Our Neighbors Our Stories Series explores the art, life, history and culture of Memphis neighborhoods and the shared story experiences of families and residents who shape them.
Some of the neighborhoods highlighted in this series include Raleigh, Frayser, Soulsville, South City, Whitehaven, Alcy Ball, Uptown, Klondike, Smokey City, Orange Mound, Hyde Park, Springdale, Douglas, Binghampton, and more.
Over the years, a number of these neighborhoods have faced realities of declining interest due to urban decay, environmental degradation, property abandonment, mobility concerns, access to middle class jobs and crime. Many social scientists credit resident migration, an aging infrastructure, declining homeownership, nearby pollution, school closures, and poor access to quality of life resources like food and financial/banking support for the decreased interest in these areas.
Our goal was to engage 300 families and residents over a two-year period to better understand their desires for how to best improve the future of their communities. We also wanted to understand what once made their community an area of pride and beacon of culture for their neighborhoods and the generation of families that still refer to these communities as home.
The result of our engagement efforts was the outpouring of 350 stories that resembled gardens of resilience, innovation, a resuscitation of ideas and approaches to reinvigorating their spaces.
”Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”