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

Book releaseHistoric Publication

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

Musician and Father of the Blues W. C. Handy
Musician and Father of the Blues
W. C. Handy

Historic InventionFirst Supermarket

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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Singer & Cultural Icon Elvis Presley
Singer & Cultural Icon
Elvis Presley
  • 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
  • 1957-10-21 Jailhouse Rock starring Elvis Presley opens in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1966-08-20 Beatles pelted with rotten fruit during Memphis concert
  • 1967-07-20 Race riots in Memphis, Tennessee

Martin Luther King Shot DeadMartin 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
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Martin Luther King waves to supporters after delivering his 'I have a dream' speech
Martin Luther King waves to supporters after delivering his 'I have a dream' speech
  • 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

NBA Center and Television Sportscaster Bill Walton
NBA Center and Television Sportscaster
Bill Walton
  • 1977-06-10 Al Geiberger becomes the 1st player in history to post a score of 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)

Person of interestGeorge "Machine Gun" Kelly

1895-07-18 George Machine Gun Kelly [Georgio Barnes], American gangster, born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1954)

  • 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, band leader and bassist who worked with Elvis, born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1965)
  • 1927-10-23 Sonny [William] Criss, American jazz musician (bebop, Jazz USA), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1977)
  • 1927-10-31 Anita Kerr, American singer composer and producer (The Anita Kerr Singers), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 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 [Curtis Ousley], American musician, bandleader and saxophonist (Memphis Soul Stew), born in Fort Worth, Texas (d. 1971)
  • 1934-03-04 Anne Haney, American actress (Mrs. Sellner in Mrs. Doubtfire, Greta the secretary in Liar Liar), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2001)
  • 1934-03-25 Johnny Burnette, American rockabilly singer-songwriter-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, drummer (Booker T & MGs-Chinese Checkers), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1936-04-29 Lane Smith, actor (Perry White-Lois & Clark), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1936-09-21 Dickey Lee, American singer and songwriter (Patches), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1937-03-22 Jon Hassell, American composer and trumpet player, born in Memphis, Tennessee

Person of interestMorgan Freeman

1937-06-01 Morgan Freeman, American academy award winning actor (Driving Mrs Daisy, Glory), born in Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1939-07-16 William Bell, American singer (Tryin' to Love Two), 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), 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)

Person of interestAretha Franklin

1942-03-25 Aretha Franklin, 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 (d. 2018)

Soul Singer Aretha Franklin
Soul Singer
Aretha Franklin
  • 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, US 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, rock guitarist (Box Tops), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1947-10-03 Ben Cauley, musician (The Bar-Kays) and 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

Person of interestKathy Bates

1948-06-28 Kathy Bates, American academy award winning actress (Misery), born in Memphis, Tennessee

Actress Kathy Bates
Actress
Kathy Bates
  • 1949-02-04 Michael Beck, actor (Hans Helms-Holocaust), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1949-02-25 Ric Flair, 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 original bass guitarist/keyboardist (Box Tops), 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, US rock guitarist and vocalist (Box Tops), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 2010)
  • 1951-01-12 Bill Madlock, American MLB player (Chicago Cubs), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1951-01-12 Chris Bell, American rock guitarist (Big Star), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1951-01-26 Andy Hummell, American rock bassist (Big Star), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 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, rock guitarist (Fleetwood Mac), 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, 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

Person of interestRosanne Cash

1955-05-24 Rosanne Cash, American country singer (Seven Year Ache, I Wonder), born in Memphis, Tennessee

Country Singer Rosanne Cash
Country Singer
Rosanne Cash
  • 1955-06-10 Andrew Stevens, 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
  • 1958-10-18 Thomas Hearns, American boxer (first boxer 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

Person of interestDoug McMillon

1966-10-17 Doug McMillon, American CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (2014-), born in Memphis, Tennessee

CEO of Wal-Mart Doug McMillon
CEO of Wal-Mart
Doug McMillon
  • 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

Person of interestLisa Marie Presley

1968-02-01 Lisa Marie Presley Keough Jackson, daughter of Elvis, born in Memphis, Tennessee

Princess of Rock and Roll Lisa Marie Presley
Princess of Rock and Roll
Lisa Marie Presley
  • 1969-03-28 Elliot Perry, NBA guard (Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks), 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

Person of interestShannen Doherty

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

  • 1971-05-03 Josey Scott, American singer (Saliva), 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)
  • 1972-07-18 Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway, NBA guard (Orlando, Olympic gold 1996), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 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, 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, soccer forward (Olympics 1996), born in Memphis, Tennessee

Person of interestJustin Timberlake

1981-01-31 Justin Timberlake, American singer-songwriter & actor (Sexyback, My Love), born in Memphis, Tennessee

Singer-songwriter Justin Timberlake
Singer-songwriter
Justin Timberlake
  • 1986-11-20 Jared Followill, American alternative-rock backing vocalist and musician (Kings of Leon), 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 player (Memphis Grizzlies), born in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Famous Weddings


LoveWedding of Interest

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

NFL Quarterback Peyton Manning
NFL Quarterback
Peyton Manning
  • 2004-01-01 Singer Lou Rawls (71) weds Nina Malek Inman 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

MurderMartin Luther King Jr.

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

Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr.
Civil Rights Activist
Martin Luther King Jr.
  • 1971-08-13 King Curtis [Curtis Ousley], American musician, bandleader and saxophonist (Memphis Soul Stew), murdered at 37
  • 1973-08-06 Memphis Minnie, American blues musician, dies at 76
  • 2012-04-12 Andrew Love, American saxophonist (The Memphis Horns), dies of Alzheimer's disease at 70