A sunny view of neighborhood bar Newby's located in the University District. (Ziggy Mack) <span class='image-credits'></span> Swing dance lessons at the Rumba Room in Downtown Memphis. (Ziggy Mack) <span class='image-credits'></span> A construction worker crosses the railroad tracks at the University of Memphis with the pending pedestrian under construction in the far background. (Ziggy Mack) <span class='image-credits'></span> Kids participate in an afterschool program at Emmanuel Center. (Andrea Morales) <span class='image-credits'></span> A family overlooks the Mississippi River in Downtown Memphis. (Ziggy Mack) <span class='image-credits'></span> Knights joust at the 2018 Mid-South Renaissance Faire, held at the USA Baseball Stadium and Park in Millington, Tennessee. (Ziggy Mack)  <span class='image-credits'></span>  Attendees of the "Great Heights: National Street and Beyond" photo exhibit hosted by High Ground News and Heights CDC. (Markus Mueller) <span class='image-credits'></span> Residents cross in front of the U.S. Post Office on National Street. (Ziggy Mack) <span class='image-credits'></span> Family plays at Tom Lee Park near the Mississippi River.  <span class='image-credits'>Ziggy Mack</span> As part of the Brooks Outing project, artist Julien de Casabianca pasted "characters" from earlier artworks in suprising places across Memphis. This snippet of "Au pied de la falaise" can be seen on Crump Boulevard. (Ziggy Mack) <span class='image-credits'></span> Heights resident Ethel McBride drives to work in front of a community mural near Treadwell Elementary and Middle School grounds.  <span class='image-credits'>Ziggy Mack</span> Members of the Real South Wrestling Federation demonstrate their skills to a packed house. <span class='image-credits'>Brandon Dahlberg</span>
Hey from High Ground News!
We believe that Memphis deserves sidewalk-level journalism that covers neighborhoods with nuance and centers the experience of residents. We seek to rebalance the news so that Memphians are exposed to stories that help them wrap around the city's challenges and better understand that there are people in every neighborhood across the city innovating for solutions.


Feature StoryThe Tennessean, the luxury liner that replaced the Memphis Special as the main passenger train on the Southern Railway in 1941. (Memphis Public Libraries)

The trains of Southern Avenue that shaped the University District

When most Memphians think of trains in the University District, they think of lines of traffic stuck at Southern Avenue. But in the early 1900s, those tracks carried passengers from distant Memphis to the fledgling school and shaped the district we know today.

Feature StoryIn a scene from the performance, cast members give an artistic re-enactment of neighbors joining together to oppose a proposed neighborhood landfill. From left to right: Michel Angel, Jazmin Bautista, Kierra Turner and Casey Greer. (Scarlet Ponder)

One-act play about The Heights casts residents, confronts neighborhood stereotypes

The Heights Neighborhood Stories Performance, an artistic response to Memphis 3.0 based on real stories of Heights residents, offers an up-close look the beauty, diversity, and challenges faced by the historic Memphis neighborhood.

Feature StoryThe University of Memphis’ land bridge is under construction and will soon allow for foot traffic over the Southern Avenue railroad line. It’s one example of large-scale development projects underway in the University District. (Ziggy Mack)

Sharing the wealth: Planning underway for equitable growth in University District

The University of Memphis and UNDC are teaming with residents on a plan to ensure the University District’s booming growth is shared by all, and they’re asking the Kresge Foundation for major funding to make the plan a reality.

Feature StoryVintage advertisements and packages from Lucky Heart Cosmetics' products are on display at the new storefront at 939 Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard.

An intro to Memphis Black history

Beyond the National Civil Rights Museum and Beale Street, the vision and effort of Black Memphians can be found in every corner of the city.

Feature StoryHigh Ground News Podcast Logo

On The Ground Podcast: If Memphis literacy rates are low, do kids need to be taught differently?

