Miracle on Jefferson Street

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

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Miracle on Jefferson Street

  1. I love that the Free At Last boys are moving into the ‘hood!

  2. Weird neighborhoods are awesome. I used to live in one, and being a writer, it always gave me excellent material for stories.

    • I know what you mean! I think in alot of ways it isn’t so much that the neighborhood has become weird as that so much of the suburbs have become increasingly bland, especially as people began to retreat indoors from the mid-60s to watch their tvs/computers/etc. Life must have been much richer when the streets were alive. That’s not just a Nashville thing, of course.

  3. Larissa

    oh my god, I screamed out loud reading this! I don’t know why I am so tickled by these boys but it kills me every time you post about them!

  4. Why am I just now seeing this? I checked to see if you’f write about us again for weeks after we met, and I had lost hope, but look… You didn’t forget about us! Thank you so much for the wonderful words. We posted this to Facebook and Twitter, hopefully you’ll get some wonderful new followers!

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