Sears Crosstown in Memphis

When it opened in 1927, Sears Crosstown, now Crosstown Concourse, was the southeastern regional warehouse and distribution center for the Sears Catalogue mail-order empire. Each day, more than forty-five thousand orders were processed by more than 1,500 workers. As a result, Sears Crosstown became known locally as “the Wish Building.” For more than half a century, the iconic building and its surrounding neighborhood flourished until the decline of Sears in the 1980s. For decades, the once dynamic destination for commerce was vacant and shuttered. Then a unique group of Memphians emerged to resurrect Sears Crosstown with a plan most thought was impossible.  In his latest book, Bill tells the story of “the Wish Building”—its past, present and future.

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Bill's Blog

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REMEMBERING ARGUING WITH MY DEAR FRIEND JOHN

We met over 50 years ago, and immediately got into an argument.  He was a member of the White Station High School Debate Team.  I was a member of the Frayser High School Debate Team.  We squared off against one another in a speech tournament at old Messick High School, vigorously arguing an issue of American foreign policy.

I can’t recall who won.  I am sure my friend thought he did.  I thought I clearly won.  We probably had an argument about that right after the debate. 

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CRITICAL RACE THEORY AND AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM CAN BOTH EXIST IN TENNESSEE SCHOOLS

Students can only truly understand how exceptional our nation is if they are also taught about our "original sin" of slavery, the continuing sin of racism, and how we have sought and still strive to address it.

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WHAT MRS. GILLESPIE TAUGHT ME ABOUT THE RUSSIANS

When I was in the fourth grade I had a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Gillespie.  We did not change classes in the fourth grade at Frayser Elementary School, so Mrs. Gillespie was my only teacher that year.  With the exception of recess and lunchtime, I was at my desk in Mrs. Gillespie’s classroom from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. every weekday.  

Mrs. Gillespie taught me math, English, science, arts and history.  

She also taught me something about the Russians. 

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Bill's Books

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Why Can't Mother Vote?
Why Can't Mother Vote?

On August 18, 1920, thirty-year-old Tennessee State Representative Joseph Hanover walked through the lobby of The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville to be greeted by cheers and jeers. Joe Hanover had become the nation’s leading male voice in the fight for woman suffrage. The most powerful forces in Tennessee opposed him. But Joe Hanover, a Polish immigrant, was not going to back away from the fight. He asked, “Why can’t Mother vote?” And then he set about to take care of the unfinished business of Democracy.

In his latest book, Bill tells the inspirational story of this unsung hero of woman suffrage.

Available December 23, 2019. To order email Bill at Whaltom@comcast.net or Jacque Hillman, Publisher, hillhelengroup@gmail.com, or call 731-394-2894. Mailed orders: $28 includes shipping.

The book will also be available at Burke’s Books and Novel Memphis, and online at Amazon.com and other booksellers.

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Full Court Press: How Pat Summitt, a High School Basketball Player, and a Legal Team Changed the Game
Full Court Press: How Pat Summitt, a High School Basketball Player, and a Legal Team Changed the Game

In his latest book, Bill has teamed up with a brilliant young writer—Amanda Swanson—to tell the story of a game-changing lawsuit, Victoria Cape v. the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association. 

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