On the sign:
[Picture of 392 Beale Avenue - Hooks Brothers Photographers]
You’re standing on the street where W.C. Handy wrote his first published blues; where Robert R. Church Sr., the South’s first Black millionaire, made his mark; where General Ulysses S. Grant had a Civil War headquarters and where he returned years later to speak as President; where President Dwight Eisenhower visited; where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched; where B.B. King and Elvis Presley got their starts.
As you walk down Beale Street you’ll find illustrated panels like this one that tell a story of Beale in its heyday from the 1890s through the 1960s. They feature the words and images of people who knew the street first- hand and who helped create the legend that was Beale.
"There were two types of culture, I guess you could say, on Beale Street. There were the sinners and there were the saved.
You had your professional people, your doctors and business folk. Then had those who worked to have some night life."
Rev. James Jordan
"Well, old Beale Street. Just like Broadway. That’s what it was! Broadway in miniature. All the entertainment and everything to eat. All the sharp men, pretty girls. The works! It was right here!"
ANDREW CHAPLIN JR.
[Picture from Maurice Hulbert Collection]
These panels were developed by the Center for Southern Folklore with generous support from Holiday Corporation, the L.J. Skaggs and Mary C. Skaggs Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
1 CENTER FOR SOUTHERN FOLKLORE