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Black History Facts

by Michelle Wilson Bradley, Special to The New Tri-State Defender More than 800 people attended the 17th annual “Memphis Living Legends 2019” service at New Sardis Baptist Church on Feb. 24. “This is a day of celebration where we honor so many, who mean so much to so many,” said Pastor...
Heritage Tours, which principal operator Elaine Turner describes as the state’s first African-American-owned tour company, no longer is overseeing the blue-and-white shotgun house that reflects the meager beginnings of W.C. Handy, renowned as the “Father of the Blues.” Situated on the east end of the Beale Street Entertainment District, the...
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Memphis is known as a hoops town now. But for a big chunk of the 20th Century, baseball was king. And for African Americans in Memphis, that probably meant being a fan of the Memphis Red Sox -- and going to games at the ONLY stadium owned by African...
Fifty-five years last fall, 
local history was being
 made at what’s now the
 University of Memphis
 (then, Memphis State Uni
versity). Barbara Mull, my 
mother, along with six of 
her peers – Sue Parham,
 Jackie Briggs (Sales), 
Shirley Hill (Jones), Billie
Gayle Baker (Gholson),
Velma Wallace (Jones) 
and Claudine Stansbury,
 crossed Delta...
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This journey into Memphis' not-so-hidden history has been fascinating -- both for what I'm learning and because of the amazing reception it's gotten. Last week, we debuted the first two clips in our series, featuring The People's Grocery Lynchings and the story of The University of West Tennessee, Memphis' long-gone...
Thirty years ago this year, in 1989, my father, Eddie Lee Smith Jr., made history as the first African American elected mayor of my hometown of Holly Springs, Mississippi. It was a pretty big deal at the time, though when you think about it, it shouldn’t have been. I think...
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I've observed an ironic paradox as I drive around the streets of Memphis. And it has to do with historical markers. On one hand, they were all erected to bring attention to the people and events that have shaped our communities, our city and the state of Tennessee. The irony...
The life expectancy at birth for an African-American man born as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was in 1929 would have been about 47, according to Vol. 50, No. 6 of the National Vital Statistics Reports. For women, it would have been 49. The ages for white men and white...
FLAGS FLY FOR AN EX-PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA ‘TOO NICE’ FOR THE JOB Dec. 31, 2018 (GIN) - Former President Alhaji Shehu Usman Shagari, a devout Muslim, a former school teacher, son of a farmer, trader and herder, was remembered this month as a nice man, a gentle man but not...
by Dr. L. LaSimba M. Gray Jr. In spite of the pathos of segregation, there were some benefits for African Americans. Segregation created the “crucible of necessity.” A crucible – in its classic sense – is a vessel used to melt materials at a high temperature for the purpose of purification....