Tuesday, October 23, 2012

[Book Review] A BRIEF HISTORY OF MEMPHIS by G. Wayne Dowdy

Nonfiction/Memphis History

Marilyn reviews A BRIEF HISTORY OF MEMPHIS by G. Wayne Dowdy (History Press, 2011)
Memphis, Tennessee is a city founded with movement in its blood and soul, from the city’s beginnings by the flowing waters of the Mississippi River to the present-day flowing sounds of Memphis music. A Brief History of Memphis, by G. Wayne Dowdy, takes the reader through the major events of Memphis. It explains the influence of United States history on the city and enlightens us to three contributions of Memphians--music, African American participation in politics, and entrepreneurs who influenced American culture and society--to the United States of America and the world. G. Wayne Dowdy also connects each major event in the city’s history to the next. 

I enjoyed reading about each mayor’s administration and their response to the crisis that occurred during their terms. An interesting fact I discovered is that Memphis has had taxation problems all throughout the 1800’s. The first discussion about taxation occurs in the 1820’s when the town proprietors asked the Tennessee legislature for incorporation and in December 1826 legislature granted it, much to Isaac Rawlings --a member of the anti-proprietors settlers’ fraction -- dismay.

G. Wayne Dowdy writes,  

”In December 1826 when a shipment of Nashville newspapers arrived declaring that the state legislature had incorporated the bluff as the town of Memphis, the squatters turned to Rawlings in hopes that justice would again prevail.

Sharing his neighbor’s view that high taxes would be an inevitable result of incorporation, Rawlings organized a public meeting to debate the incorporation charter."

Read A Brief History of Memphis to discover the outcome of Rawlings' meeting and with pride enjoy the three contributions of Memphis to the world.

Marilyn Umfress, Central Library

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