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Bill Morris: A Legendary Life

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About Bill Morris:

ln this book, William N. (Bill) Morris, Jr. shares his compelling journey from the depths of poverty to the heights of Tennessee politics. Elected as one the youngest sheriffs in Tennessee history, Morris transformed what was once an undisciplined and often corrupt sheriff's department into one of the most respected law enforcement agencies in the nation. When Sheriff Morris took James Earl Ray into custody for the 1968 killing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Morris and his staff instituted new jail procedures to protect Ray from potential assassins. His efforts brought national acclaim from law enforcement officials, including a personal recognition from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

From 1978 to 1994, Morris served four terms as Shelby County Mayor. Traveling the globe with Governors Alexander and McWherter, he promoted tourism with Memphis In May, Beale Street and Elvis' Graceland. He also sold the concept of Memphis as America's Distribution Center, helping to bring foreign businesses such as Sharp Manufacturing and Nissan Motor Company to Tennessee. His work promoting foreign trade earned him a seat on Pres. Ronald Reagan's International Economic Committee.

Morris became a close friend and companion of Elvis Presley, deputizing Elvis and members of his "Memphis Mafia" in 1965. Morris was also one of a few close associates to participate in a never, publicized secret seance in an attempt to communicate with Elvis immediately after his death.

After an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 1994, Morris retired from politics. Three years later, his wife, Ann, suffered a major stroke, which began his greatest challenge. For the next 19 years, he became devoted to his wife's day to daycare until her death in 2016.


About coauthor Darrell Uselton:

Darrell Uselton is a historian and biographer of accomplished individuals who display distinctive leadership qualities. Whether the story is one of personal triumph or the historical perspective of a family or business, Uselton creates a compelling story of their unique experience. He divides his time between writing, leadership training and teaching history at The University of Memphis.

Event date: 
Thursday, March 28, 2019 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
387 Perkins Ext.
Memphis, TN 38117