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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chattanooga's The Big Nine

Much like Center Street in Des Moines, Beale Street in Memphis, and Vine Street in Kansas City, Chattanooga's Ninth Street was the African American business and entertainment district of the city. The Chattanooga Pulse has an excellent article about the history of the Big Nine, and the progress going on around the district. Unfortunately, progress has away of destroying past gems of our history, and the reality is that very few African American business districts remain in the US. On one level that is good news, that we no longer have the segregation that existed in the past the created the need for a black business district. Yet, on the other hand, it is sad to see something that created so much great art, and music go away. I suppose that Beale Street is one answer, and yet, it is just a facade of what really existed in Memphis. Also the Vine district in KC is just a shell of what it was in the glory days. While the Jazz and the Negro league museums are wonderful additions, most of the great clubs and old buildings are long gone. However, at least KC and Memphis have something of their past. Des Moines has nothing left of Center Street. Lets hope that Chattanooga takes a good long look at the Big Nine and does what is best for both culture and commence.

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