Race, Sound, and Neighborhood Revitalization
Stax Records served as a neighborhood anchor institution throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, employing but also profiting from the wealth of talent in the South Memphis community. In the years after the assassination of Martin Luther King and then the decline and shuttering of Stax Records, South Memphis—or Soulsville, as it came to be known—underwent many of the changes that affected American inner-city neighborhoods in the wake of urban renewal, integration, deindustrialization, and globalization. Using oral histories, census records, and other sources, this essay shows how neighborhood change in the post-Stax era was shaped by the distinctive legacy of the company and its intertwined relationship with the community.
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