VOL. 9 | NO. 35 | Saturday, August 27, 2016
Aug. 26-Sept. 1: This week in Memphis history
Memphis Slim (pastblues.com)
1986: It’s Memphis Slim Day in Shelby County. The blues icon himself returns to the city from Paris for the honors, including a birthday party on the Plantation Roof of The Peabody, which has been reopened for five years. Slim, whose real name is Peter Chatman, also is being honored with a brass note on the new Beale Street.
1966: Malco Summer Drive-In opens with two screens. It was expanded to four screens in 1985.
1894: Six black men accused of a set of barn burnings in Kerrville are ambushed and lynched as they ride manacled in a horse-drawn wagon by a deputy sheriff bringing them to Memphis to stand trial. They are Dan Hawkins, Graham White, Ed Hall, John Hayes, Warner Williams and Robert Haynes.
The attack takes place in the Big Creek Bottoms, north of Lucy. The deputy serving the warrants on the six suspects misses a train back to Memphis, causing him to rent a wagon and take a plank road from Kerrville to Memphis.
The men who were lynched had lived with their families on land owned by the Kerr family and farmed cotton. But when the Kerr family sold the land, the new owners diversified crops, which required less labor and put those families out of work in some cases.
There were several dozen barn fires in the area over a five-year period, culminating with a fire in summer 1894 that destroyed a new building at the Kerrville fairgrounds. The fair manager swore out the warrants, and among the six men he named was a man who had been acquitted of one of the earlier barn fires; that man’s body was riddled with gunfire by the attackers.
Source: “Paul R. Coppock’s Mid-South” by Paul R. Coppock