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Home Tennessee Shelby County Memphis Historical Markers Robert R. Church, Sr.

Robert R. Church, Sr.

Beale St., Memphis, TN , USA

Latitude & Longitude: 35° 8' 19.128552", -90° 2' 56.761872"
  Tennessee TN State Historical Marker
Tennessee State
Historical Marker

Pioneer businessman, first citizen to buy bond to restore city charter after
yellow fever epidemics of 1878-1879 had reduced Memphis to a taxing district.
Bought bond number one of first series for one-thousand dollars. Founded
Solvent Savings Bank and Trust Co. in 1906. The first bank to be owned by
members of his race in Memphis. Built and contributed to the city Church's
Park and Auditorium on this site in 1899, the first recreational, cultural and
civic center for his people in Memphis where President Theodore Roosevelt
addressed 10,000 citizens November 19, 1902. The Scimitar, April 1899 stated:
“It may be stated of Robert Church that his word was as good as his bond, no
appeal to him for the aid of any charity or public enterprise for the benefit
of Memphis has ever been made in vain. He is for Memphis first, last and all
the time.”
215B Robert R. Church, Jr.
Recognized throughout the nation as most influential leader of his race in
Republican Party during his lifetime. Delegate from Memphis to eight
successive Republican National Conventions. “His influence in the Republican
Party is more extensive in the South than any man white or black,” The
Commercial Appeal, Oct. 6, 1928. “...Leading Negro politician of the country...”
New York World, March 10, 1929. Founded Lincoln League on this site in 1916.
The first organization in Memphis to conduct voter registration drives, to
conduct voting schools and to pay poll taxes for voters. It was his conviction
that the ballot was the medium through which black citizens could obtain civil
rights and to this concept he was dedicated as long as he lived.

Last updated: 2/14/2015 15:17:00
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Robert R. Church, Sr. Historical Marker Location Map, Memphis, Tennessee Map