In S1E7 on the On The Ground podcast, Dr. Krista Johnson, the executive director of ALLMemphis , answers if children in poverty and other adverse circumstances learn differently and how Memphis schools can adapt to meet their literacy needs.

Feature StoryThe Highland Strip has seen substantial growth in the last five years. Evidence of the Highland-Walker street improvements include painted concrete and traffic barrels. (Ziggy Mack)

Passing cars: University District looks beyond car travel for solutions to congestion

The city wants to increase density but residents in the University District say they’re already facing congested streets and a serious lack of parking. One possible solution — giving people more options instead of more parking.

Feature StoryOne hundred sixty-one students met for the first day of the 20-week LaunchCode class, held at Southwest Tennessee Community College. (Submitted)

Free coding class for adults kicks off in Memphis

Backed by the co-founders of Twitter and Square, a free 20-week computer science course has launched in Memphis with the support of Southwest Tennessee Community College.

Feature StoryFlash lines the wall at Trilogy Tattoo and Piercing located at 530 South Highland Street in the University District. (Cole Bradley)

21 and counting: Trilogy reflects on two decades on the Highland Strip

For nearly 21 years Trilogy Tattoos and Piercing has been a fixture on the Highland Strip. Owner Richie Jarvis said their secret to success is simple.

Feature StoryThe staff served pizza, wings, fried chicken, chips and soda sponsored by the Friends of the Whitehaven Library and donated by three Whitehaven restaurants. (Cole Bradley)

Whitehaven Library transforms for community Super Bowl party

Super Bowl LIII may have been lackluster, but at the Whitehaven Library, the Super Sunday at The Haven party was fired up with food, fun and a contest to crown the best hot wings in Whitehaven.  

Feature StoryHigh Ground News Podcast Logo

On The Ground Podcast: Memphis 3.0 and the future of Whitehaven Plaza

In S1E6 of the On The Ground podcast, the team lays out how the Memphis 3.0 planning process is affecting Whitehaven's redevelopment opportunities.

Feature Storymessick5

The past and possibility of old Messick High

It's been a long time since Messick High's glory days, but Memphians still remember it fondly and its neighbors wonder if there might be a future for the 101-year-old landmark.  

Feature StoryResidents and other stakeholders hear the results of the three-day design charrette to reimagine Whitehaven Plaza. In the foreground, the model of Whitehaven Plaza shows existing structures in gray alongside new buildings, greenspaces and amenities s

Whitehaven Plaza is first look at Memphis 3.0 in action

Memphis 3.0 will be adopted this year, but work is already underway. High Ground breaks down what you need to know about the new plan and the recent public design workshop to reimage the Whitehaven Plaza. 

Feature StoryMike Blumenthal

4th annual TEDx Memphis conference lineup features unlikely paths to success

Memphis' bicentennial inspired the 2019 theme of "Ideas for the Next Century." The conference, held this year at the Crosstown Arts Theater, will feature 18 speakers. 

Feature StoryAt KIPP Memphis Preparatory Elementary, teacher Nova Moss leads kindergarten students through foundational words and sounds. They use their fingers to spell the words in the air. (Cole Bradley)

Many hands: Memphis organizations work to improve early learning and lifelong success

No one program is a magic bullet to solve Memphis’ most complex social ills like poverty and failing schools. Luckily, Memphis has dozens of efforts working to lift our most vulnerable youth and families and turn the tide for Memphis.

Feature StoryABC Clinic

Video: University of Memphis mock preschool prepares children with autism for classroom learning

The Autism, Behavior and Communication program housed at the Memphis Speech and Hearing Center of the University of Memphis meets the needs of children with developmental disabilities. Therapists work with children who have high-functioning autism and are between the ages of three and five. Launched in 2017, the clinic has helped many children learn the necessary communication and behavior skills to manage the demands of a mainstream preschool.  

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On the Ground:
University District

Join our 16-week community reporting series on the University District area of Memphis. If you're a resident or a stakeholder, help shape the series at a weekly community newsroom. Get caught up on our coverage here. 
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