Memphis in History

Tennessee: Knoxville, TN - Nashville

Historical Events

  • 1862-06-06 Battle of Memphis fought on the Mississippi River, Union forces defeat Confederate fleet leading to the city's surrender
  • 1864-08-21 Major General Nathan B. Forrest's assault on Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1880-01-21 1st US sewage disposal system separate from storm drains in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1886-09-14 George K Anderson of Memphis, Tennessee, patents typewriter ribbon

Historic Publication

1912-09-27 W. C. Handy publishes "Memphis Blues", considered the 1st blues song

First Supermarket

1916-09-06 1st true supermarket, the "Piggly Wiggly" is opened by Clarence Saunders in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1916-12-14 America's first board certified doctors are named by the American Board of Ophthalmology following an examination at the University of Tennessee Medical School in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1923-01-19 WMC-AM in Memphis TN begins radio transmissions
  • 1948-12-11 WMC TV channel 5 in Memphis, Tennessee (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • 1952-03-27 Sun Records of Memphis begins releasing records

Music History

1953-06-14 Elvis Presley graduates from L. C. Humes High School in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1953-09-27 WHBQ TV channel 13 in Memphis, Tennessee (ABC) begins broadcasting
  • 1954-07-30 Elvis Presley joins the Memphis Federation of Musicians, Local 71
  • 1956-01-01 WREC (now WREG) TV channel 3 in Memphis, Tennessee (CBS) begins broadcasting
  • 1956-06-25 WKNO TV channel 10 in Memphis, Tennessee (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • 1966-08-19 Beatles pelted with rotten fruit and firecrackers during concert at Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, Tennessee; Ku Klux Klan demonstrated outside the show and burned records
  • 1967-07-20 Race riots in Memphis, Tennessee

Martin Luther King Shot Dead

1968-04-04 US civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated by James Earl Ray at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1971-10-14 2 killed in Memphis racial disturbances
  • 1972-01-17 Section of Memphis' Highway 51 South renamed Elvis Presley Boulevard
  • 1972-03-18 Memphis' Larry Miller sets ABA record of 67 pts in a game

Sports History

1973-03-26 35th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: UCLA beats Memphis 81-76; Bruins' 7th straight title; future Hall of Fame center Bill Walton tournament MOP for 2nd consecutive year

  • 1977-06-10 American golfer Al Geiberger becomes first player in history to post a sub-60 score, 59 (−13) in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event, during the 2nd round Danny Thomas Memphis Classic at Colonial CC in Cordova, Tennessee
  • 1978-07-04 Memphis fire fighters halt 3-day strike under a court order
  • 1978-08-18 Memphis Tenn settles with striking police officers & firefighters
  • 1983-12-29 2nd College Football Holy War: Notre Dame beats Boston College 19-18 in Memphis
  • 1987-04-16 Peter Taylor's "Summons to Memphis" wins Pulitzer Prize for fiction
  • 1995-01-28 Memphis Mad Dogs granted CFL's 13th franchise
  • 1995-06-29 Memphis Mad Dogs 1st CFL game (vs Calgary Stampeders)
  • 1995-07-07 Memphis Mad Dogs 1st CFL home game (vs BC Lions)
  • 1996-06-05 Howard Stern Radio Show premieres in Memphis, Tennessee, on WMFS 92.9 FM
  • 1997-08-31 Eddie George runs for 216 yards on 35 carries and scores a touchdown as the Oilers, playing their first NFL game in Tennessee, beat Oakland 24-21 in overtime at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis
  • 2008-04-07 70th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: Kansas beats Memphis, 75-68; first time since seeding began, all 4 top seeds advance to the Final Four
  • 2008-06-26 NBA Draft: Memphis point guard Derrick Rose first pick by Chicago Bulls
  • 2011-08-18 The "West Memphis Three" are released from prison after 18 years in imprisonment
  • 2016-01-01 After floods along the Mississippi River kill 31, Exxon Mobil Corp decides to close a plant in flood threatened Memphis
  • 2018-12-31 Houston guard James Harden scores 43 points in Rockets' 113-101 win over Memphis Grizzlies; 4th straight NBA game with 40+ points and 8th straight with 35+; joins Oscar Robertson as only player with at least 35 points & 5 assists in 8 straight games
  • 2019-04-17 10 babies with "bubble boy disease" cured using a gene therapy made from HIV at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, according to new study

