Daniels-Eisenstaedt Photo Tour: Memphis
Daniels and Eisenstaedt visited three readily identifiable locations in Memphis: the headquarters of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union (STFU), Beale Street, and the Peabody Hotel.
Daniels had interviewed STFU president J. R. Butler during his 1937 tour and wrote a great deal about the union in A Southerner Discovers the South. In 1938, he and Eisenstaedt found both Butler and union secretary-treasurer H. L. Mitchell in town and available for photographs.
Eisenstaedt's pictures of Memphis's famous Beale Street can be identified by landmarks such as the Hotel Clark and Double-Dek Ice Cream.
At the lavish Peabody Hotel, Eisenstaedt took pictures in the dining room and also went behind the scenes with some of the waitresses. A letter to Daniels from hotel staff member Elizabeth Hammet identifies the four young women pictured in a group shot (waitresses-1 below) as (left to right):
Virginia Hale, from Tupelo, Miss.; Bracie Pace, from Sebastapol, Miss.; Ruth Johnson, from Pocahontas, Ark.; and Dorothy Bradley, from Holly Springs, Miss.
The African American headwaiter pictured in the dining room is Alonzo Locke, a respected citizen of Memphis who now has a school named in his honor.
According to Hammet, in 1938 Locke had "been with the Hotel Peabody company for 35 years. Made a fortune, invested in negro [stet] banks, lost around $90,000...when the bank failed...Now owns his own property, auto. His wife has her own servant." (Hammet to Daniels, September 24, 1938, in the Jonathan Daniels Papers #3466, Southern Historical Collection, Louis Round Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).
Move on to Delta Cooperative Farm