Stax Dedication Speech: Dr. Mable John 4-27-2003

**Timestamp: 2:08pm**

This is a wonderful occasion, and even though it’s been a few years, it seems like
yesterday. To the Chairman of the Board, and to the President and Executive Director,
to all of the Advisory Board, and everybody that loves soul music, and I think that takes
in all of us, it is befitting that we give honor and homage to the greatest source in the
world, and of the world, that made the world -- for all of the talent that he embodied in all
of us. Because all of us in our own way, whether you sang, whether you played an
instrument, whether you wrote the song, or just gave an idea, .

Sometime Mr. Al Bell and I, along with some of the Stax Artists, would just be in a
conversation, and we would say something that was very unique. And he would say,
“that would make a good song...”. And that’s how Stax was able to stack the soul,
because we stack the soul right here at Stax.

We call this day the “Day of Dedication”. It’s a very special day today, but this day
began a long time ago. From the first day that Stax Records opened its doors, we were
headed to this day. We didn’t know it at the time. But we were. Everything that we are
for the future begins with today. So, we call this “dedication”.

Now, we’re going to look at the word “dedicate” so you will understand exactly what we
are doing, because it’s not a church – it is a public place being set apart to be used and
called for a special purpose. When you look at the definition of “dedicate” in Webster’s
Dictionary, it says it means “to set apart - - to open a building for public use”. Then
when I looked in W.E. Vines’s Expository Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, it’s a verb, and
the Greek word is “enkainizo”, which literally means to “renew” or “rebuild”. So what
are we doing?

Stax as we knew it performed a wonderful and purposeful service of making people’s
lives different, and happy, and joyous, giving them hope. And then it vanished. Not
out of the hearts of people. The music didn’t leave, but the location moved.

So this is what we’ve done. Now we are rebuilding. We have taken the desolate
and made it something so beautiful that it’s better than it was in the beginning. And that’s the
thing about creativity. That’s why I said whether you sang a song or wrote a song,
whether you played an instrument, or just stood around and applauded after those that did
those things performed, you are part of this history. Stax as we first knew it was
temporary in it’s structure. But, what we have today here is eternal. Time cannot destroy
it, man cannot destroy it because music is the sentiment of a man’s soul. This is the
“only” museum of its kind anywhere! This is the Stax Soulsville Museum of music.

I was so in aw last night when I walked through the building very quickly. I’m usually
never loss for words. And I found myself going from room to room, and from studio to
another room, an all I could say was “umph! ... umph!”. And Ms. Parker said,
“Are we going to finish this at some point?” I don’t know because I don’t have words to express.

And you might want to remember, to build needs many things. Number one, it needs
vision. It takes hope and commitment. Along with that, it takes visionaries that
understand the vision. It takes commitment of you and the people that’s going to join
you to help accomplish a certain goal.

There’s a scripture that I’d like to relate to you. In the Amplified Bible, it tells us in
Isaiah 61:4, “...And they shall build the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former
desolation, and renew the ruined cities...” Memphis is being turned all the way around
today. But not only Memphis. All over the world, because all of those that missed the
site of the first leg of Stax can live now in its eternity. And I think that’s just marvelous.

Now with a building needing many things, one of the things a builder has to have is
resources, because you don’t have visions without resources. But there’s another
scripture that tells us that “when you give your charitable gifts, don’t let your right hand
know what your left hand is doing”, because God being God sees you and your gift in
secret, and he will reward you openly.

Now you may say, “Why embark upon such a task? It’s such a huge task!” And then we
found another scripture in Luke 12:48b that says, “For everyone to whom much is given,
much is required.”. So this required something very special and something very unique,
something that’s lasting, something that will mend broken hearts and that’s what we’re
here for. Because music is supposed to mend the broken hearted.

To the:
Chairman of the Board, Mr. Andy Cates -
President-Executive Director, Deanie Parker -
Board Members: Mr. Howard Robertson, Charles Ewing,
         Kenneth Robinson, Staley Cates, George Johnson -
The Soulsville Staff -
The Academy Staff -
The Museum Staff -
Soulsville Partners -
Anonymous Soul-1 -
Anonymous Soul-2 -
Founding Members -
Stax Family -
Volunteers & Friends –

by the powers vested in me, I now this day, April 27th 2003, do hereby dedicate these
premises, 926 East McLemore, as the “Soulsville Soul Music Museum”.

Thank you.

**End-timestamp: 2:21 pm**