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‘Frayser Is Not Bad’: Memphis Neighborhood Pushes Back Against Portrayal After Fatal Shooting

Hear the radio version of this story. The Frayser community in Memphis is dealing with the aftermath of Brandon Webber’s fatal shooting. The 20-year-old black man was killed by U.S. marshals who were attempting to arrest him on outstanding felony warrants. But it was the violent protest that followed that put the community in the national spotlight.

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Photo courtesy of CEASAR.

  

Memphis enjoys some of the purest water in the country, thanks to a layer of clay that keeps impurities out of its enormous aquifer.

But gaps, or "breaches," in that clay layer pose a threat to the quality of the city's drinking water.

That's why the University of Memphis' Center for Applied Earth Science and Engineering (CAESAR) is mapping those breaches -- areas where contaminants could enter the groundwater.

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On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins landed on the Moon during the United States Apollo XI mission. This year will mark the fiftieth anniversary of Apollo XI.  

After a decade of collecting photos, Ryan Adams has organized the Shift+Gallery’s first-ever exhibit, “Edge of Space: Apollo XI, Orbiter, and Viking I”. The exhibit, which is located inside Edge Alley restaurant, will showcase photographs taken during the Apollo XI, Orbiter, and Viking I missions.  “Edge of Space: Apollo XI, Orbiter, and Viking I” opens Tuesday, June 25th with an open reception from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM. The exhibit ends on August 30th.    

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On Wednesday, U.S. Marshals shot and killed 20-year-old Brandon Webber in the North Memphis community of Frayser. The Marshals were carrying out arrest warrants for Webber, who was a suspect in a robbery and shooting in Hernando, MS.

Webber's death sparked protests and led to many questions.

 

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With the toll of a church bell, around 200 people cheered when his lanky likeness was finally revealed on Wednesday. The bronze sculpture of a young Johnny Cash with a guitar newly stands in front of 999 Cooper Street, near the now-vacant Galloway Methodist Church. It was there, in 1954, that Cash had his first public performance, a fundraiser for a women's bible study. 

65 years later, Cash's grandson Thomas Gabriel, and his nephew Roy Cash, a resident of Collierville, were on hand for the dedication. 

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When 20-year-old Brandon WebberFUNKO ORIGINALE STARWARS CHEWBACCA JEDI POP VINYL FIGURA 195 Wednesday by U.S. Marshals serving arrest warrants, the ensuing information vacuum, along with a major police presence in the Frayser area of Memphis, fomented a violent clash between officers in riot gear and angry residents. More than 30 officers received minor injuries. Six were taken to the hospital. Three protesters were arrested.

Updated at 7:23 p.m.

After a violent clash between protesters and Memphis police Wednesday night, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is looking into the shooting that precipitated the stand off. U.S. Marshals killed a 20-year-old Memphis man while attempting to arrest him in the Frayser neighborhood. 

Cell phone footage from the scene shows Memphis Police officers in full riot gear, shields up, facing dozens of angry residents. Memphis officials said at least 36 officers were injured by thrown rocks and bricks. Several television journalists were assaulted.

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Photo by Joe Rondone, Courtesy of the Commercial Appeal
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Two neighborhoods in Shelby County have been identified as "food deserts" -- areas where residents  have to travel up to a mile just to buy groceries. While that isn't a problem for many people, these neighborhoods -- in South Memphis and Frayser -- also have high poverty rates and residents who rely on public transportation. 

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At first blush, that might be an odd thing to hold up.

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Father’s Day is this weekend. There is no better way to spoil the “Dad” in your life, than with a tasty steak.

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“Spotlight on Lifelong Learning” is a weekly look at some of the exciting public conversations upcoming around Memphis. Host Jonathan Judaken is the Spence L. Wilson Chair in the Humanities at Rhodes College.

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