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Tom Leatherwood
 
Historical Markers of Shelby County

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Church Park

At this location Church Park and Auditorium was established in 1899 By Robert R. Church, Sr., a Memphis businessman and former slave, to provide recreational facilities for members of his race who had no other place to meet. Many famous Americans, including Booker T. Washington and Theodore Roosevelt, spoke here. After the death of its founder, who had become the first Negro millionaire in the South, the park and auditorium was managed by his son, Robert Church, Jr., who, at this site organized the Lincoln League and the Memphis Chapter N.A.A.C.P., the first chapter in Tennessee.