Famous Birthdays

  • 1864-01-05 Bob Caruthers, American baseball player, born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1911)
  • 1873-08-06 Mary Carr Moore, American composer, born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1957)
  • 1883-03-04 Maude Fealy, American actor and drama coach (The Ten Commandments), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1971)

George George "Machine Gun" Kelly (1895-1954)

1895-07-18 American gangster during the Prohibition era, born in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1900-03-03 Ruby Dandridge [Ruby Jean Butler], American actress (Father of the Bride), born in Wichita, Kansas (d. 1987)
  • 1909-08-05 Ernestine "Tiny" Davis, American jazz vocalist and trumpeter (International Sweethearts of Rhythm), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1994)
  • 1912-04-25 Gladys Presley, mother of Elvis, born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1958)
  • 1914-03-27 Snooky Lanson [Roy Landman], American singer (Your Hit Parade; 5 Star Jubilee), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1990)
  • 1915-04-26 Johnny Shines, American delta blues singer and guitarist, born in Memphis, Tenneessee (d. 1992)
  • 1926-09-17 Bill Black, American rock bassist (Elvis Presley, 1954-57), and bandleader (Bill Black Combo), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1965)
  • 1927-10-13 Anita Kerr [née Grilli], American pop and country singer, composer, and producer (The Anita Kerr Singers), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2022) [1] [2]
  • 1927-10-23 William "Sonny" Criss, American bebop jazz saxophonist (Jazz U.S.A.), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1977)
  • 1928-03-22 E.D. Hirsch. American social commentator, born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1928-10-05 Louise Fitzhugh, American author and illustrator (Harriet the Spy), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1974)
  • 1929-06-09 Johnny Ace [John Marshall Alexander, Jr.], rhythm and blues singer ("My Song"), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1954)
  • 1932-12-28 Dorsey Burnette, rockabilly singer ("Tall Oak Tree"; "Hey Little One"), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1979)
  • 1933-11-15 Barbara Carson, actress (Comedy Tonight, Carter Country), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1934-02-07 "King" Curtis [Ousley], American Grammy Award-winning R&B, rock, jazz, and session saxophonist bandleader ("Memphis Soul Stew"; Aretha Franklin; John Lennon), born in Fort Worth, Texas (d. 1971)
  • 1934-03-04 Anne Haney, American actress (Mrs. Doubtfire - "Mrs. Sellner"; Liar Liar - "Greta"), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2001)
  • 1934-03-25 Johnny Burnette, American rockabilly singer-songwriter and guitarist ("Train Kept A-Rollin'"; "You're Sixteen"), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1964)
  • 1934-09-25 John S. Bull, American naval officer and NASA astronaut, born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2008)
  • 1934-12-09 Junior Wells, American blues singer ("In My Younger Days"), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1998)
  • 1935-11-27 Al Jackson, Jr., American session drummer, known as "The Human Time Keeper" (Stax; Booker T. & MGs - "McLemore Avenue"), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1975)
  • 1936-04-29 Lane Smith, American actor (Perry White-Lois & Clark), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1936-09-21 (Royden) Dickey Lee [Lipscomb], American pop-country singer-songwriter ("Patches"; "Laurie"), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1937-03-22 Jon Hassell, American composer and trumpet player (Dream Theory In Malaya), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2021)

Morgan FreemanMorgan Freeman (85 years old)

1937-06-01 American Academy Award-winning actor (Driving Mrs Daisy, Glory), born in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1939-07-16 William Bell, American soul and R&B singer ("Tryin' To Love Two"), and songwriter ("Born Under a Bad Sign"), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1940-07-25 John Pennel, American pole vaulter (James E Sullivan Award-1963), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1993)
  • 1941-08-02 Homer Banks, American singer and songwriter (Be What You Are), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2003)
  • 1941-09-26 Joe Bauer, American rock drummer (Youngbloods - "Let's Get Together"), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1941-11-21 Andrew Love, American saxophonist (The Memphis Horns), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2012)
  • 1941-12-19 Maurice White, singer-songwriter (Earth, Wind & Fire), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2016)

