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During the 1920s, minstrel show performer Lincoln Perry created a character for his first film role that made him the first African- American movie star. However, his struggle for equal treatment combined with widespread opposition to the character he portrayed, forced Perry to flee Hollywoo…

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For more than 50 years, immigrants from Korea have been settling in Memphis and contributing to the growth of the city. According to the Korean Association of Memphis, the first Korean to move to Memphis was Kim Yeon-ok, who arrived in 1962. Since then several thousand Korean Americans have …

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Enjoy scenes from oldtime Christmases with Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadiians as they play and sing “An Old-Fashioned Christmas Tree” accompanied with pictures from several decades in the past.

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For several years now, I have gone to sleep each night listening to radio dramas from the 1940s and early 1950s. And when I wake up during the night, I listen to them to get back to sleep.

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In 1878 Memphis’ fifth Catholic Church, St. Joseph’s, was opened at the corner of Georgia and Florida streets in the southern section of the city. Designed to serve the city’s growing Italian population, it became one of the oldest and most important Catholic congregations in the City of Memphis.

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Every time I see the jars of Peter Pan Peanut Butter on the grocery shelf I think of Sky King, not the TV show, but the radio show of the late 1940s and early 1950s.

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The 2016 book “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly and the subsequent Hollywood film of the same name chronicled the lives of several African American women who were skilled mathematicians and made many contributions to aeronautics, computer science, mathematics and space exploration.

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Earlier this year, The Commercial Appeal carried a headline that read “Hawaii too pricey for teachers.” Perhaps you resonate to the title because your Visa card is not overprone to handle an exotic trip just at present. Maybe vicarious travel is more compatible with your non-budget. May I re…

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In the early afternoon of June 22, 1949, Frank Goodwin, business manager for the Hull-Dobbs automobile company, boarded an American Airlines Convair passenger plane at the Memphis Municipal Airport.

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Those of us who are now old (let’s face it, not “older” or “senior citizens,” but old) can look back on a golden age of telephonic communication quite unknown to the younger populace.

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In the 1920s, First Baptist Church of Memphis developed a novel approach to spreading the Gospel when they received a license from the Federal Communications Commission to operate a radio station.

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Several Russian immigrants have made contributions to Memphis history, including merchant Samuel Bejach and Will Gerber, who served as Shelby County attorney general. Another important Russian family was headed by Harry and Hannah Shainberg, who owned a grocery and their son Sam, who operate…

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Last week my grandnephew asked me what a circus was like. With increased operating costs and long and costly legal battles with animal rights groups, coupled with movies and television depicting clowns as murderous fiends, I realized he would never have the opportunity to experience the joy …

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A few days ago the world was shocked to hear the news of another mass killing by someone using guns.

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No, no, no! The first word in the title above is no misspelling (although a lot of people misspell the word “misspelling”). It’s the last name of a fellow who would love to regale you with his repertoire of baseball stories, namely, Houston Akin. His house is like a baseball card museum. If …

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Betcha don’t know who Frances Octavia Smith is. We’re talking about the one from Osceola, Ark. She may well have been the most popular woman in the world at one point (“Give me a break,” someone’s thinking aloud).

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The most important trait of Memphis music is the bending and melding of different styles -- blues, country, jazz and rhythm and blues - to create a new musical whole. One of the greatest of these Memphis-style musicians was Lil Hardin Armstrong, whose compositions and performances expanded j…

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On New Year’s Day 1933, former river pilot Captain Neff Dukes, 90, was in the mood to reminisce. He wanted to see the Mississippi again. His son Hamilton drove him from their home at 1731 Galloway to the old Kate Adams steamboat wharf located near the foot of Union Avenue. While gazing out o…

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For decades, Memphis and other cities had small, independently owned grocery stories scattered in their residential neighborhoods.

