“Memphis Flyer” archive
Johnny Cash could find a new home in Cooper-Young.
Several neighborhood and music organizations have started an online fundraising effort to put a statue of the music legend at the corner of Cooper and Walker. The basement of the church on that corner is where Cash and his band, the Tennessee Two, played their first show (for a women’s church group).
The project, called The Johnny Cash Memphis Legacy, is a collaboration of Cooper Walker Place, Rhodes College, the Visible Music College, Memphis filmmaker Mike McCarthy, and the Cooper-Young Community Association. The groups launched an ioby.org fundraising page for the effort last week.
Here’s why they say they want to do it:
“Memphis has a long and rich musical heritage, but often, the spots where things happen go unrecognized. This is the case for Johnny Cash’s time in Memphis. While many of us know the story of how he got his start at Sun Records, little is known about his time living and working in Memphis. This project gives us the unique opportunity to celebrate the location of Cash’s first performance with the Tennessee Two by erecting a statue and historical marker that can serve not only as a source of civic pride for Memphians, but as a location for tourists to visit as they come to Memphis.”
Here’s where they want to erect the statue (1015 Cooper Street; photo courtesy of Google Maps):
The group hopes to raise $10,000 by Friday, May 8th. The funds would allow work on the sculpture to get started. (Sculptor Bill Beckwith has already been selected to create the statue.) Three more phases of fundraising would follow.
The group hopes to unveil the statue on May 1, 2016, the 60th anniversary of the release of Cash’s first Sun record, “I Walk the Line.”
To donate, or for more information, visit www.ioby.org/project/