Historic Memphis home contains thousands of black history artifacts

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A home on East Parkway seems more like a museum than a home. Dr. Hal Johnson lives in the home, and he has been gathering memorabilia for decades.

"Here's a picture with Bobby Eckstine, my father and Count Bassie," Johnson said pointed to one of the hundreds of classic pictures in his home.

Johnson and his father gathered thousands of items from black stars who visited the city during segregation.

"During the days of segregation, there were just a limited number of places where you could stay," Johnson said.

With only a few places available to visiting black stars, Johnson's home became a makeshift hotel to the stars.

It now has more than 4,000 artifacts and pictures of the men and women who spent time in the home--making the home seem more like a museum than an abode.

Mobile users: Click here to see pictures from inside the home.

The artifacts and pictures take you back in time and show the greats who spent time in the house. This includes Louis Armstrong, an American trumpeter. Armstrong befriended Johnson's father H.H. Johnson over the years and stayed with him while he was here in Memphis.

With each step you take, you're taking a walk through a century of black history. This includes a bugle played during the Civil War.

Another piece of memorabilia you'll find inside the home is a typewriter used by Langston Hughes, an American poet, social activist, and novelist. 

"You keep the things you know are meaningful," Johnson said.

Johnson said keeping the artifacts helps he remember the great times she shared with his father and some of the most famous black men and women in history.

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