Saluting the legends of Beale Street
On the page facing chapter one of Beale Black & Blue is a 1973 photo of Nat D. Williams standing in front of the rubble which was once the Palace Theater. The photo sums up the sense of utter despondence in the community over the ravages of the urban renewal program on Beale Street. Not only buildings were gone, but also a sense of place and of pride. The earliest, failed efforts at redeveloping Beale gave every reason to believe it was gone forever.
The key to successful redevelopment was envisioning a new incarnation with both amenities and attractions and connections to the proud past. John Elkington’s idea with the Beale Street Brass Note Walk of Fame was to offer a tangible embodiment of the many talented people who had put Memphis music and Beale Street on the world map.