South Memphis

Founded as an agricultural community, South Memphis was stable and close-knit until the 1950s when businesses and families began relocating to the suburbs. Ill-conceived “revitalization” in the 1980s leveled many early buildings and accelerated the decline. Today, it is one of the city’s most economically challenged but culturally rich neighborhoods. The Soulsville area attracts thousands of tourists each year while resident-led revitalization has steered recent investments towards an area farmers market as well as a childcare and family center. South Memphis is also home to numerous community gardens, LeMoyne Owen College, and the famous Four Way Grill.

Feature Story In Boxtown, two men sit on a horse-drawn carriage after collecting wood to warm their houses; 1960. After decades of industrial pollution, Byhalia Pipeline LLC wants to move crude oil under Boxtown. (University of Memphis Libraries, Ken Ross)
Feature Story memphis_minnie.jpg
Feature Story Archie "A.W." Willis, Jr. stands at center. Seated are members of the Memphis State Eight. These students were the first to integrate what is now the University of Memphis.

Black Memphis, Black History: The legacy of A.W. Willis


Feature Story Kenzie Cleaves stands inside a vacant unit in her North Memphis apartment complex that she said has been unsecured for over a year. Unsafe housing conditions can increase COVID-19-related deaths. (Ziggy Mack)

In poor communities, toxic housing is a risk factor for COVID-19 deaths


Feature Story Census
Feature Story Soulsville USA
Feature Story OtherFoods Kitchen is located at 1249 Heistan Place and serves as a space for food-based startups to kickoff. (Ramona Springfield)
Feature Story Rufus Sykes cracks a smile as he holds the door open for a customer at the South Memphis Grocery on West Mallory Avenue. Sykes co-owns the corner store with other family members. (Malik Martin)

Corner Stores: A South Memphis love story


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