In Response to CNN’s Supposed Black in America, I was inspired to write a Black In Memphis, Tennessee Post. I am very proud of my heritage in this city, but some of the things that one will encounter with being Black in Memphis,Tennessee are simply comical! I can be a very serious individual, but this post prayerfully just underlies why I have such a great love and respect for our people-(One Has to Be Able to Laugh at Experiences That One Holds Dear), and even in the Holy Writ it says that laughter doeth good like a medicine! Enjoy This One!
1. You were Black in Memphis if there were at least 1 person on your street with chickens, or a clothesline in the back yard! (How are you going to expose my underclothes to the whole neighborhood Grandma?)
2. You were Black in Memphis if you thought that your cousins, or your family was rich because they moved to Westwood, Raleigh, or Whitehaven back in the day!
3. You were Black in Memphis if you remember Michael Jackson, and the Jackson Five coming to the Southgate Shopping Center and having to stand on the roof for the crowd!
4. You were Black In Memphis if everybody on your street got new clothes for The Fourth of July!
5. You were Black in Memphis if you remember going to see the new Black Exploitation Film at The Malco Downtown, The Old Daisy, The New Daisy, The Bellevue Drive-In, or The Southwest Twin Drive In!
6. You were Black in Memphis if you stayed next door to someone that had their grandparents living with them, and you heard the names Madear, Big Momma, Big Daddy, or Poppa called daily.
7.You were Black in Memphis if you remember church never ending on Sundays, because after the welcome is over, and that welcome is accepted by the visiting church, and after the first offering, and the A&B Selection from Your Church’s Choir, and after your church’s choir gave up the choir stand to the visiting church’s choir for their A&B selections, and after the Gospel Message has gone forth, and after the invitation to Christ has been extended, and after one last offering is taken up you still had 2 more evening programs to go to and do the very same thing!
8. You were Black in Memphis if you ever heard that The Greasy Man, The Boogie Man, The Black Man, or Bloody Mary, or Crazy Juanita came out at night at your neighborhood Park!
9. You Were Black in Memphis if your teacher asked you your place of birth at school, and you said John Gaston!
10. You were Black in Memphis if you remember Officer Friendly coming to your school to talk about safety!
11.You were Black in Memphis if your remember your parents sewing those ridiculous glow in the dark patches on your articles of clothing so people can see you at night when they knew that you had to be in by the time the first street light came on!
12. You were Black in Memphis if you remember Sonny King, Rocky Johnson, and if Jerry Lawler, Jackie Fargo, Bill Dundee, Plowboy Frazier, and Lance Russell where your heroes!
13. You were Black in Memphis if you remember eating at The Harlem Houses, or having eaten at The Mahalia Jackson Restaurant!
14. You were Black in Memphis if you ever remembered riding the 4 Walker, or The 31 Crosstown.
15. You were Black in Memphis if you remembered shopping at Sears Crosstown, Southland Mall, or The Southgate Shopping Center and being snooty because of it!
16. You were Black in Memphis if you remember the Fireman’s Strike, The Blackouts, and the Curfew back in the day!
17. You were Black in Memphis if your parents graduated from BTW, Douglas, Melrose, and Manassas back in the day!
18. You were Black in Memphis if you remember shopping at Jones Big Star!
19. You were Black in Memphis if you remember The Hot Tamale Man, and you stopped regularly to spend money with him!
20. You were Black in Memphis if you thought that since you were straight that you couldn’t go in The Gay Hawk Restaurant!
21. You were Black in Memphis if you ever remember getting mad after arriving at a local restaurant and discovering that the Saints of The Church of God in Christ made it there before you did!
22. You were Black in Memphis if you remember your parents shopping downtown at Shainberg’s, Woolworth, Woolco, Goldsmith’s, Kent’s, and The Infamous Shainberg Basement!
23. You were Black in Memphis if you remember visiting any of these back in the day clubs, J Max, Mr. B’s, Club 2001, Club Paradise, Club No Name, Club Expo, Mitch’s, Club Rosewood, Club Unique, Club Illusion, Raiford’s (When It Was Really Rough), or The Hawaiian Isle!
24. You were Black in Memphis if you even remember Dave’s Skating Rink, or The Hippodrome Skating Rink!
25. You were Black in Memphis if you really thought That Boss Ugly Bob was as ugly as a gorilla sucking on a lemon!
26. You were Black In Memphis if you remember having to watch Hee Haw, The Lawrence Welk Show, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, The Carol Burnett Show, and (God Forbid) The Porter Waggoner Show because you had no other options!
27. You were Black in Memphis if you remember bragging that Isaac Hayes, The Barkays, Con Funk Shun, Anita Ward, and Clair Ford were all from Memphis!
28. You were Black in Memphis if you remember Isaac Hayes’ Cadillac being parked in front of Stax Recording Studios on McLemore back in the day!
30. You were Black in Memphis if you were ever threatened with, or heard someone complain about Judge Turner at Juvenile Court!
