memphis tn

MISSING PERSON FROM OUTSIDE OF MEMPHIS, TN!!!!!

This is my younger cousin Jessica McCarthy, who has gone missing after arguing with her mother January 12. As far as we know, she has run away, but every attempt to contact her has come back with no results. She is a sixteen year old who has gone missing in a not-so-nice part of Germantown, and my entire family is desperate for some kind of help. At this point, the fears that she may have been hurt or taken is starting to get worse as time goes on.

Jessica is a sweet and artistic girl who has gotten into a bad crowd multiple times and has had thoughts of suicide in the past. We are terrified for her, but the police can do minimum with the amount of proof. Right now she is categorized as an endangered teen, but none of us know whether or not she’s staying away by choice at this point.

Please, I know about the fears of predators using this kind of thing to find someone in danger, but this beautiful girl is like a little sister to me. I can hardly sleep or eat right now I’m so scared, and no one seems to know where she is.

Please, I’m begging you. If you need a picture of me with her so you know I’m not some creep trying to find them, I’ve got plenty from over the years.

UPDATE: Jessica is home safe now, thank you to everyone who helped

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His son was only five years old when Smith died. Todd Fox, Elmwood superintendent, hung a swing from a holly tree near his grave to make cemetery visits easier for the child. When the eighty-nine year old holly tree died and had to be replaced, the process of replacing old and decaying trees in the cemetery was named the Jeffrey Smith Reforestation Project. Friends did not forget young Jeffrey. In 2000 they erected another swing so that the boy could continue his visits to his father’s grave.  

(Source: findagrave.com)

Elmwood Cemetery
Memphis, TN
3.26.16

all photos are my own

A Voice for the Voiceless: The Legacy of Ida B. Wells

Photo: Ida B. Wells Barnett, in a photograph by Mary Garrity from c. 1893.

Ida Bell Wells was born into slavery in 1862 and emancipated by the Union Army six months later. She leaves behind a legacy as a voice for the voiceless, as one of our nation’s foremost critics of a racial injustice and a journalistic champion of the truth.  

Her family was very active during the Reconstruction period and members of the Republican Party. Her father, James Wells helped to found Shaw University in North Carolina. After a tragic illness, Wells lost her parents and moved to Memphis, TN. She began her career in activism early as a student at Fisk University.

 In 1884, after refusing to give up her seat on a train to a white patron, she was forcibly removed and later sued the railroad. She initially won a $500 settlement, but the ruling was overturned by the Tennessee Supreme Court. 

This was her “aha” moment where she began her one woman crusade for injustice. Wells turned to writing and began chronicling issues of race and politics in the Deep South. Under the name “lola,” Wells became a leading voice on issues of racial injustice and eventually owned three newspapers including;  Memphis Free Speech, Headlight and the Free Speech.

In addition to her civil rights work, Wells also worked as a teacher in a segregated school. Her work there led her to attack the system of segregation and her vocal displeasure eventually got her fired. 

However, it was the deaths of Tom Moss, Calvin McDowell and Will Stewart—three African American business owners in Memphis—that ignited her charge to take on lynching. Moss, McDowell and Stewart were killed after they opened a grocery store that directly competed with a white-owned store and drove business away. 

“Our country’s national crime is lynching. It is not the creature of an hour, the sudden outburst of uncontrolled fury, or the unspeakable brutality of an insane mob.” —Ida B. Wells

Photo: Ida B. Wells (author), Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases, book cover, 1892.

In response, Wells traveled the South gathering records of lynchings and wrote  “Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in All its Phases” in 1892. Her reports outraged southern whites and she was never able to return to Memphis. The next year she published “A Red Record,” a personal reflection on the lynching crisis and spoke around the world about the atrocities going on in the United States. 

Segregation remained a cause close to her heart and Wells authored a response to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition decision to ban black exhibitors. 

She wrote: 

“The exhibit of the progress made by a race in 25 years of freedom as against 250 years of slavery, would have been the greatest tribute to the greatness and progressiveness of American institutions which could have been shown the world. The colored people of this great Republic number eight millions – more than one-tenth the whole population of the United States.” Ida B. Wells,  “The Reason Why the Colored American Is Represented in the World’s Columbian Exposition.”

In 1898 she took her anti-lynching campaign all the way to the White House, urging President William McKinley to act to save black lives. Although several bills would be introduced, the United States has never explicitly outlawed lynching. 

Photo: This is a flyer created by the NAACP in 1922 to raise awareness about the lynching epidemic that was occurring and the proposed Dyer anti-lynching bill.