My friend Dmitry and I decided today to go out and take some photographs of Memphis. I don't think we necessarily intended to go photograph a bunch of apocalyptic blight, but that's how it turned out. We spent about 2 hours in Hickory Hill, in southeast Memphis.
Hickory Hill has about 65,000 residents and was once its own independent city. In the late 90's it got incorporated into Memphis, and as history has shown over and over in this city, that caused a great deal of white flight, and the neighborhoods, and subsequently the city, went downhill. Its demographics now echo, pretty closely, the rest of Memphis, with the African American population there about 60%. Supposedly it also has the highest Hispanic population of any neighborhood in the city.
Never having been there, it felt pretty solidly middle class and suburban to me. Most of the streets we drove down reminded me of the ranch-style, 1980's-era homes of the neighborhoods in my hometown. Most striking, though, were enormous apartment complexes that had been lost to fire or simple abandonment, often sitting there rotting in the middle of otherwise perfectly benign suburban streets. I've attached some pictures here. Many more can be found at my Flickr site in my Memphis set which I hope to be adding to on a pretty regular basis. With nice stuff too, not just ugly blight.
Habitat For Humanity is building a huge subdivision next door to this acres-wide eyesore.
You see a lot of these on abandoned buildings in Memphis.