Farish Street | 19 Images
Farish Street, built by freed slaves, was once a center for African-American business and culture. It was also a center of civil rights activity of the 1960s. From the early years of the 20th century, Farish Street was a ‘Mecca’, where the Blacks of Jackson could buy clothes, get their hair cut, see doctors, be entertained, have their photographs taken, be buried. Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong performed at the Crystal Palace. You could see and hear Nat King Cole and Cab Calloway at the Alamo Theater. Blues was played on the street by such famous muscians as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and Sonny Boy Williams. Trumpet Records, also located along Farish Street, recorded much of this music. Older residents who grew up on Farish Street remember it as having a carnival atmosphere. “You could get everything you wanted, right there on Farish Street.” “It was jumpin’.” “Money was flowin’ like rain fallin’.” “It was good time!” But with integration, people sought greater opportunities outside of Farish Street. They could move into downtown Jackson and out into the suburbs. “The good ol’ days done left and the bad ol’ days done come in.” “Changin’ times, you know like the horse an’ wagon.” “Kids were grown and they started movin’ out to the suburbs, you know.” And the elderly people who live here just died. There’s no life comin’ into the area.” Crime increased in the 80’s and people tried to move away from it. “When I was a little girl you didn’t even have to lock your front door. We just left the key in the mailbox. When you wanted to get in you just took the key out of the mailbox, opened the door, and put the key back into the mailbox.” “A lot of the property reverted to rental property, and, you know, of course…” “The drug dealers and the crime drove people away.” “The empty houses were looted and left to deteriorate, and the hurricanes, Camille and Katrina with their 100 mile an hour winds just caused more damage.” I first visited Farish Street two years ago. As I walked about the neighborhood I wondered how it came to the condition it was in, especially with its rich history. Many people who grew up on Farish Street chose to stay, some to keep businesses going and others just to live there. As I talked with people I became aware of their commitment to the place. I decided to try to communicate this strength photographically. And do you think there’s any way for Farish Street to come back? “Oh, yeh, where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
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Peaches Cafe
Peaches Cafe
Peaches Cafe
Peaches Cafe
Peaches Cafe
Peaches Cafe
Peaches Cafe - Waitress
Peaches Cafe - Waitress
Peaches Cafe
Peaches Cafe
Fish House
Fish House
Fish House - cook
Fish House - cook
Fish House - patrons
Fish House - patrons
Man in wheelchair
Man in wheelchair
Living in the second story of the house
Living in the second story of the house
She came to the shoe maker
She came to the shoe maker
Grandmother and twin grandchildren
Grandmother and twin grandchildren
The grandmother one year later
The grandmother one year later
Barber Shop
Barber Shop
Barber Shop
Barber Shop
Barber Shop
Barber Shop
Barber Shop
Barber Shop
Sitting on the porch of abandoned house
Sitting on the porch of abandoned house
Abandoned house
Abandoned house