Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Alan Lightman

Ancient Rememberings

Alan Lightman recalls the Memphis Cotton Carnival of 1955

Alan Lightman has explored the mysteries of both science and spirit in his fiction, taking readers from Einstein’s alternate worlds (Einstein’s Dreams) to a ghostly encounter in a mortuary (Ghost). In Screening Room (due from Pantheon in early 2011), Lightman will venture into his own childhood memories of Memphis during the tumultuous 1950s and 60s: “This book is about Memphis and the South in the 1950s and 1960s; my family and the family movie business; the music, food, and culture of Memphis; racism in Memphis and the South; Boss Crump, Elvis, Martin Luther King, etc.,” he writes. In this excerpt, the opening chapter of the fictionalized memoir, he provides a glimpse—though a child’s innocent eyes—of the old social order of a city poised on the brink of change.

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