LSP is excited and honored to have Rev. Dr. LaSimba Gray as our ZOOM presenter Monday night, July 13, at 5pm CST.
Dr. Gray’s, authorship, work, and activism brings a new depth of understanding about the African American experience in Memphis/Shelby County.
His latest publication, Metamorphosis of Memphis: the Blues and Beale Street 1819-1920, gives new meaning and clarity to Ella Baker’s quote, “Oppressed people, whatever their level of formal education, have the ability to understand and interpret the world around them, to see the world for what it is, and move to transform it.”
Former Shelby County Historian, Jimmy Ogle writes, “In Memphis, the ‘original American musical art form – the Blues - was allowed to flourish on Beale Street, the African American population center." About historic Beale Street, Lucy Yates Shaw Henderson, Chairman, Board of Directors, Tri-State Bank writes, “While there were White and/or Jewish commercial entities on the street, there was a clear spirit of Black ownership from a cultural standpoint. It was our place, our pain and our pleasure all wrapped up in our food, drink, entertainment, courting, respite from hopelessness and a prevailing pride of personage."
Dr. Joris Ray, Superintendent, Shelby County Schools picks up on Dr. Gray’s description of black movers and shakers of Beale Street as “gumbo”, and writes, “When I think of all the ingredients needed to make something so unique, so memorable, and so all-encompassing, it is in fact …gumbo. Each ingredient contributes to the taste without losing its identity. Various cultures and identities brought their know-how, style, and spirit to one pot – Beale Street.
To quote Jimmy Ogle, Dr. Gray has been able to place this history into context for all of Memphis and Shelby County.
Executive Director, LSP