Samuel Clemens, better known to readers worldwide as Mark Twain, had an intimate connection with Memphis.
Before he achieved fame as a writer, Clemens worked on the Mississippi River and made frequent stops in the Bluff City. At one time, he even had all of his mail forwarded to a box in Memphis, attesting to his connection with the city.
It is tragedy, however, which is most often remembered as the link between Clemens and Memphis. Clemens' love for the river led him to convince his younger brother Henry to also seek work on the Mississippi.
Miles Vanderhorst Lynk was born on a farm outside of Brownsville, TN, on June 3, 1871.
Lynk graduated from medical school, became the first black physician in Jackson, TN, and founded the first medical journal published by an African-American. He also was co-founder of the National Medical Association for African-American Physicians.
The Great Depression pushed cotton prices to drastically low levels. The Memphis economy was suffering.
In early 1931, Arthur Halle and a group of businessmen founded a festival to promote cotton and Memphis. The first Cotton Carnival was held in March, but soon moved to May, a warmer month. Today’s Carnival is usually held the first week of June.
Because of segregation, blacks could not participate. So Dr. R.Q. Venson founded what became the Cotton Makers Jubilee in 1935 for African-Americans. The events ran parallel to one another for nearly half a century.