, was named after Memphis businessman J.T. Harahan, who had been killed in a 1912 train wreck. The bridge opened in 1916, but it wasn't until wooden planks were added in 1917 that cars were allowed to cross, single file, across the Mississippi on the steel structure. The bridge remained a single-lane highway until 1949, when the Memphis/Arkansas Bridge was completed. Steve Pike of the Pink Palace Museums in Memphis has more.
Allen James Walker Memphis, TN (2011-04-12) Allen James Walker was born a slave near Germantown, TN in 1845. During the Civil War, Walker was one of the thousands of local slaves who escaped from their bondage. Walker joined the Union Army, which raised 51 black companies from Shelby and Fayette counties.
Alberta Hunter Memphis, TN (2011-04-07) Alberta Hunter, born in Memphis in 1895, became a world-famous musician, performing in Chicago, on Broadway, and abroad with the U.S.O. She continued to perform into her 80s.
Kenneth Laurence Beaudoin Memphis, TN (2010-07-29) Kenneth Lawrence Beaudoin - the Poet Laureate of the River who created the Eye-Poem, had a love for poetry and solving crimes. Fortunately, his life allowed him to do both. Steve Pike brings this Memphis Moment.
Marion Post Wolcott Memphis, TN (2010-07-15) Marion Post Wolcott was one of many photographers hired by the Farms Securities Administration to document life in rural America during the Great Depression.
Baptist Memorial Hospital Memphis, TN (2010-07-08) Baptist Memorial Hospital was founded in 1912. It has developed into a multi-hospital system that reaches into Mississippi.
The Gayoso House Memphis, TN (2010-07-06) In 1842, Memphis entrepreneur Robertson Topp completed the construction of The Gayoso House, the first luxury hotel in Memphis, as part of his development project for South Memphis. Topp hired James Dakin to design and construct the building, which became theplace to stay in Memphis.
Frances Dancy Hooks Memphis, TN (2010-04-22) Frances Dancy Hooks, widow of the late Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks, has fought for social equality her entire life.
Artesian Wells Memphis, TN (2009-07-16) Ever wonder how come the water in Memphis just tastes better? Steve Pike explains the Memphis Artesian Wells.
The History of Coon Creek Memphis, TN (2009-06-30) The Pink Palace Museum runs a modern geological and environmental education center at Coon Creek, offering educational field experience for school groups, collectors, and paleontologists. The site is full of fossils of ancient marine life that lived in the Mississippi Embayment. Steve Pike explains the history of how Coon Creek came into being and of how the Pink Palace acquired the site.
John Robinson Love and the Memphis Letter Carriers Band Memphis, TN (2009-06-11) John Robinson Love, born in Memphis in 1863, founded the Memphis Letter Carriers Band. Although Love died in 1937, the Letter Carriers Band carried on for decades.
Archie Walter "A.W." Willis, Jr. Memphis, TN (2009-05-14) Archie Walter "A.W." Willis, Jr. moved to Memphis to found the first integrated law firm in the city, but this civil rights activist affected far more than just the legal community in Memphis.
The Battle of Memphis Memphis, TN (2009-04-23) When the Civil War broke out, Memphis declared its allegiance to the Southern cause, despite opposition from East Tennessee's Union supporters.
Memphis Moment: Clifford H. Poland, Sr. Memphis, TN (2009-04-22) From 1912-1939, Clifford H. Poland, Sr., took photographs of a developing Memphis, recording slices of the city's economic and social life through his lens.
Memphis Moment: the Harahan Bridge Memphis, TN (2009-03-26) On July 15, 1916, the Harahan Bridge opened for railroad traffic, the second bridge built in Memphis to cross the Mississippi River. Steve Pike of the Pink Palace Museums in Memphis has more.
Memphis Moment: Gray's Creek Missionary Baptist Church Eads, TN (2009-03-24) Founded two decades before the Civil War, Gray's Creek Missionary Baptist Church is one of the oldest black congregations in the area. Steve Pike, director of the Pink Palace Family of Museums in Memphis, has more.
