Black Monday Arrests
Marching on Beale Street
Freedom Sunday Meeting
Picketing on Main Street
This week we launch a new Civil Rights Collection, combining materials from various manuscript collections, including the Frank Holloman Collection, the George W. Lee Collection, the A.W. Willis, Jr. Collection, the Arthur L. Webb Collection, and the Catholic Human Relations Council Papers.
Eldon Holliday began curating this collection as an intern, but in the process of working on it we hired him to work full-time in the History Department. (And we started calling him “Chip.” He’s okay with that, but not “Chipper.” Just an FYI.) It is all a well-developed plan to make sure that he keeps doing great work like this and that he continues to add to this particular collection along the way.
This digital collection also contains a slide show, entitled The Unfulfilled Dream: A History of Race Relations and Civil Rights in Memphis since the Civil War, and images from an earlier version of the Civil Rights Digital Collection.
As Veterans Day approaches, it seems like a great time to talk about Luke Weathers, Jr.
As one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, Lt. Col. Luke Weathers, Jr., received the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross with seven clusters for the dozens of missions he flew over Europe and North Africa during World War II. He was honored with a parade on Beale Street for “Luke Weathers Day” on June 25, 1945, and received the keys to the city — all part of a larger effort to raise money for the war effort. The campaign raised enough to pay for a B-24 Liberator, and it was named “The Spirit of Beale Street” in honor of the community that funded it.
After the war, Lt. Col. Weathers continued to break barriers, becoming the first African-American air traffic controller at the Memphis Airport, and helping to bring other minorities into the field.
Lt. Col. Weathers was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on January 20, 2012, with the full honors he deserved: a four-jet flyover in “missing man” formation, a horse-drawn caisson, a 21-gun salute, and the playing of “Taps.” We are extremely grateful to the Weathers family, especially his son, Luke III, for sharing these photos and stories with us.
Click here to view all of the images in Dig Memphis related to Luke Weathers, Jr.
We are pleased to announce that our new Benjamin L. Hooks Collection is now available on Dig Memphis.
This past summer, Matthew Hicks and Katie Jakovich (our archival fellows from Rhodes) processed the Benjamin L. Hooks manuscript collection and digitized selected items from that collection for inclusion here in the digital archive. In addition, Hooks’ daughter, Patricia Hooks Gray, very kindly allowed us to make digital copies of a large number of family photographs which have also been added to this digital collection.
The digital collection includes dozens of photographs of Hooks with civil rights leaders, presidents, family members and celebrities, as well as documents and reports related to his time as the Executive Director of the NAACP and a member of the FCC.
We hope you will join us on Saturday, October 25th, at 2:00 to celebrate the opening of the Benjamin L. Hooks Collection and to congratulate Matt and Katie on a job well done.
September 15 – Origins of the Great War (Robert Cruthirds, Central Library History Department)
September 29 – War Lands: The Environmental Impact of the First World War and the Making of the 20th Century (Tait Keller, Rhodes College)
October 20 – WarUntold.com: The Stories of WWI Soldiers (G. Andrew Pouncey, WWI Historian)
November 10 – Book Discussion of All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (Central Reader’s Club)