In the decades following Our Recent Unpleasantness, Jefferson Street in North Nashville was established as the heart of our African American community, and by the 1940s it was a great place to be, as the historical marker here tells us. This all ended in the 1960s though, because desegregation meant that the city, thankfully, had no more need for separate shops and movie theatres. More than a hundred local businesses shut down along the street, and what was left were basically the places that specifically serve African American consumers: hair and nail salons, barber shops, soul food, barbecue, hot chicken, religion, and Fisk University.
In spite of the efforts of our local neighborhood business association, it has been hard to bring prosperity back to the area. But Jefferson Street nonetheless has a character and personality that has vanished from most other more homogenous parts of town. Junior and I live in a gentrified neighborhood off the east end of Jefferson Street, and we love it here.
So, can you guess who’s moving in?
That’s right! It’s my new pals, Greg Sanford and Mario Hambrick from Free At Last Bail Bonding. The boys have begun to acquire property on the Street as part of their rapidly expanding business empire. They presented their plans to the community the other night and Greg invited us to come along, so I brought Junior and Miss Pearl.
I can’t tell you how glad I am that the revitalization of Jefferson Street is going to be in their hands, instead of Burger King or McDonald’s, because I know that Greg and Mario are going to help keep us really weird. So welcome to the neighborhood, guys! I’ll bring brownies to the ribbon cutting ceremony.
© Copyright 2011, Southern Dysfunction