Memphis Moment: Sputnik Monroe 2008.09.02 Wrestling sensation Sputnik Monroe had a philosophy about his sport: win if you can, lose if you must, always cheat, and, if they take you out, leave tearing the ring down. Sputnik helped integrate the seating at Ellis Auditorium, where his wrestling matches took place. WKNO
Memphis Moment: Nash Buckingham 2008.07.31 Nash Buckingham was born in Memphis in 1880 and grew up living the life of an outdoorsman. After an dissatisfying stint as the owner of a sporting goods store in Memphis, Buckingham moved on to writing for Field and Stream magazine. WKNO
Memphis Moment: Blair T. Hunt 2008.07.29 Blair T. Hunt worked behind the scenes on behalf of equality efforts for African Americans in Memphis. He worked hard to educate the poor young black students in his charge in hopes for a brighter future. WKNO
Memphis Moment: J.M. Keating 2008.07.24 J.M. Keating stands out in the history of Memphis journalism. In 1858, he settled in Memphis, taking the position of commercial and city editor of the Memphis Bulletin. During the Yellow Fever epidemics of the late 19th century, Keating remained behind to report on the victims, making the whole country aware of the plight of Memphis' citizens. WKNO
Memphis Moment: The Flatboatmen's War 2008.07.22 In 1841, mayor William Spickernagle was elected to deal with financial problems facing Memphis. He surmised the best way to raise revenue for the river town was to charge a fee for the use of the Memphis wharf; however, his plans ran into trouble when hundreds of flatboatmen refused to pay. WKNO
Memphis Moment: Annie Cook 2008.07.17 Annie Cook became the infamous Madame of the Mansion House brothel in Memphis. During the yellow fever outbreaks that ravaged the city in the late 1800s, Cook selflessly converted her brothel into a hospital for victims, staying behind while others fled the city. WKNO
Memphis Moment: Kenneth Lawrence Beaudoin 2008.07.10 Kenneth Lawrence Beaudoin - the Poet Laureate of the River, had a love for poetry and solving crimes. Fortunately, his life allowed him to do both. WKNO
Memphis Moment: The Murrell Clan 2008.07.10 Members of the Murrell Clan terrorized the citizens of the Mid-South during the 1800s, yet most Memphians have never heard of them. Murder, horse stealing, kidnapping, inciting slave rebellions, and slave stealing are just some of the crimes this gang of hundreds committed. WKNO
Memphis Moment: Sebastian S. Kresge 2008.07.03 While most Memphians are familiar with the K-Mart brand, many have no idea that the founder of K-Mart, Sebastian S. Kresge, got his first shot at a management position right here in Memphis. WKNO
Memphis Moment: The Northbound Express Train Crash of 1871 2008.04.08 In January of 1871, there was a deadly railroad accident on the iron bridge over Nonconnah Creek about four miles south of Memphis. The Northbound Express train was thrown across the track and down an eight foot embankment. Seven people died and many more suffered devastating injuries, many of which were reported in local and the national press.
Memphis Moment: Mayor J.J. Williams Gets Help from Women's Clubs 2008.04.03 During the summer of 1904, Mayor J.J. Williams worked to suppress gambling and all forms of vice in the city. Going beyond what concerned citizens probably wanted, the mayor called on women's society groups to put a halt to all card games where a prize or cash was awarded to the winner. Memphis society suddenly found itself home and free on Bridge night.
Memphis Moment: Francis Julius LeMoyne 2008.03.27 Pennsylvania physician Francis Julian LeMoyne was a committed abolitionist who served as president of the Washington Anti-Slavery Society and later as an agent for the American Anti-Slavery society. His defiance of the Fugitive Slave Act put LeMoyne's personal freedom and fortune at risk. LeMoyne donated $20,000 to a school in Memphis primarily for African Americans. Over 117 years later, the school, now LeMoyne-Owen College, still prepares students for professional careers, leadership, and service.
Memphis Moment: Sharecropping 2008.03.25 After the civil war, the South experienced an economic revolution -- a transition from a plantation economy, based on slave labor, to one of small farms with paid labor. This system was called Sharecropping.
Memphis Moment: Camp Shiloh and Lincoln Chapel 2008.03.25 Lincoln Chapel was a school built for escaped slaves and free blacks which moved to Memphis from Camp Shiloh in 1863.
Memphis Moment: Alpha Kappa Alpha 2008.03.18 Alpha Kappa Alpha, founded in 1908 at Howard University, is the oldest sorority established by African American college women.
Memphis Moment: Napoleon Hill and Cotton 2008.03.13 Napoleon Hill was so successful in business that he became known as "the Merchant Prince of Memphis."
