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A young man drapes his arms around a basketball pole marked with memorials while waiting to play a pickup game in Foote Homes along S. 4th. This court is where neighbors gather for block parties as well as candlelight vigils.
A woman shoots off a firework during a block party on the basketball court along South 4th Street in Foote homes on the fourth of July. A local rap group provided music and people from around the neighborhood and surrounding area came to hang out during the event.
Ivory Lobbins gives a ride home to a friend who had just sold his plasma at an Orange Mound donation center.
Fred Manuel, 20, stands in his doorway and talks with his neighbors. Manuel has stayed in Foote Homes for six years, originally with his parents, but he's now on his own.
Lucie Slater braids her nephews hair while watching her two-year-old daughter along with her sister's children in her unit at Foote Homes. Slater dropped out of a culinary arts program in order to take care of the children. But she wants out of Foote Homes and sees a culinary degree as her ticket. "I pray every day that I won't let my baby grow up here (Foote Homes). She's already getting older and sees a lot. I want to move away before she understands everything that's going on over here," Slater said. "Me and my baby had just finished saying our prayers that night and a bullet came through the window. It was a shock to me. We had just said amen," Lucie recounted about one evening in Foote Homes.
Lisa Conrad, left, helps Mady Richardson with her necklace before they walked the few blocks to South Main, a popular, rapidly developing neighborhood in Memphis, for dinner. Lisa, a mother of five, has been a resident of Foote Homes for twelve years. Before that she lived at Dixie Homes, another housing project that was torn down by the city. "I was in a very abusive relationship and it was the best thing that happened to me," Conrad said about having the ability to move into public housing when she found refuge at Dixie Homes. "People call this the hood, the projects," Conrad said about perspectives on Foote Homes. "No, this is not the projects to me. This is a community development. I don't get down with the hood."
Angelo Jones juggles a baseball in his girlfriend's bed while waiting for her to finishing giving her daughter a bath. Jones who has lived in Foote Homes for 5 years says that he tries his best to just stay out of the way. "It'll be different," Jones said after hearing the news that Memphis received a $30 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to raze and redevelop Foote Homes. "I want to be somewhere with less crime and not worry about me or my family getting hurt."
Mario McDonald, 24, left, and a friend he knows only as Mike, pose for a portrait outside of an ongoing Fourth of July block party on the basketball court. McDonald has lived in Foote Homes for three years with his mother, brother and cousin. Linda Sullivan, McDonald's mother, said, "I encouraged him to be around positive people and positive things. You don't have to deal or rob to be able to get what you want in life." Recently McDonald moved to Batesville, Miss., to attend the Finch-Henry Job Corps Center.
Ivory shades in the details of Tigger's tail methodically. He has been drawing since he was three years old. Now 32, he has lived in Foote for twelve years. "I feel stuck, I really do," Ivory says. "I would stay if things changed, but it's not. Last month was a bloodbath." Ivory is talking about July, a month of multiple shootings in and around the area. A teenager, well known in Foote Homes, was gunned down. Ivory is just one of the nearly 1,200 residents who call the Memphis' last public housing projects home. Tucked away in a three-bedroom unit, one of 420 similar units, two blocks from downtown.
Mady Richardson walks past an American Apparel only a few blocks from Foote Homes on her way to dinner with a friend. South Main, a popular, rapidly developing neighborhood in Memphis, is only a few blocks from Foote Homes.
Tamika Hamilton has lived in Foote Homes for five years with her fourteen-year-old son. "It's all too close," Hamilton said. She wants to move away because she feels the area has become unsafe. "It's gotten so bad. They kept saying they were going to move us, but that was two years ago," Hamilton said about the failed federal grant to demolish Foote Homes. "It seems we'll have to kill each other off before they move us."
Lucie Slater, center, gathers her daughter, nieces, and nephew as they make their way through the center of the east side of Foote Homes towards a peace rally. Slater who lives with her daughter and brother is a second generation resident of Foote Homes. She feels torn about living in the projects, appreciating the ability to have a roof over her head but worried about the safety of her child growing up in Foote.
A firework goes off near the ground while residents from Foote Homes celebrate Fourth of July.
Kevin Oden makes some final touches with his clippers while cutting hair on his porch. Oden has been cutting hair since he was young, providing a service for neighbors and friends while bringing in extra money.
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell speaks to news outlets while attending a peace rally at Foote Homes in September. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Stop the Killing Movement hosted the rally after a rash of violence, including an assault rifle attack on teenage boys within Foote Homes.
Mady Richardson takes a photo of Martavious Taylor before his funeral at Temple Church of God and Christ directly across from Foote Homes. "We need more than prayer," Richardson said about the loss of Taylor and the violence within and around the neighborhood. "How many more of our young people need to be put in the grave before enough is enough?" Martavious Taylor, 19, well known around Foote Homes, was shot and killed a couple miles south of the housing project in late July.
AJ and his son, Tamarcus, sit on their front porch outside of AJ's parent's home on the north side of downtown Memphis where the family moved after leaving Foote Homes.
Lashonda Rayford listens to music in her living room near the flag she received from her father's military funeral. Having lost both parents, Rayford feels she has found family with her Foote Homes neighbors. "This little 'L' that we live in. I became close to everyone here," she says. "I was born an only child so this is like my family. If I move I have no one. I wouldn't have no family." The uncertainty over the future of the housing project elicits a mixed reaction from other residents. Some want to leave, some don't think about it much, and others, like Lashonda, want to stay. "I wouldn't know the first place to look for someplace to stay without having any income," she says. "It would be like throwing me out on the street. I wouldn't know what to do. I would be like a newborn coming into the world."
One-year-old Jamaya Thomas spends time outside with her grandmother, Caroline Thomas, during a cool, summer afternoon. Caroline had moved from Foote Homes to Frayser, but returned two years ago so that her daughters and grandchildren could live with her. She likes living in the project because of the space it provides.
Courliyiah makes a snow angel outside of her mom's apartment in Foote Homes after Memphis received its first substantial snowfall in years.
Residents of Foote Homes were offered free horse rides during an anti-violence event that was held on the west side of the public housing development.
The Lofton family waits in their minivan outside of their apartment in Foote Homes after a fire damaged the apartment directly next to theirs. The Lofton's, worried about smoke damage to their unit, were waiting for the Memphis Fire Department to finish putting out hotspots before heading back in.
Derrick Jenkins leans his head back while receiving a haircut from a neighbor inside of his apartment in Foote Homes. After Derrick's mother passed away he continued to stay in Foote Homes with his stepfather.
Ivory Lobbins hugs his stepfather, Proctor Wilson, while visiting him at Methodist University Hospital where he was recovering from a leg amputation due to a gangrene infection. "I'm back because my dad is sick," Lobbins said about moving back to Foote Homes to help care for his stepfather.
A boy shoots off a bottle rocket on the west side of Foote Homes while the official city of Memphis fireworks display is seen going off over the Mississippi River in downtown.
Ivory Lobbins takes a break from drawing cartoons while in a room he was staying in temporarily at his sister’s home in Frayser. After moving from Foote Homes, where he lived for over 15 years, Lobbins has had difficulty finding stable housing.
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