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7 Little Known Facts About the First African-American Built Neighborhood in the United States


The Creation of Orange Mound 

In 1890, white developer E. E. Meacham purchased land from the Deaderick family, plantation owners in Memphis Tennessee.  He sold lots to African-Americans for less than $100. The subdivision was named Orange Mound and became the first all Black community in the U.S., specifically built for Black people. According to Laura Nickas for Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, “The new neighborhood bordered the Mid-South Fairgrounds to the southeast while a stronghold of the KKK bordered the fairgrounds just to the west.”



One of the Largest Concentration of Blacks outside of Harlem

The neighborhood was named after the Osage Orange hedges that had lined the former Deaderick Plantation. Almost all Blacks owned their homes. In the 1970s, Orange Mound was billed as “the largest concentration of blacks in the United States except for Harlem in New York City.” The neighborhood provided a refuge for Blacks moving to the city for the first time from rural areas. Although the streets of the early Orange Mound were unpaved, it was a vibrant community in which a mix of residences, businesses, churches, and cultural centers flourished.

What people are saying

8 thoughts on “7 Little Known Facts About the First African-American Built Neighborhood in the United States

  1. I never heard of Black Wall Street so I never heard of this story either. See how much we know about our own people. They don't teach the right black history.

  2. Wow Harlem Black Wallstreet and Orange Mound with it's Carnes Ave love hearing about communities like those I wonder why we can't rebuild those in these days and times

  3. This article is great, particularly since I have relocated to the Memphis area; however, I think it is misleading because many Black towns predate Orange Mound. A subdivision in DC, Barry Farm,was established 1867. Oklahoma has a host of Black towns. I would like to know the criteria used to rate it as the 1st.

    A partial listing of Black towns appears here:

  4. Please look up Greenwood, OK, a subdivision of Tulsa. Never heard of it until the GAP Band explained what the initials stood for (Greenwood, Archer, and Pine Streets) and the history behind it. The only area bombed by the government.

  5. D'Mario Neal says:

    Black Wallstreet was where over 100s of blacks was killed and house was burnt down because of 1 black guy raped a white girl supposedly. But they community was the only place in America that wasn't suffering from the great depression at that time. They killed women and kids. But they don't teach you about that

  6. That is History did no now that

  7. It was the first NEIGHBORHOOD where the people who lived there built their own homes and ran their own businesses and was the LARGEST until Harlem was increased by the inflow of blacks moving north….

  8. Lawnside, New Jersey 1840, "the first Incoorporated Black Community" in the United States…….. still in existance today! And has always been in African-Americans control. This predates Orange Mound by a few decades.

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