Memphis Moment: Changing Shotwell to Getwell 2008.03.11 In 1943, the US Army opened a 3,000 bed veteran's hospital in Memphis at the corner of Park Avenue and Shotwell Road. The new Kennedy Hospital's address would be on Shotwell, prompting Mrs. M.E. Brown of Marvell Arkansas to write to the Memphis Press-Scimitar claiming the name of the street would not be appropriate for wounded soldiers returning home.
Memphis Moment: Carey Fowler and the Global Crop Diversity Trust 2008.03.04 Cary Fowler, a native Memphian and a leader in the field of conservation and crop diversity, is out to save the world, on seed at a time. A graduate of White Station High School and Southwestern College, he is now the Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, working to preserve millions of seeds, representing all of the world's known food plants. He plans to store all the seeds in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, an underground sub-zero storage facility, carved out of a remote Arctic mountain.
Memphis Moment: Larry Brown and the Memphis Red Sox 2008.02.28 The Memphis Red Sox, one of the most exciting teams in the Negro League in the 1930s and 1940s, had one of the best catchers and defenders of home plate helping bring much attention to their team. Larry Brown played briefly with the Red Sox in the mid-1920s, until he left to play for several teams between 1925 and 1938, helping the Chicago American Giants win the 1926 Negro World Series. By 1938, Brown returned to the Memphis Red Sox, catching for the team and eventually becoming the manager. WKNO
Memphis Moment: Belle Edmondson, Confederate Spy 2008.02.26 During the Civil War, Belle Edmondson lived on a farm with her family in Shelby County, in an area south of Yankee occupied Memphis. Belle became a spy for the Confederacy, carrying supplies and information through her family farm, which lay between Memphis and the Confederate line. Eventually, she aroused suspicion and had to hide in Mississippi to avoid arrest until after war's end. WKNO
Memphis Moment: Georgia Tann and Unlicensed Adoption 2008.02.21 From 1924 until 1950, Georgia Tann, posing as a kindly social worker, persuaded poor, young, ill, and frightened young mothers to sign over their newborn babies, then sell the babies to unwitting adoptive parents. By the late 1940s, Tann was under investigation for corruption. She died of cancer in 1950, before being charged with any crimes. WKNO
Memphis Moment: Memphis Slim 2008.02.19 Born in Memphis in 1915, John Peter Chatman, otherwise known as Memphis Slim, began recording in the 1930s for Bluebird Records. His singles included Beer Drinking Women and Grinder Man Blues. Slim and friends formed a band, Memphis Slim and the Houserockers, and their innovative use of horns gave the blues a new sound. In 1962, Slim moved to Europe, touring with jazz drummer George Collier, eventually settling in Paris. In 1989, Memphis Slim was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. WKNO
Memphis Moment: Photography of Early Memphis Faces 2008.02.14 In 1843, Merriman and Clark opened the first permanent photo studio in Memphis. Anyone wanting an exact counterfeit presentment of themselves, their mother, lover, father, or friend could stop by the Watch Shop, witness the operations, and obtain an exact likeness. It required less than one-minute of the sitter's time, and, in all cases, the likeness was warranted. WKNO
Memphis Moment: Jessie Turner Jr., and Memphis Integration 2008.02.12 In 1963, a mother wanted her son to gain admission to Christian Brothers High School. Her only problem? The color of her son's skin. The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Tennessee had decided to gradually integrate the Catholic schools, but this was not good enough for Mrs. Turner. With help from the NAACP, her son, Jessie Turner, Jr. became the first African American to desegregate a Memphis High School, while earning the highest GPA in his freshman class at CBHS. WKNO
Memphis Moment: The Parkway 2008.01.31 Parts of what we now know as North Parkway was once commonly referred to as "the Speedway." It measured one exact mile, stretching between the streets of Stonewall and University, separating the two drives of Nor Parkway with a 50-foot wide strip. Building began in January of 1905...
Memphis Moment: Rhodes College 2008.01.29 In 1848, a little school by the name of the Masonic University of Tennessee was founded in Clarksville, Tennessee. In 1850 the name changed to Montgomery Masonic College and still later was renamed as Stewart College in honor of its president William M. Stewart.
Memphis Moment: The Sterick Building 2008.01.24 Downtown Memphis is full of beautiful but forgotten architecture. One example is the Sterick Building on Madison. Today it is run down, with a poor paint job and dirty windows. But in its prime, the Sterick was known as the Queen of Memphis.
