‘We are about preserving Farish Street’: A photo essay

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The Farish Street Historic District was once the heart and soul of black Mississippi’s civic cultural life. Today, when people talk about the district, located in downtown Jackson, the conversation predictably focuses on abandoned storefronts and crime. Despite the high-profile paralysis of efforts to convert the Farish Street business district into Jackson’s entertainment district, Farish remains home to a dynamic neighborhood full of dedicated people fighting to retain its sense of history and place, fighting to hold it together as a community. Meet a few of them.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

A Farish Street Historic District sign is seen on North Mill Street in Jackson Friday, June 29, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Tony “Dr. Shoemaker” Brothers works on a customer’s shoes at his family’s business, Dennis Brothers Shoe Repair Service, in the 300 block of Farish Street in Jackson Wednesday, June 27, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Tony “Dr. Shoemaker” Brothers is photographed outside of his family’s business, Dennis Brothers Shoe Repair Service, in the 300 block of Farish Street in Jackson Wednesday, June 27, 2018. “New Orleans’ Bourbon Street couldn’t compare to Farish Street back in the days, “ said Brothers.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

The inside of Dennis Brothers Shoe Repair Service is photographed in the 300 block of Farish Street in Jackson Wednesday, June 27, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Tony “Dr. Shoemaker” Brothers looks at Farish Street while at his family’s business, Dennis Brothers Shoe Repair Service in the 300 block of Farish Street in Jackson Wednesday, June 27, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

A pedestrian walks in the 300 block of North Farish Street in Jackson Friday, June 29, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

A man rides his bicycle in the 300 block of Farish Street in Jackson Wednesday, June 27, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Damaged infrastructure is photographed in the 400 block of North Mill Street in Jackson Friday, June 29, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Art is seen at Monument Park in Jackson’s Farish Street Historic District Friday, June 29, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Mary Hardege hugs her son, J.D. Benfield, at their home on Leonard Street in Jackson’s Farish Street Historic District Thursday, July 5, 2018. The family has lived on the historic district for nearly 20 years.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Ma’ati Jone Primm, owner of Marshall’s Music and Bookstore, center, gives Malcolm Thompson, left, and his grandson Jonterrence Hanna, 13, purchased products from her store in the 600 block of North Farish Street in Jackon Friday June 29, 2018. The bookstore has been located on Farish Street for over 50 years.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Books, music and other products are for sale at Marshall’s Music and Bookstore in the 600 block of North Farish Street in Jackson, is seen Friday June 29, 2018.Friday June 29, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Ma’ati Jone Primm, owner of Marshall’s Music and Bookstore, is photographed in the 600 block of Farish Street Tuesday, July 3, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Graffiti in the 300 block of Farish Street in Jackson on Wednesday, June 27, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

David Bradley, a resident of the Farish street Historic District, washes a car outside of Marshall’s Music and Bookstore in the 600 block of North Farish Street in Jackson Friday June 29, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Sal Philip, left, and Kirby Johnson prepares food for customers inside Big Apple Inn in the 500 block of Farish Street in Jackson Friday, June 29, 2018. The restaurant has been in existence for nearly 80 years.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Customers dine at the well-known Big Apple Inn in the 500 block of Farish Street in Jackson Friday, June 29, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Customers wait for food inside of the Big Apple Inn in the 500 block of Farish Street in Jackson Friday, June 29, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Sal Philip cooks at Big Apple Inn in the 500 block of Farish Street in Jackson Friday, June 29, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

F. Jones Corner is photographed in the 300 block of Farish Street in Jackson Friday, June 29, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Patrons mingle at F. Jones Corner on North Farish Street in Jackson’s Farish Street Historic District Thursday, July 5, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

A bartender pours a drink for a customer at F. Jones Corner on North Farish Street in Jackson’s Farish Street Historic District Thursday, July 5, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

A bartender speaks with a customer at F. Jones Corner on North Farish Street in Jackson’s Farish Street Historic District Thursday, July 5, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

The band Dexter Allen performs at F. Jones Corner on North Farish Street in Jackson’s Farish Street Historic District Thursday, July 5, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Johnny T’s Bistro and Blues is photographed in the 500 block of North Farish Street in Jackson Friday, July 6, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Laughter is shared at Johnny T’s Bistro on North Farish Street in Jackson Friday, July 6, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Patrons enjoy the night life at Johnny T’s Bistro on North Farish Street in Jackson Friday, July 6, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Patrons enjoy the night life at Johnny T’s Bistro on North Farish Street in Jackson Friday, July 6, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

People enjoy the night life at Johnny T’s Bistro on North Farish Street in Jackson Friday, July 6, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Douglas Smith sits in the 500 block of Farish Street in Jackson Friday, June 29, 2018. Smith grew up in the Farish Street Historic District.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

A man sleeps in the 300 block of Farish Street in Jackson Wednesday, June 27, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Marilyn Martin points to a vacant home that is located next door to her home on Davis Street in the Farish Street Historic District Tuesday, July 3, 2018. “It is a shame that no one has done anything about this property,” said Martin.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Townhomes in the Farish Street Historic District are photographed Friday June 29, 2018. The homes are rented to low income residents. The homes benefit from a Mississippi Home Corporation tax credit.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Lee Eric Evans, 26, shows his entry and exit gunshot wounds while at his aunt’s home on Davis Street in the Farish Street Historic District Tuesday, July 3, 2018. Evans has been shot on three different occasions near the historic district. On Saturday, July 7, Evans was shot multiple times and found laying on Central Street which is about two miles from the Farish Street Historic District. He died later at the scene.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Neighborhood kids Shannon Sturgis, 11, and Jamichael Burgess, 8, on Leonard Street in Jackson’s Farish Street Historic District Thursday, July 5, 2018.

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Marilyn Martin, left, sits on her porch as her nephew, Lee Eric Evans, hangs a U.S. flag outside of Maritn’s home on Davis Street in the Farish Street Historic District Tuesday, July 3, 2018.