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On June 3, 2020, George Floyd’s six-year-old daughter, Gianna, raised her arms and announced, “Daddy changed the world.” The Black Lives Matter movement, sparked by the untimely death witnessed around the world of this innocent man, was just getting started. Since then, we’ve seen at least a dozen other countries and every American state participate in this long-overdue movement. What better place to shed some light on the situation than in Memphis, Tennessee?

After World War II, African American soldiers that had risked their lives fighting for freedom and against fascism came home to face the harsh reality that they were not fully free. The climate in Memphis, and many other places, at the time, was one of fierce and unrelenting racism. Across the country, racism was thriving, peaceful protesters were teargassed, and chaos reigned. Something had to change.

The unrest that had been building for so long finally led to the Civil Rights Movement. Making monumental changes one baby step at a time, Tennessee was truly at the forefront of it all. The first public school integrated in the South was located right in Clinton. There were lengthy legal battles, protests, marches, sit-ins, and boycotts. Voter registration drives were born.

Each event, each day, and each moment drove us all closer to justice. It didn’t happen quickly, and there were plenty of setbacks along the way, but between 1945 and 1975, the Civil Rights Movement changed the world as we knew it then. One day, we’ll look back on the Black Lives Matter Movement of 2020 and recognize many of the same characteristics of this movement: an unwavering dedication to justice, a fight for what we believe in, and the ability to change even the most stubborn places.

When you walk through Memphis today, you can see the spot where Martin Luther King Jr. stood and fought for economic justice in 1968. Just a short distance away, you can visit Clinton High School, where Bobby Cain became the first African-American student to graduate from an integrated public high school in the South. If history has taught us anything, it’s that change may happen slowly, but change always comes. If we push and we fight and we act braver than we feel and we band together and we demand what’s right – change is inevitable.

Luckily, this time around, our movement has reached millions, and it’s reached them quickly. With phone calls, videos, and social media, it’s harder to hide from the truth. Since the Black Lives Matter movement started earlier this year, laws have been updated, police reform has begun in many places, and confederate and slavery-linked statues can be seen crumbling to the ground across the country, and in many others, too.

In the few short months since George Floyd’s death, Minneapolis lawmakers vowed to disband their city’s police department; New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, pledged to reallocate police funds to youth and social services instead; chokeholds have been banned in over a dozen states; shows perpetuating racism and violence have been taken off the air; corporations, CEOs, and other leaders have been forced to reevaluate their choices and policies. You can read more about the changes sparked by BLM here. These changes have been a long time coming. And it’s just the start.

When Gianna Floyd announced that her dad changed the world, she didn’t know just how right she was. One day, she will. One day, we’ll read about her dad in our history books. We’ll remember the year that everything began to change. The year that we fought decades of racial injustice and a deadly pandemic all at once, and we won.

At the Reaves Law Firm, we’ve been fighting for the rights of Memphis residents since we launched in 2011. We were founded under the guiding principles that we want to be loved by our clients, respected by our peers, and feared by our opposition. We’ve been a voice for the voiceless and built a dedicated and diverse team of personal injury lawyers and staff that stand up for what’s right and protect the innocent.

We fight for those who have felt physically, emotionally, or financially devastated and will continue to do so for as long as our doors remain open. In just nine years, we’ve recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of those injured due to another’s negligence in Memphis. With in-depth knowledge of complex personal injury laws and unique insight into insurance company strategies, we’re prepared to offer you only the best representation. We are proud to serve our communities, to see how far Memphis has come, and to be a part of its bright, shining future.

Here is a list of local black-owned business that you can support
Business CategoryBusiness NameLocation
BarbequeInterstate BarbequeMemphis
BarbequeCozy CornerMemphis
CafeThe Office at UptownMemphis
BurgersRoxie's GroceryMemphis
ChickenFannie Lou's Gourmet Chicken & WafflesMemphis
Comfort foodAlcenia'sMemphis
DeliLunchbox EatsMemphis
Homestyle restaurantJim & Samella's HouseMemphis
JamaicanCurry N JerkMemphis
Soul food99 Cent Soul Food ExpressMemphis