Prominent Black Figures and Historical Events That Shaped Memphis


February is celebrated as Black History Month all around the nation. Nevertheless, major black history events occurred in Memphis, where you can see diversity in the African-American heritage. For several decades prominent African-American celebrities built their homes here, so all along the year variety of events are hosted here.

Black history legacy

The black history legacy can be experienced all year round. There are many places worth sightseeing. During the trip, you will explore, the Cotton Museum, National Civil Rights Museum, and RailRoad Museum inside Burkle Estate. Moreover, get familiar with the gorgeous cultural heritage created by well-known black artists at W.C. handy Home & Museum, Stax Museum, Blue Hall of Fame, and Ernest Winters Collection.

Visit to get more details about the annual activities, music, plays, and other things to do in Bluff City. Memphis even attracts entrepreneurs and tech startups besides the tourists. Certainly, you cannot forget the entertainment sector that is vibrant and kicking.

Everywhere around the city, you will find influence of the black Americans, who helped to create Memphis and its culture. Get to know the prominent black people and historical events that shaped the city over last century.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther was assassinated on Lorraine Motel’s balcony on April 4th 1968. This incident was a huge blow to the whole nation and a dark day in history of Memphis. The King’s assassination site opened as National Civil Rights Museum in 1991. In 2014, the Civil Right Museum got renovated and reopened for the public.

B.B. King

In Memphis, Riley B. King popular as B.B. King or King of Blues got his first break in 1948. His innovative style got to the locals quickly and even spread nationally. In 1991, on Beale Street a club was opened and many more across the state.

His popularity was wide and he toured a lot giving more than 250 concerts annually, around the world. He inspired many musicians that followed him. Even today after he passed away, his music is still enjoyed on Beale Street. To honor him, the Third Street was renamed as ‘B.B. King Boulevard’.

C. Handy

Father of Blues is the nickname of W.C. Handy, who influenced the blues genre. “Memphis Blues’ was his first music written in Bluff City. To honor him, there is a park named after him and even a statue.

Al Green

It is a famous soul singer of 70s and a popular minister at Full Gospel Tabernacle. His contribution to the soul, gospel, and R&B still thrives in Memphis.

Robert Church

The first black millionaire founded the Auditorium and Church Park for African-American community. He made vast contribution to the civil rights movement decades before it spread widely.

Bishop Charles Mason

He was the child of a slave but became founder of Church of God in Christ [C.O.G.I.C] organization. The COGIC is Pentecoastal-Holiness Christian denomination having predominant African-American membership. Memphis church is base and its presence is felt strongly.

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