I'm thinking 'Mae Beavers Watch' should be a continuing series. Actual events in her life could be dramatically recreated by local production staff with fuzzy hand puppets, and the video posted to YouTube. It would be an instant sensation. If anyone needs me to assist as an extra, I'll be the puppet that responds to her incisive queries with a noncommittal 'Merp!'. I think I've got it down.
The feeling that something was stolen is based on what things were like there when jim crow was in effect. They want that back.
I'm kind of confused as to why people seem to think something's been stolen from black folks here. Nobody was stopping local development of that area in the 1970's by whomever wanted to do so... either side of the community. Here is what it looked like in 1974:
No one was much interested in the area then. I remember. In fact, I used to go down there every chance I got, just to talk to some of the old guys in the area, so they would tell me about what it used to be like back in the day. When the Beale Street Development Corporation finally got a chance to put together a group of people interested in reviving our lost heritage, there were almost no businesses on Beale. Most of the land was designated for bulldozing in urban renewal. But a lot of people, black and white, couldn't stomach that. They knew something had to be done. So they pushed through this idea to rebuild the place.
Here's an archive at the Memphis Public Library on the Beale Street Development Corporation which was formed to do just that:
It's one of the most complete resources on how the area was revived, and who did it. When Elkington-Keltner took this task on in 1983, there was a general feeling that this was going to be a big loss for them. Nobody believed that it could be done... that both halves of the community would support it. It was going to be a huge flop, if you listened to a lot of the developers at that time.
Only it wasn't.
John Elkington took on the task, and executed on every promise, delivering an amazing entertainment vehicle that very few people thought could actually take off. And it flew. For years. For decades.
Here's a little something from when he stepped out of the pilot's seat:
What it says to me, is that the personal vision that has brought our community this wonderful revival on Beale Street, needs to be passed to a new generation. I think that's obvious. But they need to have a vision that's inclusive, like the original. And they need to have buy-in from all parts of the community.
I'm not for giving something that was so hard bought, to a bunch of out-of-towners, who don't know what it means to us. I'd rather have a local group of folks who have a real stake in it incorporate, and pull it together.
But again... That's just me. We can throw all this heritage out the window. How many people even remember how hard it was to stand Beale Street up in the first place? Sure, Memphis. Just let it turn into another sideshow like the Fairgrounds ended up. Throw it away.
That's what always happens around here, isn't it?
Regarding the "blight" statement, I was purposely sticking with the official language used at the time so we could avoid opening that can for now.
Perused through some info online including several old newspapers (Chicago, NY and DC) to find some more info on the whole "shut-down by the state and reopened by Congress" bit. This is what I found: Mayor Loeb imposed a 7 pm to 5 am curfew that took effect March 28th and was lifted on April 1st. Apparently at that time, a mayor in Tennessee could not issue a curfew and thus the state legislature rushed through a law granting the mayor such power. This curfew was reported as being only moderately restrictive- as long as one had an ID and could state an intended purpose or destination, they were not found in violation of the curfew. Movie houses, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. all remained open unless their owners voluntarily closed them early. Another second curfew- this time very restrictive- was imposed by the mayor on April 4th and subsequently lifted on April 5th. Other than the curfew on the 4th and 5th (which was applied to the entire city), I have had difficulty finding where downtown was "shut down".
Casey - there are more than 60 people in the city of Memphis.
Wait, did I read that right? Is Strickland is throwing the police under the bus on this? But doesn't Strickland need the cops to be tough on crime, one of those "basics" he was claiming to be "brilliant" at?
Oh Mayor Peter Griffin, why are you so hilariously inept? It's almost as if Strickland really just can't relate to the mindset of the common Memphian.
Most of us came from work. And many of us who are self-employed give up money we could be making to be community activists and volunteers for charity. And no need to forward our sign-in sheet. I am sure MPD knows who we all are.
I have found that life is, generally speaking, a few valuable "stuffs" surrounded by garbage. Leaf blowers are a good example. So many people use those things and then go to the gym for exercise. For gods sake! Buy a fucking rake and go rake the yard. You won't need the hearing protection and maybe you'll even enjoy hearing the kids next door playing with a basketball or on a swing set. Much nicer. Far more valuable.
Dear god do people even bother to research what they are talking about..... I guess not what with our so-called President making things up as he goes.
This "enemies list" is yet more evidence of what a mistake it was to appoint Rallings police director. As for Strickland, he should have known better. Apparently, though, as this exercise in Trumpism graphically demonstrates, he's in Trump's thrall.
Like any garbage pile the internet contains a lot of valuable stuff. Question and cross reference. How do you like the Hooks library? I spent a good portion of my youth and Peabody and McLean.
Anyway this hubub is all about business, white or black.
Casey Sullivan the protest started at 5 p.m. so people could come after work. A lot of us use our vacation and personal time to come to City Council meetings. Many of the activists are mothers, that's a 24/7 job.
If only they had taught me any of this history in school instead of forcing me to research all of it over the internet as an adult...
Dear god do people work in this city anymore.........I guess not with all of the handouts going around.
Please forward your sign in sheet to MPD for inclusion on the black list.
Downtown and Beale were not shut down for long in '68. We continued shopping down there for many years, demonstrating, partying and living.
Choose your words more carefully. When you re 90% right, people will only remember your 10% wrong. Of course if you are 80% wrong people will......
Making up facts piecemeal may make one President or gild an argument, but it won't advance the truth, especially if the fabricator is espousing it.
They didn't just use bulldozers. According to these pictures, they used tanks too.
Nashville called in the National Guard to shut down downtown Memphis, and the Act of Congress that declared Memphis home of the Blues was a reaction to that. It's mentioned on the Beale street website as well as the Beale Street wiki, but I can't find a succinct link that you don't have to dig through to find it. It's also on a couple factoid lists.
I generally find "blight" to be a codeword for something else, but I know you don't mean it that way.
"Downtown was shut down by the state"? Please explain.
As for land transfer from private to public, Beale was part of an urban renewal scheme back in the day when cities across the country used bulldozers (and federal funds) in place of surgeon scapples to address blight. If I remember what I have read correctly, it required significant local effort to save what few historic buildings one finds today from the wrecking ball.
I've been having a hard time finding when Beale was socialized/why it was socialized. I know historically it was owned privately by Robert Church, a mixed race land speculator who bought up all the land after the Yellow Fever epidemic.
I know downtown was shut down by the State of TN after the MLK assassination, and had to be reopened by an act of congress declaring it a historic place.
How that land was stripped from private ownership and taken by the government I can't seem to find any documentation on, and probably for good reason.
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