INFORMATION RESEARCHED & COMPILED BY SHANAFILA
Dark History of Memphis, Tennessee
Right now in Memphis, Tennessee, a sort of “revolution” is going on. People considered “black” are, and have been part of an “awakening” for a couple of years now; many people have realized that they are this thing called “indigenous”. Like new spring flowers everywhere, classes and lectures have sprung up and courts are consistently filled with individuals and groups standing up and speaking “TRUTH TO POWER”, defending themselves and being witnesses for others pertaining to violations of human and indigenous rights that the courts hardly ever recognize…purposefully.
That being said, Memphis has always had a quiet rumbling going on, with “sleeping giants” in the midst; a 25-foot-tall, 5,000-pound fiberglass reproduction of Ramesses II is a shadow of the truth that hides right below the surface. It is a replica of a limestone original that Memphis was given permission by the Egyptian government to reproduce. The statue was moved from “The Pyramid” where it had been since 1991, then moved to The University of Memphis’ Institute of Egyptian Art & Archaeology. A PYRAMID? In Memphis, TENNESSEE? Yes….another shadow ….a glass building erected near the Mississippi River used as a “toy”; a “cute” representation, first for music concerts, now another business; a smack in the face of all the indigenous people whose ancient ancient ANCIENT ancestors came from “the continent we now know as “Africa” and China hundreds of thousands and thousands of years ago, whose ancestors are now indigenous to North and South America. (Yes yall…China has pyramids!!)
(SEE: THE FIRST AMERICANS WERE AFRICANS by DR. DAVID IMHOTEP.)
We, the INDIGENOUS, have BEEN here in Memphis – we never left!!!!; and we have been persecuted, assaulted, neglected, abused, harassed, kidnapped and murdered throughout history as long as we have been here. Many do not know of the atrocities that occurred in Memphis, at the Mississippi River. The World says, “ELVIS!!!” when Memphis is brought up in conversation…Beale Street – Blues…Music…then a solemn, “Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered there too, right?” comes in second. This is why this writer has decided to RE-MIND whoever wishes to read the following truth about beloved MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE…..
Indigenous History of Memphis and Tennessee and more…
The earliest name that became the word Tennessee was recorded by Spanish explorer Captain Juan Pardo in 1567 when Pardo and his men passed through an Indian village named “Tanasqui” while traveling from South Carolina. Tanasqui was located at the juncture of the Pigeon and French Broad Rivers near what is now Newport, Tennessee. In the 18th century, British traders encountered a ‘Cherokee’ town called Tanasi in what is now Monroe County, Tennessee. The town was located on a river now called the Little Tennessee River and is on maps, including some from 1725. Areas around and in what is now Memphis were first settled by the Mississippian Culture (Ancient Moundbuilders) who inhabited the modern day Tipton, Lauderdale and Shelby Counties during the time of first encounter with Europeans and at the time of the de Soto Expedition. Tribes historically documented by countless sources as living in the Tennessee and Mississippi areas are the Chikasha (Chickasaw), Chahta (Choctaw), Saktchi Homma (Chakchiuma), Anikituwa (Cherokee), Muscogee (Creek), Yuchi and others. Nine single mound sites and six small villages were located along the levees and bluffs of De Soto County, Mississippi and Shelby County, Tennessee. Some of the mounds still exist. The C.H. Nash Museum in Memphis, formerly known as Chucalissa Indian Village (pronounced “chuck-ah-lizza”, a Choctaw word meaning “abandoned house”) was the home of the Mississippian-period (A.D. 900-1600) ancestors of Choctaw and Chickasaw indigenous peoples, and others. Modern ancestors of these indigenous peoples and others discussed in this initiative herein exist today living in Tennessee and Mississippi as “black”, “negro” or “African-American” people, and others called “Native American”. Also, many counties, cities, rivers, streets, parks, businesses etc. have names and references derived from indigenous language, nations, tribes and individuals.
By the 1680s, French explorers built Fort Prudhomme in the vicinity of the first European settlement that would become Memphis. Fort Assumption was a French fortification constructed in 1739 on the Chickasaw Bluff on the Mississippi River by the French Army. The fort was used as a base against the Chickasaw in the Campaign of 1739. The land of present-day Memphis remained a mostly unorganized territory through most of the 18th century while Tennessee evolved from what would become North and South Carolina. This area became the westernmost point of the newly welcomed Tennessee State of the United States. However, West Tennessee was at that time owned by the Chikasha (Chickasaw) tribe. (Note: One map of Western Tennessee shows it being named CHAKCHIUMA (Saktchi Homma – “red crawfish people”). The area of West Tennessee was forcefully purchased from the Chickasaw Nation by the Federal Government in the 1818 Jackson Purchase. During the enforcement of the Indian Removal Act, which began in 1830, Memphis became a crossing point on the Mississippi River for indigenous peoples expelled from their original lands and removed to “Indian Territory” in Oklahoma and other places during on the “Nunna daul Isunyi” (Cherokee for “Trail where they Cried”) or ‘Trail of Tears’. In Memphis, Lamar Avenue, formerly known as Plank Road, is also known as Highway 78. It was part of the route traveled by the Chickasaw upon their removal on the Trail of Tears, as was Poplar Avenue in Memphis traveled by the “Cherokee” during this time.
During the 19th Century, Memphis became a major slave market. The cotton economy in the South depended on the forced labor of large numbers of slaves. A point not widely known is that most of the slaves in Memphis and Tennessee were not necessarily from the continent known as ‘Africa’; almost all were indigenous to the very land they were kidnapped from and forced to be slaves on.
