MEMPHIS AA HISTORY

 

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BEGINNINGS

OCTOBER 1939

The depression was coming to an end. Germany was now occupying Poland. 5,000 copies of ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS had just com off the press. 28 copies would go to those who had written stories, 49 copies would go to the alcoholic stockholders of Works Publishing. 4,923 copies were destined for a warehouse or possible repossession by the printer. There were few orders. The Alcoholic Foundation had been evicted from the house on Clinton Street in Brooklyn as it had been sold.

Morgan R., a former advertising man recently released from the Greystone Asylum and a new member of the fellowship, thought he could get on radio to "plug" the Big Book.

The program was Gabriel Heatter's "We the People" on NBC's Blue Network (An early 20/20 styled program).

After locking Morgan R. in the Downtown Athletic Club for several days before the broadcast to prevent him from showing up drunk, he was taken to "We the People" and told his story. A.A.'s story and plugged the book ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, to a nationwide audience for a grand total of 3 minutes.

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EVOLUTION OF MEMPHIS AA FROM 1946 - 1973

G.S.O. FINDINGS AUGUST 2017

THE INFORMATION BELOW WAS TAKEN FROM THE WORLD DIRECTORIES

 

In 1941 the only AA contact in the state of TN was a Bern H. in Knoxville.

In 1942 Knoxville and Nashville both had one group listed, but no contact names.

In 1943 only Chattanooga had a group listed.

 

In February 1945 there was one listing for Memphis.  No group was named, but a Charles L., Secretary575 East street was listed.  (He listed 88 members which I am sure was inaccurate.)

 

1946

Two groups listed:

  1. Club at 152 Madison, Secretary Mr. Maryan E. H., 96 S. Front St
  2. Crosstown Group, Crosstown Station, Secretary Howard G., 1359 Madison

 

1947

Two groups listed:

  1. Central Group, Secretary W. Preston B., 152 Madison (Clubhouse)
  2. Crosstown Group, Secretary Carl K., 1146 Union

 

1948

Three groups listed:

  1. Central Group (no change)
  2. Crosstown Group (no change)
  3. Overton Park Group, Dr. M.D. H., 1120 Exchange Bldg.

 

No changes in 1949 or 1950

 

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THE 1970s

Memphis AA in the early 1970s was on the cusp of major change: The treatment center model was taking hold, the number of groups was mushrooming, the fellowship was starting to skew significantly younger, the first young people's group was started, the percentage of cross-addicted members was rapidly increasing, groups were becoming integrated, meetings were being held throughout the day rather than just in the evenings, and the Memphis Bluff City Convention was launched.

We have identified six current Memphis AA's who were sober by 1970: Bill D. (Came to Believe), Colin R. (Came to Believe), Syl D. (Bluff City), Frank M. (Traditions), Ray D. (Winchester), and Basil W. (Solutions).

In 1971, there were approximately twenty-one groups in the immediate Memphis area and thirty total listed in the meeting directory. The following eleven groups remain from that year: Bluff City, Central, Cherokee, Covington, Frayser, Millington, North Memphis, Ripley, South Memphis, Village, and West Memphis.

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1980's

We are still piecing together a written account of this period in Memphis AA history. Thanks for your patience and check back soon. Thank you.