Harold Lum is the now retired owner of Lem King Grocery in Pace, a small dot in the rural landscape of the Mississippi Delta, nestled amidst cotton fields. Nowadays, most of the few storefronts are boarded up, but the 79-year old remembers another time, "Like Cleveland. They must have had close to a dozen Chinese groceries. Everybody was mostly in the grocery business. Matter of fact, all around the Delta that's what they all went in to."
Oxford, MS – China is a long way from the United States. Yet many made the voyage, hoping for a better life. In the late 1860s, the first Chinese reached the Mississippi Delta. The 1870 census counts just 16 Chinese in the Magnolia state.
Memphis, TN – Before Sun rose, the sounds that originated at Memphis Recording Service at 706 Union Avenue found their way to the world via Chicago or Hollywood on Chess, Checker, or RPM records. Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats, B.B. King and His Orchestra, Rufus Thomas, Jr., and The Howlin' Wolf were laying the foundation for the Memphis sound, but nothing nailed the music to the Bluff City itself.
Memphis, TN – The two East Coast born California dwellers for whom Elvis Presley had earned thousands of dollars, but whom Elvis had never met, were waiting. The waiting room was the studio at Radio Recorders in Hollywood where "Big Mama" Thornton had recorded their song Hound Dog. The occasion on that Tuesday, April 30, 1957 was the initial recording session for the movie Jailhouse Rock, for which the reluctant songwriters had been commissioned to create musical magic.