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A Century of Memphis Politics Still Influenced by 'Boss' Crump

Christopher Blank/WKNO-FM

In his new book, From Boss Crump to King Willie: How Race Changed Memphis Politics, Otis Sanford examines the winning political strategy of E.H.Crump, at one time the most powerful politician in the state of Tennessee.

"Boss" Crump's firm hold onto power in Memphis despite ongoing battles with newspaper editors and bitter rivals depended almost entirely on the votes of African-Americans, whose trust Crump earned with fulfilled promises and even some eyebrow-raising tactics. 

In this interview, Sanford fields questions about his bookand makes note of come intriguing contemporary parallels.

Reporting from the gates of Graceland to the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, Christopher has covered Memphis news, arts, culture and politics for more than 20 years in print and on the radio. He is currently WKNO's News Director and Senior Producer at the University of Memphis' Institute for Public Service Reporting. Join his conversations about the Memphis arts scene on the WKNO Culture Desk Facebook page.