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Fresh Reads and Memphis Reads Select Locally Written History to Celebrate Memphis Bicentennial

Christian Brothers University’s “Fresh Reads” program and the citywide “Memphis Reads” program have selected a locally produced history of the city to celebrate the Memphis bicentennial. Memphis: 200 Years Together brings together local writers and scholars to cover the breadth and depth of Memphis history, politics, culture, business, music, food, religion, sports, and art. From the Chickasaw Indians, the Civil War, and the yellow fever epidemic to the civil rights movement, blues to hip hop, and even a foray into barbeque and basketball, Memphis: 200 Years Together chronicles the triumphs and tragedies from the founding of Memphis to the present.  

Rather than one unbroken narrative, the essays in this anthology flow across the Memphis landscape, taking readers on a deep-dive to explore where we have been over the past 200 years, what it has meant, and how it has shaped this city. Edited by Karen B. Golightly, chair of the Literature & Languages Department at CBU’s Rosa Deal School of Arts, and Jonathan Judaken, the Spence L. Wilson Chair in Humanities at Rhodes College, Memphis: 200 Years Together also includes writings by Beverly G. Bond, Janann Sherma, Shelby Foote, Timothy S. Huebner, Stephen V. Ash, Molly Caldwell Crosby, G. Wayne Dowdy, Charles L. Hughes, Jennifer Biggs, David Waters, Earnestine Jenkins, Preston Lauterbach, Aram Goudsouzian, Daniel Kiel, Geoff Calkins, and Zandria F. Robinson.

A series of events has been planned to accompany and embellish the annual community reading projects, including:

  • Making Memphis: 200 Years of Community,” an exhibit at the Memphis Pink Palace Museum through October 20 which is divided into the five major exhibit threads of “Heritage and Identity,” “Commerce and Entrepreneurialism,” “Migration and Settlement,” “Art and Entertainment,” and “Geography and the Environment.”
  • Memphis Music Listening Party” on Wednesday, September 11 at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, Memphis Room at 7:00 p.m., in which music writer Robert Gordon explores musician Charles Hodges’ career through five of his songs.
  • Memphis 3.0 and the Digital Divide,” a roundtable with Earnestine Jenkins, Andre Johnson, and Shamichael Hallman which will be held on Tuesday, September 17 at 4:30 p.m. at the University of Memphis Art & Communication Building, Room 314.
  • Memphis: 200 Years Together: CBU Panel Discussion and Book Signing” with featured panelists Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris, Geoff CalkinsDr. Charles Hughes, and Dr. Zandria Robinson in the University Theater at CBU on Wednesday, September 18 at 6:00 p.m. A book signing will follow the discussion, along with a concert by Motel Mirrors.
  • Memphis: 200 Years Together: Rhodes College Panel Discussion and Book Signing” with featured panelists Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris, Dr. Charles Hughes, Preston Lauterbach, and Dr. Zandria Robinson in the McNeill Hall at Rhodes College on Thursday, September 19 at 6:00 p.m. A book signing will follow the discussion, along with a concert by Motel Mirrors.
  • 200 Years of Religion in Memphis,” a discussion of religion in Memphis featuring local clergy and scholars, including Dr. Andre Johnson and Dr. Earle Fisher on Wednesday, October 9 at 11:15 a.m. at Memphis Theological Seminary, Cumberland Hall.

Fresh Reads is CBU’s first-year summer reading program and is a part of the Memphis community common reading program, Memphis Reads. The program gives new students a common academic experience and connects them with the campus community, as well as the Memphis community. Memphis Reads is a collaboration between Memphis organizations, corporations, and schools that  selects one book annually to be read by the Memphis community at large.

For more information on Memphis Reads, visit For more information on Memphis: 200 Years Together, or for purchases, please visit, an independent book retailer, or your preferred online book retailer.

Posted by Cory Dugan at 3:28 PM