“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Memphis in Shelby County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Tom Lee Monument

Tom Lee Monument Marker Text image. Click for full size.
By Thomas Chris English, April 8, 2008
1. Tom Lee Monument Marker Text
Inscription. Late afternoon of May 8, 1925, Tom Lee (1886-1952) steered his 28' skiff Zev upriver after delivering an official to Helena.

Also on the river was a steamboat, the M. E. Norman, carrying members of the Engineers Club of Memphis, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and their families.

Lee witnessed the Norman capsize in the swift current 15 miles downriver from Memphis at Cow Island Bend. Although he could not swim, he rescued 32 people with five trips to shore. Lee acted quickly, calmly and with no regard for his own safety, continuing to search after night fell. Because of his efforts, only 23 people died.

For his heroism, Lee received many honors and awards. In 1954, this park was renamed and an obelisk was erected in his memory.
Erected 2006.
Location. 35° 8.119′ N, 90° 3.882′ W. Marker is in Memphis, Tennessee, in Shelby County. Marker can be reached from Riverside Drive. Touch for map. Monument is in Tom Lee Park, on the Mississippi riverfront near the foot of Beale Street in Memphis. The park was the first named for an African American. Marker is in this post office area: Memphis TN 38103, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance
Tom Lee Monument image. Click for full size.
By Mary Johnston-Clark, November 18, 2006
2. Tom Lee Monument
The Tom Lee Monument by sculptor David Alan Clark is sited on the banks of the Mississippi River. Visitors are encouraged to walk up to the figure of Lee, reaching out from his boat, and grasp his hand. The waterline of the boat is at visitor's eye level, and the plaza is etched with river currants, giving visitors the feeling of being in the water awaiting rescue.
of this marker. Tom Lee Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Site of First Memphis Telephone (approx. ¼ mile away); The Blues Foundation (approx. 0.3 miles away); Modern Movie~Making In Memphis (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Lorraine Motel (approx. 0.4 miles away); WLOK Radio Station (approx. half a mile away); 1866 Memphis Massacre (approx. half a mile away); Memphis Martyrs (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Memphis.
More about this marker. The sculptural monument is a complement to the original obelisk, reconstructed after damage from "Hurricane Elvis" - both monuments now stand in Tom Lee Park. See the Tom Lee Monument in the Other nearby markers section above.
Regarding Tom Lee Monument. The Tom Lee monument was selected as the site of a 2008 ceremony to honor Dr. Martin Luther King by Amnesty International, working with the National Civil Rights Museum, AFSCME Local 1733, the Memphis chapter of the NAACP, Southwest Tennessee Community College and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The Tom Lee Recognitions will honor local civil rights champions.
Also see . . .  Tom Lee Monument, Memphis Tenn. The artist's website, with more pictures and information. (Submitted on October 28, 2008.) 
Categories. African AmericansCivil RightsHeroesWaterways & Vessels
Tom Lee Monument Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mary Johnston-Clark, November 5, 2006
3. Tom Lee Monument Marker
View towards the city of Memphis.
Tom Lee Monument image. Click for full size.
By Mary Johnston-Clark
4. Tom Lee Monument
Detail of Tom Lee.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 27, 2008, by Mary Johnston-Clark of Lander, Wyoming. This page has been viewed 1,448 times since then and 37 times this year. Last updated on May 3, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1. submitted on January 24, 2010.   2, 3, 4. submitted on October 27, 2008, by Mary Johnston-Clark of Lander, Wyoming. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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