Aretha FranklinAretha Franklin (1942-2018)

1942-03-25 American singer-songwriter known as "The Queen of Soul" ("Respect") and first female performer inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1987), born in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1942-11-26 Olivia Cole, American actress (Roots, Backstairs at the White House), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2018)
  • 1944-01-10 William Sanderson, American actor (Newhart, Blade Runner, True Blood), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1944-05-13 Carolyn Franklin, American singer-songwriter ("Angel"), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1988)
  • 1944-11-12 Booker T. Jones, American soul and rock organist (Booker T & MGs - "Green Onions"), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1946-02-26 Bobby "Bingo" Smith, American NBA star (Cleveland Cavaliers), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1946-11-28 Susan Spencer, American correspondent (48 Hours) [1946 approx], born in Memphis Tennessee
  • 1947-02-04 Jeannie Wilson, actress (Simon & Simon, Stir Crazy), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1947-08-17 Gary Talley, American rock guitarist (Box Tops - "The Letter"), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1947-10-03 Ben Cauley, American R&B trumpeter (The Bar-Kays - "Soul Finger") and Otis Redding plane crash survivor, born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2015)
  • 1948-03-18 Robert "Bobby" Whitlock, American singer, songwriter and musician (Derek and the Dominos), born in Memphis, Tennessee

Kathy BatesKathy Bates (74 years old)

1948-06-28 American Academy Award-winning actress (Misery), born in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1949-02-04 Michael Beck, actor (Hans Helms-Holocaust), born in Memphis, Tennessee

Ric FlairRic Flair (73 years old)

1949-02-25 American professional wrestler (NWA/WWF/WCW/AWA), born in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1949-11-29 Jerry Lawler, American professional wrestler (WWE), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1950-01-23 Bill Cunningham, American rock bassist and keyboard player (Box Tops - "The Letter"), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1950-02-18 Cybill Shepherd, American actress (Moonlighting, Last Picture Show), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1950-05-23 Linda Thompson, actress (Hee Haw), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1950-08-08 Willie Hall, American drummer (Blues Brothers Band), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1950-12-28 Alex Chilton, American rock guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, and producer (Box Tops - "The Letter"; Big Star - "Thirteen"), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2010)
  • 1951-01-12 Bill Madlock, American MLB baseball third baseman, 3X All-Star, 4X NL Batting Title (Chicago Cubs; Pittsburgh Pirates and 4 other teams), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1951-01-12 Chris Bell, American rock guitarist (Big Star - "In The Street"), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1978)
  • 1951-01-26 Andy Hummell, American rock bassist (Big Star, 1971-73), born in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania (d. 2010)
  • 1952-04-12 Ralph Wiley, American sports journalist and writer (Sports Illustrated and ESPN's Page 2), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2004)
  • 1952-06-20 Larry Riley, American actor (Harry-Stir Crazy, Knots Landing), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1992)
  • 1952-08-23 Mac Cone, Canadian equestrian jumper (Olympics 1996), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1953-05-08 Billy Burnette, American rock guitarist (Fleetwood Mac, 1987-95), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1953-06-12 Jonathan "Rocky" Burnette, American rock and roll vocalist ("Tired of Toein' the Line"), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1953-09-30 Deborah Allen, American country singer (Jim Stafford Show), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1953-10-27 Michael Baker, Lt Cmdr USN/astronaut (STS 43, 52, 68, 81), born in Memphis, Tennessee

Rosanne CashRosanne Cash (67 years old)

1955-05-24 American Grammy Award-winning countryand Americana singer-songwriter ("Seven Year Ache"; "Black Cadillac"), and essayist, born in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1955-06-10 Andrew Stevens, American actor (Seduction, Boys in Company C, Fury), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1957-01-25 Edmund Theodore Sylvers, American singer-songwriter & musician (Sylvers), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1957-07-17 Bruce Crump, American rock drummer (Molly Hatchet), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1957-10-11 Blair Cunningham, American rock drummer (Haircut 100), born in Memphis, Tennessee

Thomas HearnsThomas Hearns (64 years old)

