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Shelandra Y. Ford
Historical Markers of Shelby County

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Statuary At The Shelby County Courthouse

Exterior statuary at the Shelby County Courthouse includes, most prominently, six seated figures carved from single blocks of Tennessee marble, representing Wisdom, Justice, Liberty, Authority, Peace, and Prosperity. Near the top of the north facade are six standing figures: Prudence, Courage, Integrity, Learning, Mercy, and Temperance. Pediments above the Second Street, Adams Avenue, and Third Street entrances are decorated with carved scenes depicting religious law, Roman law, statutory law, common law, civil law, and criminal law. At the apex of (Continued on other side) each of these pediments is the head of Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom. Since 1921 the south corridor has featured a bust of President Andrew Jackson, one of the founders of Memphis. Sculpted by John Frazee from life in 1835, the bust was purchased by the City in 1858 and originally placed in Court Square two blocks southwest of this site. The bust features at its base the words of Jackson's famous toast: "Our Federal Union! It must and shall be preserved!" This inscription was defaced during the Civil War but, like the Union itself, was soon restored.