These are a few of the things that are associated with my southern identity. It was very important for me to capture things that I could closely relate to; so, this is how I captured my South.
My Favorite Snack
Sweet Potatoe Pies
The neighborhood store
I woke up the other morning puzzled as to how I was going to get my day started; what would actually set the tone for the rest of my week. As I was getting ready I hear this debate on the news pertaining to Pre-K and the possibility of having to raise taxes to fund this program. Shortly after that I hear my grandmother discussing early voting on this particular matter…suddenly I had an idea. My morning would consist of meeting my peers, classmates, neighbors, etc . at the polls to cast our ballot. After getting ready and listening more as student council and student board members debated over the pros and cons; I was so anxious to get there. Of course, I’ve voted but it was always late and or due to my mother or grandmother harassing me about it. I was being an adult and taking the initiative to voice my opinion by casting a vote. Surprisingly, I get to the voting location and I’m surrounded by nothing but elderly people. One of the ladies working made a comment of how proud she was that a person my age would even consider coming to vote and alone at that. That comment led me to believe that no one near my age had yet been there and that was appalling to me. In my attempt to get discouraged, I started to appreciate all the elderly people that I saw leaving and coming. I wasn’t second guessing voting, it was the fact that I have peers that could be directly impacted by this and they had no intentions or interest in voting. The young ladies that are becoming future educators like myself and those friends that are currently having financial hardships should have been the first in line. The result of this program being passed is a raise in sales taxes…none of us could really afford that. I guess the younger generation has not yet learned to appreciate the past in which African Americans had no right to vote especially in the South. There were people on walking canes, in wheel chairs, and in a physical condition in which they could have easily chosen to stay at home. Maybe their motivation was them remembering the place in which they or their parents lived where blacks were excluded and now they’re taking advantage of all opportunities today. A scripture came to me as I continued to look around the room, “never grow weary in well doing” and at this point I was patting myself on the back. So often I’ve found that daring to be different is frightening to people, especially the blacks. The fact that we live in a “monkey see monkey do” time doesn’t make being pro-active in things such as voting any easier. The majority of the elderly people that I saw voting that day were blacks and even though African Americans have overcome oppression, the things that were once void in their lives in very much appreciated today. I’m one out of a million young African Americans, but I know that I stand alone. My decision to vote in elections, community wide issues, ect. is not only for myself but for my ancestors that didn’t have the opportunity to or whom’s voice was not allowed to be heard. We need to jump on the bandwagon..its a new day yall!
Most would recommend Beale Street if one was looking to have a good time on a Saturday night. I can remember rushing my twenty-first birthday to come so I could get on Beale. It was the talk of the town and seemed like the best thing going besides a club atmosphere. Twenty-one came and Beale Street became my Saturday night ritual. I knew that my Saturday night would consist of laughter, drinking, dancing, fighting, police, strippers…you saw it all on Beale Street. The older Ii got the less attractive Beale on Saturday night was for me. In class we discussed Beale at its many phases since it has existed and I was surprised to learn some of those facts. For as long as I can remember Beale Street has been a tourist attraction by day and the “turn up” spot by night. We analyzed Beale at different points in time such as early twentieth century, mid-century, and post-king assassination which showed that as time progressed the idea of Beale Street became less favorable. I never would’ve though that Beale Street was nothing more than an open public “juke joint” and to learn about its growth from being looked upon as being the “Harlem of the South” to being demolished and born again was astonishing. The state in which Beale Street became after the assassination of Dr. King is more of the Beale that Street that I can relate to. Over the years, so many things have happened on Beale Street whether it happened in a club, in the alley ways located on Beale, or trouble that has occurred while on Beale and it followed the individuals home. Due to the increase of crime, curfews and strict stipulations regarding behavior and age have been put into place by city council officers and law enforcement. These efforts were to try and prevent crime and I also think in many ways to keep down on the public embarrassment. As we discussed in class, Beale Street really took a turn in the late ninety’s and early twenty-first century. Beale lost its prestigious value and for many it has become a eyesore for some of the residents that live here in the city. Memphis city leaders made decisions in prior years to demolish certain aspects of Beale Street but later reconsidered their actions and put efforts in to place to try and rebuild Beale Street to resemble the “old Beale Street”. The city could put up lavish blues clubs and some of the finest dinning places but had Beale Street lost its prestige? I don’t believe there is anyone that would share the same opinions about Beale Street and what it has or has not taken away from the city of Memphis. The one thing that is agreed upon is the historical impact Beale Street has had on this city. Even today, people travel from all around the world to visit Beale Street and many other historical monuments that Memphis has. Beale Street is the heart of our city and for that reason it will forever thrive and always receive efforts from council leaders and willing residents to make it better and better.