In John Henry Days, and in history, this event can be seen—heard—as an unsinging of “John Henry,” with the black man stripped of his hammer, chained to the steam drill, and pulled through the tunnel like a coal car. It’s an argument that any lynching of a black American is an unsinging of “John Henry.”
I met Doc the day I moved into the building on Dauphine in June of 2006. He walked up wearing a bodysuit of the type that surfers wear. He was wet, and he had obviously been swimming or bathing, I introduced myself as a new tenant. In his huge baritone voice, he said, "Philip Turner, otherwise known as Doctor Love. Nice to meet you.”
Nashville and Memphis lay legitimate claim as Tennessee’s music cities, but we have forgotten that at one time Chattanooga was a destination for some of the best music in the South. And Ninth Street, or the Big Nine, was where you went to find it.