Important Carved Cane of the Property of Robert Reed Church, Memphis, Tennessee
An important cane from the collection of Robert Reed Church, the first African-American millionaire in the South. Born a slave in 1839 in Mississippi, his mother a slave named Emmeline and his father a white steamboat captain from Virginia named Charles Baker Church. Robert Reed Church opened a saloon in Memphis during the Civil War and by the late 1870s had acquired a vast amount of real estate. With his acquired wealth he provided much for the African-American community of Memphis, including public parks and facilities open to the use of African-Americans in the segregated South. In 1906 he co-founded Solvent Savings Bank, the first African-American bank in Memphis. In 1984, more than a half century after his death, the Memphis Chamber of Commerce honored Robert Reed Church by naming him one of Memphis’ pioneer businessmen.
|Subject||Noted Church family from Memphis, Tennessee|
|Item Type||Walking cane, Nineteenth Century Memphis Families of Color 1850-1900 (Roberta Church and Ronald Walter)|
|Materials||Wood, Bone, Brass|
|Period||19th Century, Antique|
|Number of Items||2|
|Additional Information||Provenance: from Church to his son Robert Reed Baker, descended through the family to the present owner.|
- wear to the cane with rust to the stopper, finish loss and scratches, missing handle; book shows wear throughout with writing, discoloration, stains, and sticker residue, paging coming loose from the spines.
- measurement of the cane; book measures 6″ × 9″.