Southern Heritage Classic: What’s in it for Memphis?

Posted on September 11, 2011 by


Creator of Southern Heritage Classic

As far as the eye could see people lined both side of the street, in a day festivity, to enjoy Southern Heritage Classic Parade.  They cheered, waved, and smiled as each exhibited slowly passed.  What’s interesting among other things is where it takes place:  Surprisingly, the parade is displayed along Park Ave, Orange Mound, nationally known as the first organized African-American community in Memphis.  SHC parade draws thousands of spectators back into this famous community thereby; opening up vast opportunities to spur economic growth by reminding Memphians of a great commercial past that once, and can again, thrived in Orange Mound. 

One could only be impressed by observing such a large number small children, their eyes sparkling, waiting for a change to pick up candies as they watch other children march and dance along the parade route.  Teens watching attentively enjoying each procession; by the way, as thousands waited and watched there were zero disruptions by any acts of senseless behavior; the people conducted themselves honorably.

Right along with the spectators, in the crowd, was Mr. Fred Jones, promoter and organizer of this renowned event.  Fred Jones, Mr. Impressive, a role modern by any definition; expressed his views, openly, about the future of Southern Heritage Classic events.  When asked if he envisioned, when first dreamed the idea, the level of success that he was witnessing this day?  He simply stated that, “I’m a promoter; every promoter believes their idea would be the biggest and best.”  But, what’s really interesting is: Mr. Jones expressed a will and wish to see SHC become a national event.  When asked a racial question Mr. Jones quickly refuted by stating, “We must focus on the people who are here today enjoying themselves; not those who aren’t.” Along the parade route there were people of all ages, nationalities, races, and colors.  Mr. Jones’ wisdom and vision earned him as Mr. Impressive, a down to earth man with a vision of something even greater in Memphis.

If one is impressed by the parade then, the football activities would blow your mind.   The Southern Heritage Classic football game and its surrounding atmosphere are profound.  Again, thousands of participants taking part in tailgating, vending, and family outings is greater than or match events like Memphis in May, Blues Festival, etc.  In fact, there might not be any comparing.  This event is so important that both Shelby County and the City of Memphis Mayors take an active role this day of activities.  In addition, no politician is left; they all make their way to this classic football game.  

TSU went down; JSU pulled it off, 35-29, but TSU won on other levels.  They took JSU out with the Sophisticated Ladies, these beautiful women drew, what could’ve been, every photographer present, the battle of bands, and TSU kick off a victorious wave; it took three rounds, at the exact end of it, JSU scored; TSU didn’t try again.  Who cares, with thousands of spectators and a stadium ¾ full; these games are necessary. 

There is an economic impact that we all enjoy and benefit; from an immediate financial return to taxes into our city treasury.  The public relations and human impact is immeasurable.  Memphians must continue to come together so that events like this are felt well into the future.  We must seek ways to include them into our overall economic plan.  These events bring into our community fresh “outside” dollars; they fill our hotels, restaurants, night life, and they create event jobs.  Mr. Jones has a plan to make this Southern Heritage Classic a national event, right here in our city.  Each Memphian must accept this challenge as their challenge and do whatever is necessary to grow his dream into reality.                                                

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   “Click this photo to enjoy more photos of SHC football game & parade”