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.