Check out the movie “12 Years a Slave”; TRUTH SPEAKERS…right?)
During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, Indigenous Peoples (“Native Americans”, “American Indians”) were the first to be enslaved in the United States by European colonists; this enslavement became common practice. However, the conditions of their enslavement were many times much worse than those of Africans who came later. The first African slaves were brought here by a wealthy ‘black’ slave ship owner. The owner claimed that most of the slaves were purchased from their tribes and families or came on the trip freely, preferring slavery to starvation, disease, and early deaths if they stayed in Africa. *Less than 20 percent of the ‘blacks’ brought here came from Africa.
Note: During slavery times, some indigenous people were exported to colonies in the North and to the “sugar islands” of the Caribbean and other colonies off-shore.
An estimate by Historian Alan Gallay shows from 1670 to 1715, British slave traders sold somewhere between 24,000 to 51,000 American Indigenous People from what is considered the “South” in the United States. Before the Civil War, approximately one-fourth of the population of Memphis was slaves. Incidentally, a Memphis home located on the banks of the Mississippi River owned by German immigrant and anti-slavery advocate Jacob Burkle was part of the “Underground Railroad” on the slaves’ route to freedom from 1855 to the abolition of slavery.
Nathan Bedford Forrest, whose statue still stands in the medical district of Memphis near downtown, was a slave owner and former KKK Leader – the first “Grand Dragon”. Forrest allowed forces under his command to conduct a massacre upon hundreds of black Union Army and white Southern Unionist prisoners at the Battle of Fort Pillow. The war crimes he was accused of were investigated by Union Major General William T. Sherman who did not charge Forrest with any improprieties.
In postwar writings, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and very famous General Robert E. Lee both expressed that the Confederate high command had failed to utilize Forrest’s “talents”. At the onset of the American Civil War, which started in 1861, Forrest was a millionaire: One of the richest men in the South! His fortune made literally off the backs of the indigenous and few African slaves he “owned”. Before the Civil War, Forrest also had plantations not far from Vicksburg, Mississippi as well, and had been a boat captain making runs between Memphis and Vicksburg. Many attempts have been made to remove his statue from Memphis, but to no avail….of course.
Exchange, Market, Auction, and Court Squares of Memphis- All places where slaves were sold and exchanged!
THE EXISTING SLAVE TRADE IN MEMPHIS; THE INFAMOUS 201 POPLAR COURTS AND JAIL SYSTEM!!!
There were many historically documented massacres and killings of indigenous people in Memphis. One example is what has been dubbed the “1866 Memphis Freedman Holocaust” where an investigation revealed that bitter feelings existed between the “low” whites & blacks; there also existed special hatred among the city police for the Colored Soldiers stationed there who had been discharged from the service of the U. S., which of course, the soldiers were not going to tolerate. Apparently, based on personal experiences of this writer and associates, some of the the Memphis City Police STILL carry this disdainment of indigenous people who exist here today, as do some Memphis City Government officials.
I hope the information herein has illuminated the reader’s mind. I hope I have not stepped on anyone’s blue suede shoes….on second thought, The Spirit of Martin Luther and B.B. are the only Kings in Memphis.
SOME EXTRA INFO FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE:
*United States Census Statistics of culturally diverse groups in the Memphis and Shelby County areas of Tennessee are listed as follows for 2012, and have increased in the last couple of years:
Black or African American alone, percent, 2012 (a) 52.8%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent, 2012 (a) 0.3%
Asian alone, percent, 2012 (a) 2.5%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent, 2012 (a) 0.1%
Two or More Races, percent, 2012 1.4%
Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2012 (b) 5.9%
*http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/47/47157.htmlCulture of Memphis, Tennessee
**Note: Considering the truth concerning the mis-naming and classification of “black” or “African-American” people in Memphis and Tennessee and lost or hidden history, and considering the recent presentation of proof and assertation of many “black” people showing they too are the “American Indian” or “Indigenous People”, there is a high percentage of “American Indian” or “indigenous people” in Memphis alone.
NOTE: NEXT TIME THE CENSUS COMES THROUGH, PUT AMERICAN INDIAN, NATIVE AMERICAN!!!
AND THEY TRIED TO HIDE IT!
MORE MEMPHIS INFO
A REMINDER: REMEMBER EARLIER I STATED THAT LAMAR AVENUE WAS PART OF THE “TRAIL OF TEARS”? WHAT A BEAUTIFUL SHOPPING CENTER ERECTED STRATEGICALLY ON OUR LAND… A SLAP IN ALL OF OUR ANCESTORS’ FACES!
TO THOSE SKEPTICS…. YOU DON’T THINK “NEGRO” OR “BLACK PEOPLE” ARE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE? CHECK OUT: http://yamasseegov.org/main_site/
South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee held the same practices concerning indigenous (Native Indian / American Slaves):
CHICKASAW, CHOCTAW AND CHAKCHIUMA WERE THE SAME; NOTE THE SKIN TONE:
ONE LAST THOUGHT: IT MAKES THIS WRITER PERSONALLY SICK TO KNOW THAT MEMPHIS HAS MADE MILLIONS AND MORE ON TOURISM UTILIZING THE HISTORY OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND SLAVES OF MEMPHIS- The CITY OF MEMPHIS was literally built off the backs of the indigenous. LET MY PEOPLE GO! NEVER FORGET!