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Every year when my wife and I were growing up, we listened to Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” on the Sunday night Hallmark Playhouse. And by comparing notes, we discovered that we both had made it only so far in the show until hearing those horrendous, clanking chains of Marley’s ghost before o…

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In the 1930s and 1940s, Swing was one of the most popular styles of music in Memphis. The Peabody Skyway, the fairgrounds’ Casino, the Cascades Roof Garden at the Claridge Hotel and several other nightspots across town provided audiences a steady stream of Big Band performances by such artis…

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In the 1950s the City of Memphis was one of the most important economic centers in the Southern United States. The economy was so strong that many entrepreneurs relocated to the Bluff City to grow their portfolio. One such businessman was Levi Shelton Hartzog, the owner of a small bakery in …

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In the early evening of Saturday June 14, 1941, law enforcement officers took into custody E. E. “Johnnie” Ashcraft, a dragline operator whose wife’s lifeless body had been found lying in a Raleigh ditch nine days before.

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I suppose that, in most cities of any size, there is no longer such a thing as a “neighborhood” movie theater. If that is so, some slight explanation of the term for younger readers may be in order. Using Memphis as an example, until around 1970 major new motion pictures were first shown at …

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Earlier this year, I started a series about how we can be tourists in our own hometown and come to appreciate the interesting activities and culture that Memphis has to offer. It’s a chance to look at our city with fresh eyes, perhaps in the way that millions of yearly visitors see us.

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Karl Marx’s political theory of Communism - which advocated class warfare, required the collective ownership of all property and brought tyranny to half the globe - had a pernicious effect on many parts of the world, including America. Even Memphis was not immune to its influence. From the e…

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In 1951 KWEM 99 Am Radio Station, already broadcasting to the greater Memphis area from West Memphis, Arkansas, moved to Memphis. The Dee Rivers Groups from Valdasta, Georgia, had purchased the station and set up their offices and studios at 64 Buntyn Ave. (now Flicker Street) in Memphis.

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When human slavery scarred the landscape of Shelby County, a small band of slaves joined with free persons of color to establish Gray’s Creek Missionary Baptist Church in the rural enclave of Eads.

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While young people today may actually not know that an old-time radio was once like a piece of furniture in virtually every household, I am assuming that the readers of this little essay are old geezers like me and need no further description.

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In the spring of 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was in in the midst of planning his Poor People’s Campaign -- a mass demonstration in the nation’s capital designed to pressure Congress into redistributing funds to eliminate poverty in the United States.

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I have a friend who keeps a loaded schedule all week working with a lot of people. Most weekends he decompresses with marathon golf. He can usually be found a few hours a weekend plugged into a televised PGA tournament; and, it seems the game is sufficient to let the week go and relax the me…

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Founded in 1890 as a subdivision exclusively for African Americans, the community of Orange Mound has done more for its residents than perhaps any other neighborhood in Memphis. Since the 1930s dedicated leaders have improved the quality of education and health care in the subdivision and pr…

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Jimmy Stewart and Orson Welles are there in separate versions of “A Christmas Carol.”

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As a youngster growing up in Georgia, Hank Aaron was always my favorite baseball player and hero. I still remember vividly the home run chase and the night he hit No. 715 to pass Babe Ruth. I get goosebumps when I watch a replay and hear Milo Hamilton’s voice make the call.

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In 1906 a young barber from Springfield, Tenn., named William Turner Griffin was sworn in as a deputy by Shelby County Sheriff Frank Monteverde. This young deputy would go on to serve as an inspector with the Memphis Police Department and as the head of his own private investigations firm. B…

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In the 20th century, planned communities, designed to control automobile traffic and eliminate the noise and bustle of urban life, were built in many parts of the United States such as Levittown in New York and Radburn in New Jersey.

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By Brittany Anas Ever feel like you need a personal assistant? Subscription services come close—saving you time on everything from laundry to meal prep. Plus, there’s a fun factor with these services as you discover new beauty trends from around the globe, find a fashion...

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