31. You were Black in Memphis if you remember The Still and Bill Show!
32. You were Black in Memphis if you ever saw Rufus Thomas out in the public and you nudged your relatives to let them know there’s Rufus Thomas! Was he our greatest star back in the day?
33. You were Black in Memphis if you ever tried to do any of the ridiculous dances The Gangster Walk, The Funky Chicken, or The Buck!
34. You were Black in Memphis if you remember as a Memphis Sports Fan any of the following: John Gunn, Dexter Reed, Alvin Wright, James Bradley, Masterblaster, Blue Shoes Bates, Ron Huery, Doom Haynes, Steve Mitchell, Curtis Green, Don Rubin, Ben Henrix, Glyniss Turner, Peeky Hollowell, Dr. Bubba, The Hawking Fudge, The Twins Lloyd and Floyd, or Tree Washington!
35. You were Black in Memphis if driving through Vodoo Village was big entertainment for your family!
36. You were Black in Memphis if you were bold enough to tell tourists from around the world that are here for the Elvis Festivities the following, “Man I’ve lived here for 40+ years and I’ve never been to Graceland!” (Oops I had Better Stop Telling on Myself on This One)
37. You were Black in Memphis if you heard the following words or phrases used on the regular: Even Not, Screet, Eeerbody, Scrawberry, Scrimps, Finto,Bousto, Y’all, Cunstandly-(Not Constantly), Mane-(Not Man), Flat Foot-(Never Understand This One: Such as Man That Man Flat Foot Shot Them Out: Note Why Did He Have To Be Flat Footed While Doing So?), and the memorable Memphis City School’s Lunchroom Question, “Do You Want Your Baghetti?”
38. You were Black in Memphis if you ever remembered just how great those school day butter cookies were! How did they make those things so good?
39. You were Black in Memphis if you ever remembered being ashamed to use those loud yellow free lunch cards that was designed for the kids in the free lunch program! Could they have made this any more humiliating?
40. You were Black In Memphis if you remember those horrible black and white photos that you parents forced you to take at The Mid South Fair!
41. You were Black in Memphis if you remember that the old student bus cards back in the day would let a brother, or a sister ride all day long for less than a dollar!
42. You were Black in Memphis if you heard a brother that was proud to be called a mack in the hood say one of the following prhases, Say Say Can I Holla At You, Pssst, Pssst Miss Lady/Miss Lady You Got a Minute, Red Bone, Red Bone, or Red Red! Man those days had to be humiliating for the sisters!
43. You were Black in Memphis if you remember how rightly seasoned the food was in The Four Way Grill was, yet the unfortunate thing was that the rightly seasoned food didn’t come in a rightly portion. Why was I still hungry when I left back in the day?
44. You were Black in Memphis if your church picnic was at Fuller Park, Martin Luther King Park, Maywood, Edmund Orgill Park, or hopefully not Bellevue Park, or Glenview Park!
45. You were Black in Memphis if you took part in The Memphis Park Commission’s Summertime Free Lunch Program, and you ran at least one time when someone yelled, “Lunch Truck!”
46. You were Black in Memphis if you mother ever sent you to a Memphis City School with grease on your face because the family didn’t have any lotion!
47. You were Black in Memphis if you remember your school took 2 hours out of your school day to show Brian’s Song! I can see Billy Dee crying over the death of Brian Piccalo now!
48. You were Black in Memphis if you remember all of the hood names for our neighborhood’s such as The Garden for Lemoyne-Owen Gardens, Binghamp or The Hamp for The Binghampton Community, Werewood Where if It’s Not From the Wood It Must Not be No Good for The Westwood Community, Scutta for The Scutterfield Community, or The Mound for the Orange Mound Community. I will not even go into some of the names of the neighborhoods in The Third Street Corridor!
49. You were Black in Memphis if you ever danced to o Sonny D, Ray the J, or a Spanish Fly Mix Tape! You were also Black in Memphis if you ever encountered anyone wearing more than one beeper at a time! I once saw a guy with 5 beepers on was business just that good?
50. You were certainly Black in Memphis if you ever responded to the ridiculous almost advocating drug dealing Getting Away With the Medicine Rap Song with the name of your neighborhood such as
Lemoyne Gardens Getting Away With the Medicine
Orange Mound Getting Away With the Medicine
Hyde Park Getting Away With the Medicine
New Chicago Getting Away With the Medicine
Indian Hills Getting Away With the Medicine
Westwood Getting Away With the Medicine
Boxtown Getting Away With the Medicine
Bethel Grove Getting Away With the Medicine
Bunker Hill Getting Away With the Medicine
Klondike Getting Away With the Medicine
Dixie Homes Getting Away With the Medicine
Castalia Getting Away With the Medicine
The Foot Homes Getting Away With the Medicine
The Clayborn Homes Getting Away With the Medicine
I’m sorry that last one almost took me B. C.-Namely Before Christ!