The Farish Street Historic District was once the heart and soul of black Mississippi’s civic cultural life. Today, when people talk about the district, located in downtown Jackson, the conversation predictably focuses on abandoned storefronts and crime. Despite the high-profile paralysis of efforts to convert the Farish Street business district into Jackson’s entertainment district, Farish remains home to a dynamic neighborhood full of dedicated people fighting to retain its sense of history and place, fighting to hold it together as a community. Meet a few of them.

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Eric J. Shelton was a 2018 corps member in Report for America, and joined the team as our first photojournalist. A native of Columbia, Miss., Eric earned his bachelor’s in photojournalism from the University of Southern Mississippi. He was a multimedia journalist for Abilene Reporter-News, chief photographer for the Hattiesburg American and photo editor for the Killeen Daily Herald before joining our team June 2018. He rejoined Mississippi Today as our health photojournalist in January 2022.