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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Did you know that Tom Lee Park was named after a black man?

Did you know that Tom Lee Park is a city park located to the immediate west of downtown Memphis, Tennessee, overlooking the Mississippi River?

Did you know that the Tom Lee park is named after Tom Lee, an African-American riverworker, who saved the lives of 32 passengers of the sinking steamboat M.E. Norman in 1925?

Did you know that Tom Lee park hosts events throughout the year, perhaps most notably the major weekend events during Memphis in May?

Did you know that Tom Lee Park is a popular location for walkers, joggers, roller bladders and cyclists?

Tom Lee (ca. 1925)

Late during the afternoon of May 8, 1925, Lee steered his 28 ft (8.5 m) skiff Zev upriver after delivering an official to Helena, Arkansas.
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.[1]

Did you know that Tom Lee witnessed the M.E. Norman capsize in the swift current 15 mi (24 km) downriver from Memphis at Cow Island Bend. Although he could not swim, he rescued 32 people with five trips to shore?

Did you know that because Lee acted so fast that only 23 people died?

Did you know that to honor the hero Tom Lee, the Memphis Engineers Club raised enough money to purchase a house for Lee and his wife?

Did you know that Tom Lee died of cancer on April 1, 1952 at John Gaston Hospital?

Did you know that two years after his death, the park along the Memphis Riverfront was named in his honor and a granite obelisk was erected?

David Alan Clark
Did you know that in October 2006, a bronze sculpture by artist David Alan Clark [2] was erected in the park to commemorate the event and to honor the civil hero?

 The sculpture depicts the rescue of a survivor saved from drowning in the Mississippi River.[3]

Did you know that the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, held the third weekend of May, is the world's largest pork barbecue cooking competition, attracting hundreds of competitors to Tom Lee Park from around the world?

Now if you didn't know, now you know...

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