WEB EXTRA: “Freejoe” Joe Harris

Local News

Wednesday marked the 222nd birthday of historic Shelby County resident Joe Harris, better known as Freejoe.

Germantown Mayor Mike Palazzolo and Shelby County mayor Mark Luttrell were on hand at the historic John Gray House in Germantown with proclamations declaring Wednesday be designated “Freejoe Day.”

Author and great, great, great grandson of Harris, Earnest E. Lacey, was present to accept the proclamations and shared with Local 24 some of the history and lore surrounding Freejoe

A documentary and television series on “Freejoe” is in the works. The following information comes from MVP3 Entertainment Group:

MVP3 Entertainment Group™ has required the rights to do the documentary and television series based on the story of Joseph H. Harris (“Free Joe”).  

Earnest E. Lacey, author of “The Search For Free Joe” and “Free Joe: A story of Faith, Love and Perseverance”, is a descendant of Free Joe Harris.  Mr. Lacey is a speaker, writer, and the host of the “Small Business Review”. Marie Pizano, CEO/Founder of MVP3 and Lacey have teamed up to start developing the films and look to go into production in 2019. 

Who was “Free Joe”? 

Joseph H. “Free Joe” Harris was born in slavery on July 18, 1796 in Goochland County, Virginia.  He became a Baptist minister in 1829.  He was emancipated on September 5, 1832.  He came to Eads, Tennessee about 1833.  He was one of the early pioneers of Fayette/Shelby County, Tennessee.  He was the father of 13 children.  Some were born free and the others, as slaves.  As a man of color, he did not allow that to define him.  He was able to accomplish many firsts.  He left behind a legacy, an inspirational story, and a part of history that still stands today. 

“If FreeJoe Harris were alive today, he would be involved in the Women’s Movement.  He witnessed from the dungeons of slavery and later, the sweetness of freedom, how women were treated, not just women of color, but all women”, said Earnest E. Lacey.

“If a man like Free Joe can defeat the odds during an unlikely time for any person of color to flourish, then that’s saying we all can defeat the odds, and live out our lives of purpose.  The color of our skin, the situation we may be in, or what society places on us, does not define us, it’s a time to celebrate life! We are going through rough times now, but we should all remember that we can find our yes in life anyway!”, says Pizano.

For more information about Free Joe, please visit www.FreeJoePublications.com 

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