Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Beale Street #3

Marker ID:  3
Location: 138 Beale Street, Memphis, TN
County: Shelby
Coordinates: N 35° 8.38    W 090° 3.166
  35.13966666    -90.05276666
Waymark: None


Beale Street #3

During the great wave of immigration around the turn of the century, Jews, Italians, Greeks and Chinese came to Beale Street to pursue their fortunes. They established pawnshops, clothing stores, restaurants, produce stands, theaters, and clubs that, after 1920, served a predominately Black clientele. Customers from the city and surrounding rural areas crowded Beale's sidewalks till you had to walk in the street to pass by.

"What store hours? We never had store hours. When we were here, we were here." Bernard Lansky

"My daddy had a shop right there by the market where Handy Park is now. All the truck farmers use to come here with their vegetables and sell their produce. They'd line up in their stalls, four or five hundred people every morning trading their vegetables."

Frank Liberto Sr.

"When he came to this country in 1890, my father peddled. He didn't have anywhere to sleep. He'd look at these little homes with lawns and green grass and say, 'I just pray that someday I'll have a home like that.' He was trying to get established. He opened a produce place right there on Beale and Mulberry."

Mrs. Nello Pacini

Center for Southern Forklore