Memphis is 65% black and 24% white. It is, according to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, writing in June, the largest black majority black city in America:
With the current population count sitting at 621,056, Memphis’ census population estimates for 2022 show that the Bluff City could be overtaking Detroit as the nation’s largest predominately-Black city, by a razor-thin margin of 680 people.
Detroit has held the title as the largest majority-Black city in the U.S. for roughly 40 years, with Memphis trailing at various rankings over the years.
The title of “largest” relates to both demographic percentages and population size. Often referred to as the “Blackest city in America,” Jackson, Mississippi is 80% Black, but significantly smaller in population than Memphis, which is 63% Black.
The Rev. Andre Johnson is a professor in the Department of Communications and Film at the University of Memphis.
But when he talks about the potential Memphis holds as a majority-Black city, the transition from Professor Johnson to Rev. Johnson is swift.
Embracing Memphis’ Blackness, Johnson said, could be a significant turning point for the future of Memphis and the leaders charged with ushering in that future. And that’s not to say it’s only Black residents who should have their needs prioritized.
“If there was such a thing as the “Black agenda,” he said, “the Black agenda would be to rise to help all people. Blackness in and of itself has always been inclusive.”
Memphis could, in Johnson’s mind, be an urban oasis, a refuge for increasingly criminalized demographics that have been targeted through state legislation.
“For this moment, we will be the urban oasis, we will be the oasis in the state of Tennessee, where you can come and be who you are, and love who you want to love. And we’re just going to just have a good time,” Johnson said. “Blackness is always associated with crime, but what if we associated Blackness with all the good in this city?”
Memphis may be the largest majority-Black city in the U.S., so where do we go from here? https://t.co/U3FFrCy7g4— Commercial Appeal (@memphisnews) June 2, 2023
So what does life look like in America’s blackest big city, where a prominent black theologian pushes for the city to embrace both blackness and the black agenda? One where black leaders and the black police chief don’t believe the U.S. National Guard could even restore order.
A call for action: State leaders, local authorities mull decision to bring National Guard to Memphis, by Joel Griffin Moore, ActionNews5.com, November 16, 2023]
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – A city under siege, that’s how one elected official is describing the city of Memphis.
State Senator Brent Taylor says his constituents are calling for the National Guard to come to Memphis following a spike in violent crime.
Taylor sent a letter to Governor Bill Lee Wednesday asking for state resources to help.
From Thieves ransacking multiple stores to the untimely murder of a St. Jude Employee in downtown Memphis, Taylor says the dramatic uptick in crime in Memphis this past weekend motivated him to send a letter to the governor.
Taylor said his constituents are paralyzed by fear and his constituents are calling for the National Guard to help restore order.
Former Memphis School board member and Pastor Kenneth Whalum has been an early advocate for the National Guard coming to the Bluff City.
“We’re already in a police state except that it’s the criminals policing the streets. We are in a state of emergency. I’ve been saying it for a long, long time,” said Whalum.
Whalum says he remembers when the National Guard patrolled the streets following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and thinks citizens seeing additional support would help ease some people’s fears.
Preliminary TBI data shows a 42% increase in murders in Memphis, Whalum says we are long overdue for asking for help.
“It might be too late. It might be too late and so I think it’s too [late to try and] mitigate the negative effects,” said Whalum.
Democratic Tennessee Senate Minority leader Raumesh Akbari says she doesn’t think bringing in the National Guard is the solution.
She says there should be a focus on crime prevention and gun legislation.
“We have not addressed gun laws in our state, but we have tried incarcerating people longer, we’ve tried to get more police on the street, but have we actually passed legislation to actually make sure guns are in the wrong folks’ hands? No,” said Akbari.
Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis echoed Akbari’s concerns, adding repeat offenders are the real problem.
“I don’t care if we had the entire United States Army in the City of Memphis if we continue to have the same individuals committing crimes, arresting our way out of this is not possible,” said Davis.
Taylor said in the letter that the National Guard is probably not the best suggestion since the guard is best used for natural disasters and other emergencies—not arresting criminals.
However, Taylor is requesting unannounced, periodic Tennessee Highway Patrol surges on Memphis Highways.
He is also requesting the creation of a “monitoring team” to disclose to the public the number of crimes committed, arrests, prosecutions, and convictions.
We reached out to Governor Bill Lee’s Office for comment but have not heard back.
“I don’t care if we had the entire United States Army in the City of Memphis if we continue to have the same individuals committing crimes, arresting our way out of this is not possible.”
Why not just invite all white residents of Memphis to leave, and allow all black residents of Tennessee to move to Memphis and truly embrace blackness as the primary driver of the city’s present and future? After all, there’s even a gigantic pyramid near the Mississippi River there where the Once and Future We Wuz Kangs can channel the ancient power that once propelled Nubian Egypt to incredible civilization heights and bring about ebony prosperity to Memphis where it currently doesn’t exist!
Repeat: If you are white, get the heck out of Memphis.