In August of 1870, the brutal murder of Colonel Thomas Dickins was reported in the Memphis Avalanche. According to the article, Col. Dickins, returning to his farm near Raleigh, "was way-laid by some fiend, and his life destroyed, in daylight, on a public road."
The assassin had ambushed the victim and fired both barrels of a shotgun into Col. Dickins' body from close range.
Frank and Jesse James hold a prominent place in the history of outlaws. One member of the James gang has a Memphis connection. Captain Kit Dalton, born in Logan County, Kentucky in 1848, ran away from home during the Civil War and joined Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry.
Struck by the destruction that he witnessed when he returned home on a furlough, Dalton organized a band of guerrillas to avenge what he believed to be Union atrocities. Soon it became impossible for Dalton and his gang to return home, so he linked his fortunes with the James gang, and the rest is history.
In March of 1934, Dr. R.Q. Venson, a Beale Street dentist, took his nephew to a Cotton Carnival parade. While at the parade, his nephew pointed-out that, “the negroes were horses,” meaning that black men were pulling the floats.
In reaction to this, Dr. Venson requested that blacks be allowed to fully participate in future Cotton Carnivals.
His request was denied, so, Dr. Venson created the Cotton Makers Jubilee as an alternative to the racially-segregated Cotton Carnival. Black Memphians would have their own festival.