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Beauty Emerges From Struggle In Memphis
Beauty Emerges From Struggle In Memphis

Beauty Emerges From Struggle In Memphis

The designation of Memphis as “Grind City” seems fairly well-entrenched at this point. The city’s modern image as a decidedly working-class place synonymous with struggle is well-known, and one that has been embraced by the local NBA franchise, as well as businesses like Grind City Brewing. But some of the best art flourishes in adversity, and Memphis streets this summer are bright with colorful murals and artwork. Neighborhoods like South Memphis, Orange Mound and North Memphis have all seen new works of art that commemorate African-American history in the city, celebrate historic neighborhoods, or call attention to injustices, such as the police killing of Tyre Nichols. Some of these are organized efforts encouraged by the city, while others are spontaneous, but all of them have brought cheerful color to areas that just a few years ago seemed bleak and drab.

At the same time, old buildings that were not that long ago abandoned and thought beyond recovery have been restored and repurposed. The Tennessee Brewery, build in 1890 was thought doomed after nearly fifty years of abandonment; its unexpected restoration into condominiums has spawned a renaissance in the stretch of Tennessee Street along the edge of the river bluff. Reminisces of the brewing company which produced Memphis’ own Goldcrest 51 beer for so many years are everywhere in the area.

While Memphis as a community still faces many problems and difficulties, there is evidence of a cultural renaissance which needs nurturing and encouraging. A coherent plan to retain talented Memphians in the city and prevent relocation has always been lacking here, and is something that the next city administration must address directly, if what seems to be starting is to be sustained and grown.

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