VOL. 10 | NO. 21 | Saturday, May 20, 2017
May 19-25, 2017: This week in Memphis history
1917: Ell Persons is lynched by a mob of more than 5,000 people at the Macon Road Bridge. Authorities concluded Persons had murdered and raped Antoinette Rappel because they believed the dead girl’s eyes had retained an image of Persons – a practice law enforcement once used that has been thoroughly discredited.
Police hand Persons over to a mob that has stopped the train bringing him back to Memphis to stand trial. The mob burns him alive and mutilates his body, including decapitating him. The mob action is anticipated and expected based on newspaper coverage in advance. Persons’ death is instrumental in the formation of the Memphis branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
1963: Folk music festival at Overton Park Shell featuring Jim Dickinson.
1967: On the front page of The Daily News, organizers of the Memphis Open Golf Tournament that starts in a week have hired Pinkerton’s Inc. to provide 75 to 100 uniformed security guards to handle an expected crowd of 10,000.
1985: What had been the Cotton Carnival for 54 years debuts as the Great River Carnival. The organization considered 49 other possible new names before settling on the Great River Carnival and an expansion and realignment of the event.
1997: Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division closes on a $2 million deal to buy the Arlington water system, with the city of Arlington using the money to expand its sewer system for future development. “There are 2,400 homes proposed to be built in Arlington, and this will enable that to go forward,” says Arlington Mayor George Horton. MLGW also will improve water pressure and make future water improvements in Arlington.
2013: Memphis Grizzlies lose to the San Antonio Spurs, ending the NBA team’s historic run in the playoffs after having defeated the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder in the postseason.