Mitchell Heights / Douglass
Mitchell Heights is one of three “Heights” neighborhoods north of Summer Avenue in Memphis, and it overlaps with the Highland Heights neighborhood to the point that next door neighbors may often give you two different names for the same neighborhood. The history of the community can be traced back to its use as part of the Pope Cotton Plantation until it was repurposed by Shelby County in the late 1880s. The Raleigh Street Car Line ran from Memphis to Raleigh and through the Mitchell Heights community in the early 1900s. This new access to public transportation sparked commercial development and facilitated housing growth. The community was officially annexed into Memphis in 1928.
Throughout its one-hundred year history, Mitchell Heights has both thrived and struggled. Although modernization and the expansion of Memphis initially helped develop the community, it also later resulted in a depletion of resources, opportunities, and community leaders as Memphis continued to expand. Resources such as the Heights CDC, United Way of the Mid South, nearby Christ Community Health Services on Broad, and Memphis Athletic Ministries (at Leawood Baptist) seek to build a stronger community where people choose to invest their lives, talents, and energy. The Heights CDC has designed a useful neighborhood asset map to give an overview of these resources and more.
MTR groups the Douglass neighborhood with Mitchell Heights because Douglass High School serves students from both communities and MTR works in both Treadwell and Douglass Middle Schools which both send 9th graders to Douglass High. The Douglass neighborhood is named after Frederick Douglass and was established over 100 years ago by William Rush-Plummer, a pastor who worked to establish multiple churches in the neighborhood. Douglass has a strong neighborhood identity since its founding as one of the first communities in Memphis where African Americans could own homes and build a community. The new Douglass High School was opened in 2008 and is one of the newer school buildings in the district—and a source of pride for the community.