Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Creative Vortex of Memphis

the VortexSouthern and Semmes might have a special creative energy, because the only 2 institutions1at that intersection are models of versatility and ingenuity.

First, directly on the corner, south of the railroad, there's Elmore Carpets and African Imports, owned by Anthony "Amp" Elmore. I've long admired Mr. Elmore's versatility: he is a carpet impresario, an importer, a kickboxing champion and teacher, a proud Buddhist and a filmmaker.

Elmore Carpets and African Imports

To the northeast and across Southern, New Olivet Baptist Church is presided over by the Reverend Kenneth Whalum, Jr. Reverend Whalum, in addition to the church, leads its celebrated choir, has developed the innovative entrepeneurship program called Bust A Move Monday (BAMM!), won a seat on the City School Board (he's a big supporter of art in the schools), and (my favorite) puts great sermon teasers on his church marquee (in both English and Spanish). My favorite, which is coming from my memory, so it could be wrong: "Was Jesus Sipping on the E&J?" In fact, the teasers are so great (here's another one) that I think Rev. Whalum could raise money for his many endeavors with a coffee-table book, if he has pictures of all of them.

New Olivet Baptist Church1Okay, this isn't completely true. A brick wall on the northern side of Southern protects innocent and unwary passersby from the exclusivist, hierarchist and monocultured embrace of the Memphis Country Club, just 25 yards away as the drunken shank flies.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Rist said...

Great post! The Elmores are such a good family, a true pillar of the community.

4:37 PM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

rist, I'm really glad you like the post. I don't know Mr. Elmore or Rev. Whalum but I've been thinking about writing something about their work for a long time.

thanks for reading!

11:23 PM  

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