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Moonwalking With The Klondike Dance, Drum and Bugle Corps Back in 1970

Anyone who has ever been to a majorette jamboree knows that majorettes and drummers are a big part of Memphis culture. So I was really interested when I came across this July 4, 1970 article from the Commercial Appeal about the Klondike Dance, Drum and Bugle Corps, which for one thing proves that the roots of drumming and drilling in Memphis go back at least that far (legendary drummer Willie Hall claims back to 1969). Also of interest is the reference to the dancers doing the “moon walk”, so that dance is clearly older than Michael Jackson, and might have come from Memphis!

The exquisite women Social Club sponsored a block party and health fair yesterday at McFarland Community Center in Fox Meadows, Memphis.

More scenes from the Law and Order weekend, July 2, 2011

Johnny G’s Creole Kitchen is a new restaurant on Beale that opened this spring. I haven’t tried it yet, although my best friend Tune says it’s good. They certainly have a cool sign!

A Requiem for Cleaborn Homes

The Cleaborn Homes public housing development was built in Memphis in 1955. The Memphis Housing Authority began demolishing it in April this year. The powers that be are telling us that this is improvement, that those forced to leave will be better off, and that the new beautiful development for higher-income people that will be built will be better for Memphis.

But is there any real gain in tearing down people’s neighborhoods and communities? What good actually results? We are told the buildings are old, in which case they could have been rehabilitated or completely replaced, but with the original residents given first priority to be allowed back in when the new construction is completed. We are told the area is overcrowded, but the reconstruction could have been designed to lower density. We are told that the area has become a crime problem, without any regard for the impoverished living conditions that fuel crime. In fact, the mass displacement of these folks may trigger more crime, as their cost for housing, even with vouchers, will be far more significant.

In short, while redevelopment advocates have perhaps shown why the old buildings need to be torn down and replaced, they haven’t shown why the original residents must be uprooted and moved to other areas of the city. The reasons for THAT they’d rather not touch with a ten-foot pole. 

And so the memories of more than 50 years come crashing down at the behest of a heedless monster machine called greed and progress, banished to live only in the mind, faded photos and a couple of t-shirts. All “progress” isn’t forward.

At the Tate Avenue Block Party in South Memphis, June 4, 2011

At the Tate Avenue Block Party in South Memphis, June 4, 2011