News and Features

Mid-South News
10:07 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Sputnik Monroe Wrestler… And Troubadour

Sputnik Monroe in the wrestling ring.
Credit Courtesy Natalie Bell.

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.

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Memphis Moments
5:50 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Hernando De Soto

Engraving of Hernando De Soto
Credit John Sartain

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.

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Mid-South News
6:00 am
Fri May 17, 2013

A Literary Light In Oxford, Mississippi: The Square Books Story

One of three Square Books locations in Oxford, Mississippi. Square Books was named Bookstore of the Year by Publishers Weekly.

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.

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Memphis Moments
5:50 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Abe Fortas

Associate Justice Abe Fortas

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.

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Memphis Moments
5:48 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Elmwood Cemetery

The Bridge Leading to Elmwood Cemetery

Elmwood Cemetery, founded in 1852, is the oldest active cemetery in Memphis. Fifty citizens put up $500 each to purchase and develop a 40-acre parcel of land. Another 40 acres were added later.

The name Elmwood was selected by a drawing from a list of proposed names. Elm trees had to be planted afterwards. 

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