1958-10-18 American boxer and 1st to win world titles in 5 weight divisions, born in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1960-07-04 Sid Eudy, American professional wrestler, born in West Memphis, Arkansas
  • 1962-12-11 Ben Browder, American actor (Farscape), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1964-10-02 Sheila Echols, American track athlete (Olympic gold 4 x 100m 1988), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1964-10-31 Darryl Worley, American country singer (Hard Rain Don't Last), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1965-02-09 David Brandon, American NFL linebacker (San Diego Chargers, Atlanta Falcons), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1965-07-24 Joe Oliver, catcher (Cincinnati Reds), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1966-01-14 Daniel J. Schneider, American actor (Dennis-Head of the Class), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1966-02-24 Billy Zane, actor (Titanic, Dead Calm), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1966-10-10 Kevin Paige, American vocalist ("Don't Shut Me Out"), born in Memphis, Tennessee

Doug McMillonDoug McMillon (56 years old)

1966-10-17 American businessman and CEO of Walmart (2014-), born in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1967-02-05 Chris Parnell, American actor, born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1967-09-07 Leslie Jones, American comedian and actress (Saturday Night Live, Ghostbusters), born in Memphis, Tennessee

Lisa Marie PresleyLisa Marie Presley (54 years old)

1968-02-01 American singer-songwriter ("Lights Out"), and daughter of Elvis, born in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1969-03-28 Elliot Perry, NBA guard, 1991-92, 1994-2002 (Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, and 5 other teams), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1969-11-09 Allison Wolfe, American musician (Bratmobile; Partyline), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1971-04-11 Vicellous Reon Shannon, American actor (The Hurricane), born in Memphis, Tennessee

Shannen DohertyShannen Doherty (51 years old)

1971-04-12 American actress (Little House, Beverly Hills 90210), born in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1971-05-03 Josey Scott, American singer (Saliva), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1971-07-18 Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway, American basketball guard (NBA All-Star 1995–98; All-NBA First Team 1995, 96; Olympic gold 1996; Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, NY Knicks), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1971-12-05 Kali Rocha, American actress (Liv and Maddie), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1972-01-10 Brian Lawler, American professional wrestler, born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2018)
  • 1975-02-23 Chris Garner, NBA guard (Toronto Raptors), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1975-04-07 John Cooper, American christian rock musician (Skillet), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1975-11-17 Lord Infamous [Ricky T Dunigan], American rapper (Three 6 Mafia), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1976-08-26 Carey Tally, American soccer midfielder (Olympic gold 1996), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1977-04-12 Sarah Jane Morris, American actress (Brothers & Sisters), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1978-05-08 Cindy Parlow, American soccer forward (Olympics 1996), born in Memphis, Tennessee

Justin TimberlakeJustin Timberlake (41 years old)

1981-01-31 American singer-songwriter ("Can't Stop The Feeling!"; "Sexyback"), and actor (Friends With Benefits), born in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1986-11-20 Jared Followill, American alternative-rock bassist (Kings of Leon -"Use Somebody"), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1987-10-02 Ricky Stenhouse Jr, American auto racer (NASCAR Nationwide Series champion 2011-12), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1987-10-11 Mike Conley Jr., American basketball point guard (NBA All Star 2021; Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies), born in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Famous Weddings

Peyton Manning

2001-03-17 NFL Quarterback Peyton Manning (24) weds Ashley Thompson in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 2004-01-01 American Singer Lou Rawls (71) weds flight attendant Nina Malek Inman (33) at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee

Famous Deaths

  • 1954-12-25 Johnny Ace, American rhythm and blues singer, accidentally shoots himself in the head at 25

Martin Luther King Jr.Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

1968-04-04 American clergyman and leader of the Civil Rights Movement (Nobel 1964), assassinated at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee at 39

  • 1971-08-13 King Curtis [Ousley], American Grammy Award-winning R&B, rock, jazz, and session saxophonist bandleader ("Memphis Soul Stew"; Aretha Franklin; John Lennon), murdered during an argument with a vagrant outside of his NYC home at 37
  • 1973-08-06 Memphis Minnie [Lizzie Douglas], American blues musician, dies at 76
  • 2012-04-12 Andrew Love, American saxophonist (The Memphis Horns), dies of Alzheimer's disease at 70