Memphis, Briefly 

Historian and author G. Wayne Dowdy says that A Brief History of Memphis (The History Press, $19.99) tells the city's story in largely a positive light, outlining three revolutions that changed the world. But, he notes, "To understand the city, you can't ignore more unsavory aspects."

One such aspect is the matter of a disgruntled politician, circa 1830s, who allegedly sent a boat filled with animal waste into a bay, where it turned over and contaminated the water. Countering this nasty business is the role of African Americans in politics. Dowdy says they came up with the strategy of bloc voting and planted the seeds of the civil rights movement. That was one revolution.

The other two revolutions that had far-reaching consequences were Memphis' roles in music (notably Elvis and Stax) and in entrepreneurship (Piggly Wiggly, FedEx).

A Brief History of Memphis is Dowdy's fourth book. He's written two on the political legacy of E.H. Crump (far more progressive than people give him credit for, Dowdy says) and one titled Hidden History of Memphis, which includes the remarkable tale of a Boy Scout who uncovered a German spy ring.

"The place is not perfect," Dowdy says of the city, "but it has a unique story to tell."

G. Wayne Dowdy signs "A Brief History of Memphis" Thursday, December 8th, 6 p.m., at the Booksellers at Laurelwood.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Kohinoorgasm

From My Seat

Goose Bumps Galore

Hungry Memphis

Old Venice to Morph into Venice Kitchen

Politics Beat Blog

Hundreds Rally to Save Mueller Inquiry

News Blog

LeMoyne-Owen receives donation at its gala

Politics Beat Blog

Rally to Safeguard Mueller Investigation

Tiger Blue

Tigers 47, Tulsa 21

Fly On The Wall Blog

Gannett Digital Sees Revenue Increase. That's the Good News

Beyond the Arc

Is It Time To Worry About Mike Conley?

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Time Warp With Ahnold this Saturday!

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Susan Ellis

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation