“I can remember our Principal at Manassas was Mr. Hayes and the Assistant Principal was named Teague,” said Nelson. “Things PHOTOS By Tony Wright were just so different in those days. Wherever we went we would walk because it was not as much danger out in the community. You could go out at night – all the way from Klondike where I lived to the theatre on Chelsea near Hollywood in North Memphis. Yes, we could hear dogs barking, but no one would bother us.” After graduation, the teenaged Nelson picked up work as a laborer, manually unloading clothes for a dress shop. He was drafted into WWII in the 40s, but never served overseas. “As a loose figure, I would have to say I served about 20-something months,” said Nelson as he struggled to remember days gone by. “What happened was when they were examining us, I passed the examination, but when they drafted us to send us overseas, they discovered that I had flat feet! I was still in the Army, but I never did serve overseas. I believe I did my basic training at Camp (Fort) Lee in Virginia.” Sometime after returning to Memphis, Nelson began playing the piano for B.B. King. King was already on the radio and the powers to be were watching Nelson although he did not know it at the time. “They (WDIA owners Bert Ferguson and John Pepper) asked me to do my own show,” said Nelson who played the piano for 15 minutes and encouraged all his listening audience to purchase Folders Mountain Grown Coffee, a leader in the coffee field still today. “My first sponsor was Folders Mountain Grown Coffee. They had a prepared script for me. The line I made famous was ‘Mountain Grown Folders Coffee, Mountain Grown!’ I started playing gospel music after that and one thing led to another. That’s when we all figured out that I was a little more comfortable doing gospel. My first show was called, ‘Let’s Have Some Fun!’” Nelson would emcee and co-emcee programs at Mason and Clayborn Temple in downtown Memphis. He remembered being a significant part of performances held at the old Ellis Auditorium, a 10,000-seat multipurpose arena that put Memphis on the map in the mid-20s, that used to sit in downtown Memphis on the corner of Poplar and Front Streets. Active from the 20s through the late 50’s, the Memphis Red Sox Negro League Baseball team who played at Martin Stadium was another location that hosted many events Nelson played a significant role in. Groups came from all over the county to attend these events,” said Nelson. “A.C. (Andrew Charles) “Moohah” Williams, the first 3

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