Tuesday News Update: Overton Park Anniversary, Women's History Month, and Small Biz Grants...Ain't It Good?!

There's a lot of good news in Memphis! Here are this week's highlights. 

If you need a soundtrack while you read this quick roundup of positive and happy stories from around Memphis—check out our theme song, “Ain’t It Good?!”, by Eddie Floyd and Mavis Staples.

SUBMIT YOUR GOOD NEWS TO [email protected]
Circular concerte marker that says "You Spoke For The Trees, For The Trees Had No Tongues" at Overton Park
Holly Whitfield

You Spoke For The Trees

It’s Tuesday, March 2. Today is an important anniversary for Memphis—it’s been 50 years since a Supreme Court decision protected the park from being split by I-40, due to the work of local Memphians from the Citizens to Preserve Overton Park group. Read more in this Daily Memphian article and this Commercial Appeal article.

If you’re moved by what was achieved 50 years ago, as I am, you’ll be interested in what today’s environmental and water justice advocates are working on. There’s a lot happening right now. Check out the local Sierra Club, Protect Our Aquifer, and MemphisCAP for further reading if you’d like. —HW

sculpture marking entrance of Overton Park trails
Holly Whitfield
Volunteers Needed

Looking to do some good in 2021? Well, we’ve got you covered. The UTHSC is looking for vaccine site processor volunteers. Spots fill up quickly, so you’ll need to sign up well in advance. If you’re trained and certified to give vaccinations, they desperately need your volunteer time as well. You can use this link to sign up.

Be sure to check out our “10 Ways to Give Back”, too featuring fun ways to do some good in the community. Find this month’s article here. —EH

Memphis Is On The “Most Beautiful Places In Tennessee” List

“Fancy a trip to the cemetery this Saturday?” That’s not a phrase you hear often, but if you find yourself in need of something new to do, look no further than the Crystal Shrine Grotto at the Memorial Park Cemetery. It was just named one of “The Most Beautiful Places in Tennessee” by Thrillist. The grotto features quartz and stone sculptures created by 1930s artist Dionicio Rodriguez, a self-taught sculptor from Mexico. Read more about the Grotto here. —EH

Attention Small Business Owners!

Small business grants from FedEx are up for grabs! You can submit your story, create a YouTube video, and enter to win a 2021 FedEx Small Business Grant. Entries close on March 9, so hurry! Check out this informational video below, and this article from Choose901. —HW

Women’s History with Hattiloo Theatre

In honor of Women's Month, Hattiloo presents "The Women of Theatre Monologues”, virtual performances that celebrate diversity within the feminine spirit. Six women of color, all living in Memphis, each with a different ethnic background, will share their cultural perspective of life through monologues: 

  • Yancy Villa-Calvo (Mexican-American)
  • Mahal Burr (Filipina-American)
  • Judith Maina (Kenyan-American)
  • Ruby Bright (African-American)
  • Beverly Sakauye (Asian-American)
  • Maritza Davila (Puertorican-American)

Look for the performances on Hattiloo’s website starting March 15th, and on social media. —EH

Memphis in National Geographic

The National Civil Right Museum—which just reopened to the public—was featured in a National Geographic article about the importance of Black families traveling, and how parents share Civil Rights history with their children through visits to city’s with rich Black history, like Memphis. —HW

One Beale Is Real!

The first hotel at One Beale downtown is slated to open in just a few weeks! I took a construction tour last week of the Hyatt Centric hotel and I can tell you—it’s actually going to open. After all these years and talk about One Beale, can you believe it?! Watch the video recap of my tour here

The Hyatt Centric will have a resort-style pool with a music stage, a rooftop bar with a view, restaurant and lounge, 227 rooms including 12 suites and plenty of space for parties, receptions, and events. The Centric is getting buzz from meetings and travel sites, too (see #5 on this list). —HW

City Tasting Box “Majority Box” made it to Forbes, Sold Out In Weeks!

While the pandemic slowed down the world, nothing can stop Cristina McCarter. The founder of City Tasting Tours and 2019 MBJ 40 under 40 recipient collaborated with her friend Lisa Brown to create the City Tasting Box. Not only has the box made it all over the country, it’s gone to Europe and other parts of the world as well! Most recently, the pair created the Majority Box for Black History Month, featuring sweet and savory items from some true Memphis staples. Check out the Forbes article here. It’s sold out for now, but make return this summer. —EH

The Renasant Convention Center LIVES

Last week, the new Renasant Convention Center hosted its first in-person meeting at the facility. In a socially distanced setting, MMHLA’s 23rd Annual Lodging Industry Update took place with 100 attendees, giving staff an opportunity to test and execute new COVID protocols. The event also included a tour of the renovated meetings facility. —EH

The Meet My Person Project Is Live!

The Meet My Person Project we talked about last week is live and posting local singles all month long. Check it out on Instagram.

exterior view of Hyatt Centric hotel, rectangular building with colorful lights emanating from windows
Hyatt Centric hotel on Beale Street


My colleague Elizabeth Hornor and I work together on this weekly update, so going forward you’ll see that reflected by the sign-off initials for each bit of news. PLEASE submit your local good news by emailing her [email protected] with the subject line “Ain’t It Good”. **

** More about submitting: We’re looking for nonprofit successes, random victories, acts of kindness, rescued baby animals, positive national news coverage of Memphis…any thing that brings joy and brags a little on the people of our city. Send it in, and your story could appear on a future blog post!

Ed. Note: Special thanks to Kevin Brewer for the “Ain’t It Good” song suggestion and to Elizabeth Hornor for her assistance with this article.

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