Memphis Moment: The Lorraine Motel 2008.01.22 The Lorraine Motel, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination, has had a long uneven history. When the hotel first opened in the 1920's, it was called the Windsor. In the era of Jim Crow segregation, it was one of the few hotels which welcomed black travelers.
Memphis Moment: Terminix 2008.01.15 Edward Lawson Bruce was born into a sawmilling family in Kansas and opened several lumberyards of his own. Unfortunately, he lost his first three sawmills to two floods and a fire in 1912. In 1914, he moved his business to Little Rock, Arkansas.
Memphis Moment - Back to Beale 2008.01.10 In the 1940's, the Memphis City Commission changed the name of Beale Street to Beale Avenue, because all east-west roads were designated "avenues." Twelve years later, entertainer and St. Jude founder, Danny Thomas launched a protest.
Memphis Moment - Memphis Automobile 2008.01.08 Southern Automobile Manufacturing was only in the city directory for one year, 1921, when the company made history with the construction of the Southern Six. At most, three cars were produced.
Memphis Moment: Danny Thomas and the Founding of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital 2008.01.03 A struggling actor, born on January 6th, 1914 as Amos Muzyad Jahoob, once knelt down in prayer in front of a statue of Saint Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes. He asked for guidance and help in his career, pledging in return to build a shrine to the saint.
Memphis Moment - Yellow Fever and Board of Experts 2007.12.26 In the Fall and Winter of 1878, Memphis was still reeling, and grieving, from the Summer's Yellow Fever epidemic. Aid was coming into Memphis from every state in the Union and even from foreign countries. On December 26, the first meeting of the Board of Experts convened to investigate the still unknown cause of the disease. WKNO
Memphis Moment - The Heliopolis 2007.12.18 Steamboats were very important to the growth success of early Memphis. But there were serious problems surrounding early steamboat navigation and a man named Henry Miller Shreve solved some of the worst of them. One of the greatest threats to river traffic was the problem of snags which were underwater trees, stumps, or branches that created obstructions to river navigation. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Original Memphis Pyramid 2007.12.13 The Pyramid in downtown Memphis is a well-recognized work of architecture in the Mid-South. But it was not the original pyramid to represent the bluff city. In 1897, the Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition was held in Nashville and each major city was invited to represent themselves for one day during this World's Fair. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Lucie Campbell 2007.12.11 It's been said that Lucie Campbell was to religious music what W.C. Handy was to the Blues. Young Lucie began her musical training by eavesdropping on her older sister's music lessons. Their widowed mother could only afford lessons for one of her seven children. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Fourth Blood Bank In U.S. 2007.12.06 When the nation's fourth blood bank opened in Memphis, in 1938, blood transfusions were still a new technology. Patients were connected, by tubes, directly to donors with the proper blood type and many patients died before a suitable donor could be found. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Gayoso House 2007.12.04 The Gayoso House, the first luxury hotel in Memphis, was built in 1842, when the city was barely 20 years old. The hotel was the brainchild and pet project of young Memphis entrepreneur Robertson Topp, as part of his plan to develop South Memphis. The development included warehouses, commercial buildings, and a group of superbly constructed homes, with the Gayoso as its centerpiece. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Shelby County 2007.11.27 A new county was established in West Tennessee on November 24, 1819. Fittingly it was named in honor of Isaac Shelby. Shelby and Andrew Jackson had negotiated a treaty with the Chickasaws for all the land between the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers. This cession made it possible to settle West Tennessee. WKNO
Memphis Moment - James Winchester 2007.11.22 James Winchester, one of the founders of Memphis, was born in Maryland in 1752. He served under George Washington in the American Revolution, endured capture by the British, and moved to Middle Tennessee after his release. By 1785, Winchester had built a fortified home in this still-untamed wilderness, survived Inidan attacks which killed his brother and several friends and started a family with his young wife, Susan.
