Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Memphis, The Meanest & Stingiest City in the World 1874

Cairo Bulletin May 5 1874
When the pestilence was depopulating Memphis, the whole country sympathized with her misfortunes, and the hand of charity poured money into her lap; philanthropic men and women hastened to her assistance, and over-whelmed her by their kindness.

At that time Memphis was very grateful.  She then appreciated the beauties of charity, and her people were loud in thanks to the kind people who had remembered her in the hour of affliction.  She promised to never forget the kindness that had saved her from destruction.  but the lesson had no permanent effect, and to-day she stands disgraced as the meanest and stingiest city in the world.  The country around about her is submerged.  Thousands of people have been driven from their homes by the flood.  Men, women and children are houseless and foodless, are wandering in the hills back from the river, starving and exposed to the inclement weather.  Again the charity of the country is invoked for aid, and again the cities of the West and East are furnishing money, clothing and provision with a liberal hand.  Memphis refuses!  Her council by a formal vote refused to give a dollar to relieve the suffering of her neighbors and her customers; and the members of her council, justifying their despicable conduct, have the shamelessness to assert that the men, women and children who are perishing from hunger and exposure did not contribute anything to the relief of Memphis! The people of Memphis are shocked.  They are liberal--anxious to relieve the distress of the flood-afflicted people of the Mississippi valley, but they have a common council that stolidly refuses to vote a cent for relief, and has made that city a by-word in the nation--given it the title of the meanest of the mean.
Originally posted in The Cairo Bulletin, May 4 1874.


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