Marilyn reviews ROBERT CHURCH by Cookie Lommel, Melrose Square Publishing Company, 1995.

Robert Church was one such man who believed very staunchly in Memphis and the city’s flourishing. Because of his beliefs, it was only right that Church would invest in Memphis, and because of this, even his descendants had a strong pull. Author Lommel tells of this great man’s overcoming the binds of slavery all the way to becoming the first African-American, Southern millionaire. Church also survived fighting in the Civil War, being shot at during the Memphis Riots, and remaining in Memphis during the Yellow Fever epidemics. Investing in the real estate of Memphis, Church founded the Solvent Saving Bank and Trust Company. He also provided both an auditorium and city park for African Americans because at the time only Caucasians were only allowed in the existing Memphis parks.

Church was also nicknamed the “Boss of Beale Street” because when he brought various properties, he personally supervised the buildings and the tenants that lived or worked there.

There are other fascinating facts about Robert Church and his legacy you can find in the Memphis and Shelby County Room in the History Department at Central Library. Please take advantage of these resources.