Memphis Moment - Phoebe Fairgrave 2007.11.20 Phoebe Fairgrave was born on November 21, 1902. She fell in love with flying and, by 1920, was touring the courty with Phoebe Fairgrave Flying Circus. She parachuted, danced on the wings and hung by her teeth from planes. She also set the record for a woman's parachute jump at 15,200 feet. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Tennessee's Pioneer Nurse 2007.11.15 Lena Angevine Warner is rightfully known as Tennessee's pioneer nurse. Lena Angevine, born in Grenada, Mississippi in 1869, was the only member of her immediate family to survive the yellow fever epidemics of 1877 and 1878. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Armistice Agreement 2007.11.13 At 11:00 AM on November 11, 1918 the guns along the Western Front fell silent; men climbed out of their trenches for the last time. The armistice agreement ending the First World War had gone into effect. The war ended after four years of fights and millions of deaths. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Steam Boat & Memphis 2007.11.08 Memphis has been one of America's foremost transportation hubs for longer than most people know. Everybody knows about FedEx and Delta Airlines - companies with local roots - but it was Mississippi River steamboats that first made the city a transportation hub. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Neely-Mallory House 2007.11.06 On November 7, 1900, Frances Neely married Barton Lee Mallory. Frances, affectionately known as "Daisy," was the daughter of James Columbus Neely, a successful cotton factor. The couple spent their married life in the house at 652 Adams Avenue. "Daisy" was still living in the house when she died in 1969. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Fort Pickering 2007.11.01 Soon after Memphis fell into Federal hands in June of 1862, General Henry Halleck ordered the construction of a fort at Memphis. General William Tecumseh Sherman supervised the project. The fort, large enough to hold 10,000 men, was designed with some of the most elaborate fortifications seen at the time. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Yellow Fever & Law Enforcement 2007.10.30 Before 1878, no African American was allowed to serve on the Memphis Police Force. But the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1878, which killed more than 5,000 Memphians and forced thousands of others to flee for their lives, altered the city's social fabric and left the city with inadequate police protection. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Robert Reed Church 2007.10.25 Robert Reed Church, Jr. was born on October 26, 1885. He was educated for the world of business and worked with his father in banking for several years. After his father's death in 1912, Church devoted his energies to politics. And that was where he made his greatest contribution. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Old Time Papers 2007.10.23 James Davis, a long-time Memphis resident and harbor master, was an enthusiastic, if imaginative historian of the city's early years. The facts in his "Old Time Papers," were sometimes more imaginative than factual. But Davis certainly recorded the spirit of the times along with the attitudes and personalities of the early settlers. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Doc Hottum 2007.10.18 On September 22, 1959 Memphis lost one of its greatest businessmen. Christopher H. 'Doc' Hottum, a saloon and restaurant owner, was also a well-known promoter of sporting events, social activities and daring feats. He first rose to fame in Memphis in 1892 when the Frisco Bridge was completed. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Court Square 2007.10.17 Court Square, the true centerpiece of downtown Memphis, endured many trials throughout its history. The park was laid out in 1819 before the first city lot was sold. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Model T Ford 2007.10.17 Henry Ford founded a car company and changed our lives forever. His goal was to build a car that most families could afford. The first Model T sold on October 1, 1908. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Yazoo Delta's Railroad 2007.10.17 September 10th, 1884 is an important date in Memphis' history, although often forgotten. This was the day that the final stake was nailed into what was then known as the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad, later to finally be a part of the Illinois Central Gulf. WKNO
Memphis Moment - E.H. Crump 2007.10.17 On October 16, 1954 one of the most colorful characters in Memphis history, Edward Hull Crump, died shortly after his 70th birthday. "Boss Crump," as he was respectfully referred to, dominated politics and life here for more than 40 years. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Mary Church Terrell 2007.08.30 Mary Church Terrell, one of the country's leading activists for civil rights and women's suffrage, was the daughter of black Memphis business tycoon Robert R. Church, Sr. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Robert Reed Church 2007.08.28 On August 29, 1912, Memphis lost a major figure: Robert Reed Church, Sr. He was the son of a black woman and a white steamboat captain who was also a director of the Union & Planters Bank. Church, himself, founded and was president of the largest black owned bank in Tennessee and became the South's first black millionaire.
