When people think of wrestler Sputnik Monroe’s records, they think of his stance against segregation and his wrestling titles. They don’t think of the songs he recorded on vinyl, his literal record. But the man who in the late 1950s desegregated Memphis’ main wrestling auditorium, one of the first things to be desegregated in the city, was also a trailblazer of another sort. In 1959, Monroe became one of the first wrestlers to ever cut a record.
The famed Spanish explorer, Hernando De Soto, the first European to see the Mississippi River, died on May 21, 1542.
De Soto and his men had marched hundreds of miles through much of the Southeast. By the time of his death, De Soto had lost at least 1/3 of his men to disease, malnutrition, and constant warfare with the Native Americans.
After his death, the remaining Spaniards traveled down the Mississippi, made their way to Mexico, and then back home.
Richard and Lisa Howorth opened Square Books in 1979 with $10,000 they had saved up and $10,000 they borrowed from a bank. The couple rented an upstairs space in a building Richard’s aunt owned on the town square in Oxford, Miss. It didn’t even have visibility from the street.
“We painted on the risers of the stairs the categories of the store—mysteries, cookbooks, so forth and so on—so that if people did happen to stop and look through the glass door they would see that it was probably a bookstore,” Richard Howorth said.
Abe Fortas may be the only Supreme Court Justice whose first career was in a dance band. The son of Jewish immigrants from England, Fortas grew up on Pontotoc Street in downtown Memphis. His father encouraged him to play the violin, and, by thirteen, he was playing in a dance band called “the Blue Medley Boys.”
The young sensation, nicknamed “Fiddlin' Abe,” earned enough to supplement his college scholarship at Southwestern University, today's Rhodes College. His passion for music and the arts remained with him throughout his life.