VOL. 11 | NO. 4 | Saturday, January 27, 2018
This week in Memphis History: Jan. 26-Feb. 1
1997: On the front page of The Daily News, Wolfchase Galleria, the city’s largest shopping mall, is about to open and “stores are scrambling to hire managers and clerks in a market that currently has one of the lowest unemployment rates in years.” University of Memphis researcher David Ciscel says, “The impact will be similar to the impact that Tunica has had and is having on the Memphis economy," referring to the opening in the early 1990s of casinos in Tunica.
1978: The Mid-South Medical Center Council is trying to reconcile, or at least identify, areas of duplication and competition in the Memphis medical center, which has 6,000 hospital beds within Shelby County. Of that, 1,300 are in “newly created peripheral hospitals.” With occupancy rates going down, the cost of empty hospital beds is estimated at $20,000 a year just for operating costs. The organization’s Health Systems Plan does not call for any expansion or creation of new hospitals. “The hospitals are now completely out of the religious asylum years when hospital workers received little or no pay,” The Daily News reports.
1961: James Meredith applies to the University of Mississippi, notifying the Ole Miss registrar that he is an “American-Mississippi Negro citizen.” The paperwork includes a request for the applicant to list Ole Miss alumni who can vouch for the applicant. “I will not be able to furnish you with the names of University alumni because I am a Negro and all graduates of the school are white,” Meredith writes. “Further, I do not know any graduate personally. However, as a substitute for this requirement, I am submitting certificates regarding my moral character from Negro citizens of my state.” Meredith decided to apply to Ole Miss the day after watching President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. “The objective,” he would say later, “was to put pressure on John Kennedy and the Kennedy administration to live up to the civil rights plank in the Democratic platform. It was an effort to force Kennedy’s administration to either live up to it or suffer the public relations consequences of not doing what he was pledging.”
In his letter with the completed application, Meredith concludes: “I sincerely hope that your attitude toward me as a potential member of your student body … will not change upon learning that I am not a white applicant.”
Source: “An American Insurrection” by William Doyle
1930: The city’s newest fire station opens at National and Broad. The two-story brick firehouse with upstairs sleeping quarters and kitchen costs $17,000.