Memphis Moment - Hamlin - Freeman Duel 2007.08.23 By 1870 dueling had long been outlawed in Tennessee, but that didn't stop two Memphis men from facing off over the love of a woman in a field off of Highway 51, just over the Mississippi state line. Only one would return to Memphis alive. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Tennessee and the Women's Suffrage Movement 2007.08.21 On August, 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment that gave American women the right to vote. Harry T. Burn, a representative from McMinn County, cast the deciding vote after receiving a letter from his mother. As he later commented, Every good boy does what his mother asks. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Elvis Remembered 2007.08.16 For many Memphians of a certain age, August 16th, 1977 was really the Day the Music Died. Elvis Aaron Presley died at his mansion, Graceland, here in our city. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Elvis and the "King Creole" Conflict 2007.08.14 King Creole was Elvis' fourth movie and many critics believe it was his best. The film had a terrific soundtrack and an excellent cast with Elvis, of course, playing the lead. However, in December of 1957, while he was filming the movie, Elvis received his draft notice. WKNO
Memphis Moment - High Point Terrace 2007.08.09 The High Point Terrace suburb was built for the baby boom. In the 1940's and 50's, this area, then on the outskirts of Memphis, was transformed from large estates, small farms, and forests, to gently curving rows of tract housing. It was the perfect setting for living the American Dream. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Yellow Fever Strikes Memphis 2007.08.07 In August of 1878, Memphis was struck with its most disastrous Yellow Fever epidemic. The Howard Association, a volunteer group of young businessmen, organized a medical corps to help the devastated city. Volunteer physicians and nurses came from all over the country to treat the thousands of disease victims. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Holiday Inn 2007.08.02 On August 1, 1952, Kemmons Wilson opened his first Holiday Inn on Summer Avenue in Memphis and changed forever the way American families traveled. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Memphis Movie Censorship 2007.07.31 In the 1920's, Boss Crump appointed Lloyd T. Binford to protect Memphis moviegoers from offensive films. With absolute power over waht could be shown in theaters here, Binford became America's most notorious censor. For 27 years, he saw to it htat many of the country's most popular films were "banned in Memphis." WKNO
Memphis Moment - APA Artist Depicts DeSoto's Exploration 2007.07.26 Three dramatic murals, depicting Hernando DeSoto's exploration of this area, have hung in the lobby of the Pink Palace Mansion for 73 years. They were painted in 1934 by 27-year-old Memphis artist, Burton Callicott. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Yellow Fever Ravages Memphis 2007.07.24 Two things are certain: the weater is hot and the mosquitoes are hungry. The impact the tiny insect has had on Memphis belies its size. Three times in the 1870's, Memphis was ravaged by yellow fever. The common belief was that stagnant water and rotting vegetation released a poisonous "miasma" into the air. And that "bad air" caused yellow fever and other illnesses. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Baptist Memorial 2007.07.19 One of our largest hospitals, Baptist Memorial Hospital, opened on July 20, 1912. It was located on Union Avenue in what was then the heart of Memphis. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Ida B Wells 2007.07.17 Ida B. Wells was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi on July 16, 1862. Her parents died of yellow fever when she was 16. She supported her seven younger brothers and sisters by teaching school. She managed to attend nearby Rust College, and eventually moved to Memphis where she continued to teach and began writing for a small black newspaper. WKNO
Memphis Moment - malone and Hyde 2007.07.12 Farmers and planters in the Mid-South have usually concentrated on cotton, not food crops. This simple fact of life gave Memphis-based wholesale grocers a ready market and a very competitive one. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Photographer Marion Post Wolcott 2007.07.10 On July 14, 1938, photographer Marion Post Wolcott was offered a job with the Farm Securities Administration. She was one of many photographers hired to produce a picture of life during the Great Depression. She spent more than three years in the Mid-South, documenting the cotton industry in the upper Mississippi Delta. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Church of God In Christ 2007.07.05 The Church of God In Christ was founded in 1897 by Charles Harrison Mason. Mason was empowered with absolute authority to establish doctrine, appoint church hierarchy, and start new churches. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Babe Ruth Plays Memphis 2007.07.03 In April of 1930, the New York Yankees made a stop at Memphis' Russwood Park for an exhibition game with the Memphis Chicks. The great Babe Ruth was there, but the Memphis fans did not expect to see him play. WKNO
Memphis Moment - Elmwood Cemtery 2007.06.28 Elmwood Cemetery was founded in 1852, is the oldest, active cemetery in Memphis. The name Elmwood was selected by a drawing from a list of proposed names. Elm trees had to be planted afterwards. This non-denominational cemetery is the final resting place for over 70,000 people of all races, occupations and social status. WKNO
Memphis Moment - de Tocquevill's Trek Through the South 2007.06.26 Alexis de Tocqueville's trek to Memphis was rough. Heading south in the winter they encountered a particularly bitter winter. Near Louisville, Kentucky, they abandoned their steamboat because the Ohio River was blocked by ice. They finally reached Memphis in mid-December hoping to take a boat to New Orleans, only to find the Mississippi frozen over. They were stranded for eight days. WKNO