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Memphis Moment: Sputnik Monroe

By Steve Pike


Memphis, TN – Sputnik Monroe started a revolution in local wrestling when he moved to Memphis in the 1950s. With a white streak in his hair, his wrestling philosophy was win if you can, lose if you must, always cheat, and if they take you out, leave tearing the ring down. In the 1950s in Memphis, African American wrestling spectators were forced to sit in the balcony. Sputnik, with his many African American fans, helped integrate Ellis Auditorium by bribing a doorman to let in more African Americans in order that there would be no place for them to sit, except in the white section.

Memphis Moments is co-produced by the Pink Palace Family of Museums (http://www.memphismuseums.org) and WKNO-FM and airs on Tuesdays and Thursdays during All Things Considered on the WKNO Stations.