BEALE STREET AREA
7. Beale Street Brass Notes – Beale Street Brass Notes honor 24 women among musicians, composers, disc jockeys, promoters, and music supporters celebrated in Beale Street’s sidewalks.
Those with deep connections to Memphis include Lucie Eddie Campbell and Alberta Hunter (1895–1984) Blues singer, songwriter. As well as:
Memphis Minnie (1897–1973) Blues guitarist, vocalist, songwriter
Lil Hardin Armstrong (1898-1971) Jazz pianist, singer, composer, band leader
Lillie Mae Glover aka Ma Rainey II (1906-1985) Blues artist
Cordell Jackson (1923-2004) Musician, singer, songwriter, owner of Moon Records
Koko Taylor (1928-2009) Perhaps the most famous of female Blues singers
The Staple Singers (Mavis, Cleotha & Yvonne) Gospel & R&B artists 1948-1994
Ruby Wilson (1948-2016) Vocalist known as the “Queen of Beale Street”
Di Anne Price (1950-2013) Popular local pianist & singer with her backups, The Boyfriends
8. Ida B. Wells – (1862-1931), At Rufus Thomas Blvd. Came to Memphis in 1884 from Holly Springs, Mississippi, to teach in the Woodstock community in Shelby County. One day Wells was removed from a train traveling from Memphis to Woodstock because she refused to move from her seat in a first-class car to the car reserved for “coloreds.” She won a local case against the railroad company but lost an appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Wells became a journalist and anti-lynching activist and suffragist. After her Memphis newspaper office was burned, she continued her work from Chicago.
9. Mary Church Terrell, Sara Roberta Church – (1863-1957), Robert Church Park. Mary Church Terrell was the daughter of businessman Robert Reed Church and Louisa Ayres Church. After their parents’ divorce, she and her brother Thomas moved to New York with their mother. Terrell was a teacher, lecturer, suffragist, founder and later president (1896-1901) of the National Association of Colored Women, a co-founder of the NAACP, and the National Association of University Women, and the first black member of the American Association of University Women. Her niece, Sara Roberta Church (1914-1995), became the first African American woman to be elected to the Tennessee Republican Party’s Executive Committee and co-authored two histories.
10. Patricia Walker Shaw – (1939- 1985), 80 M.L.K. Jr. Ave. Shaw became president of Universal Life Insurance Company, one of the largest African American businesses in the South, following the retirement of her father, A. Maceo Walker. She was also president of the National Insurance Association, served on numerous boards and commissions, and was the first woman to serve on the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Board. Shaw was president of Universal Life Insurance Company from 1983 until her death in 1985.