Tag Archives: African American history

Memories of a Massacre

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One-hundred and fifty years ago this May, a conflict between local policemen and African American soldiers set off three days of rioting in Memphis and resulted in the deaths of nearly 50 people — almost all African Americans.  Now known as the Memphis Massacre, this event heavily influenced the path of Reconstruction and the eventual passage of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Over the next three months, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary, the University of Memphis and the National Park Service are partnering with several local institutions for a series of discussions, lectures, and book talks with the goal of bringing greater public awareness to this pivotal–yet largely unknown– event in our history.

The full calendar of events, more information about the Massacre, and links to resources are all available at the University of Memphis’  Memories of a Massacre website. The Memphis Public Library & Information Center will be hosting two of these events:  “Great Conversations — The Memphis Massacre” with Dr. Timothy Huebner on March 22 at 5:30 pm and a Book Discussion led by Drs. Bond and O’Donovan on April 14th at 6 pm.

The Memphis and Shelby County Room houses several items relating to life in Memphis during this time period, including two illustrations of the Massacre that were originally published in Harper’s Weekly on May 26, 1866:

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(Click either picture to see the full description in Dig Memphis)

Other 19th Century Memphis items may be viewed at the following links: 1820s, 1830s, 1840s, 1850s, 1860s, 1870s, 1880s, 1890s.

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Filed under Black History, Civil Rights, Civil War, Memphis History, Military History

University of Memphis Digital Repositories

Exciting news!

The University Libraries Digital Repository at the University of Memphis has created new photo galleries that are available to the public.  Currently, three collections are available:

  • National African American Photographic Archive
  • Robert R. Church Family of Memphis
  • Sanitation Workers’ Strike, 1968

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Filed under Photographs, Resources

Coming Soon: Miriam DeCosta-Willis

On Saturday, February 26th, join us at 2:00 pm in the Memphis Room to celebrate the release of Miriam DeCosta-Willis’ new book, Black Memphis Landmarks.  At the same time, the Miriam DeCosta-Willis Collection will be made available to the public for the first time.

Mrs. DeCosta-Willis has had a remarkable career as a scholar, a writer and as a civil rights leader, and the collection will include materials from all aspects of her life and career.

Until then, let us tease you with some of the photos from her collection.  Approximately 30 photos from the Miriam DeCosta-Willis Collection have been added to the Civil Rights Photograph Collection.  Enjoy!

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Filed under Authors, Black History, Books, Buildings, Civil Rights, Collections, Events

Black Memphians

In honor of Black History Month, we have created a display of some of the great leaders, thinkers and doers from our fair city.  A few of the people included in the display:

Ethyl Venson founded the Cotton Makers’ Jubilee in 1935, along with her husband Ransom Q. Venson.   She was also the first woman and African-American to be appointed to the board of the Memphis Housing Authority.

A great portrait of Bob Church, Jr., W.C. Handy and Lt. George Lee.

Memphis native and author Arthur Flowers.

To see the complete gallery, please click here.

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Filed under Black History, Portraits