Historic Marker placed at R. S. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home
374 Vance Avenue, Memphis
Founded in 1914 by Robert Stevenson Lewis Sr. and later operated by sons Robert Jr. and Clarence, the family business committed to improving quality of life for African-Americans in the community. Among their achievements, in the 1920s Robert Sr. owned the baseball’s Negro American League Memphis Red Sox and financed Martin Stadium, also called Lewis Park. In the 1950s Robert Jr. helped establish T.O. Fuller State Park, one of the first state parks open to African-Americans. In 1968 when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the nearby Lorraine Motel, Robert Jr. was asked by King’s aides to prepare and restore Dr. King’s body, which lay in state at R.S. Lewis & Sons. Hundreds gathered for the first viewing and memorial service for the civil rights legend.