25 imagesThe story of Hyde Park is the story of a multitude of inner-city neighborhoods hollowed out as Memphis’ population moved outward, into the city’s outer reaches, to the suburbs and beyond, fleeing crime and higher taxes, pursuing jobs and higher-performing schools.
15 imagesCypress Gardens is a Section 8 apartment complex in North Memphis, Tennessee. The complex, located at 1205 Springdale St. in the Hyde Park neighborhood, receives federal subsidies every year, including $160,954 last year from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Despite all that funding, tenants are living in poor conditions, and many of the women and children have respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis, which are caused or worsen by mold. Many residents also complain that the management company charges them for repair work.
27 imagesThe Death of Darrius Stewart by Yalonda M. James The Commercial Appeal “I can’t breathe” were a few of Darrius Stewart’s last words during a fatal encounter with Memphis police officer Connor Schilling on July 17 on church grounds. I. Can’t. Breathe. A year earlier to the day, Eric Garner uttered those exact words through a chokehold while being arrested by officers from the New York Police Department. Their deaths have added fuel to a new civil rights movement called Black Lives Matter. “Too often young black lives are being sacrificed by the police of this nation,” Tami Sawyer, a Memphis activist, said at Stewart’s funeral in August. “People want you to say ‘All Lives Matter’ and erase the fact that we are ignored in this country. ... If we can’t say ‘Black Lives Matter,’ who can?” Sawyer asked. As of Dec. 17, 944 people have been shot and killed by police, according to The Washington Post. Nineteen of those people were from Tennessee. Nationally, 32 of them were unarmed and black, including Stewart, who was shot by Schilling as they fought after a traffic stop. “We can’t have this unchecked genocide continue without the protections of law,” said Keith Norman, pastor at First Baptist-Broad and president of the NAACP Memphis Branch. “I have two young African-American sons and daughters, two sons and two daughters, and I don’t want this to occur in my own family, but when it occurs in any family it occurs in my family.” Since the recent shooting deaths across the country of Stewart, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Laquon McDonald, Samuel DuBose, and many others — tensions are high in the black community. In the aftermath of Stewart’s fatal shooting, Stewart’s family and friends, activists associated with the Black Lives Matter movement and local pastors have held numerous protests and vigils calling for justice and expressing dissatisfaction with local authority. “People are hurting out here,” Rev. Earle Fisher said during a vigil a week after Stewart’s death. “He didn’t have to die. ... Don’t let next week come around and you forgot who Darrius Stewart is. Don’t let next month come around and you forgot who Darrius Stewart is.”