Ceremony held to celebrate Orange Mound’s historic distinction

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The nation’s first subdivision designed specifically for African-Americans celebrated a major distinction Friday. Orange Mound is getting national attention from the first family and the rest of the nation.

"Somebody needed to do this a long time ago, and I’m not surprised its being done," said Margaret Williams.

For Orange Mound residents, it's been a long time coming, but through Preserve America, many feel the historic community is finally getting the recognition it deserves.

"To know that where I come from is respected across America, especially from the first lady, very happy," said KeAndrae Smith.

Last year Orange Mound celebrated its 125th anniversary. This year, first lady Michelle Obama acknowledged the neighborhood’s resilience throughout those years by adding it to the Preserve America list, which includes hundreds of other historical places in the US.

"I don’t want to say that we are the best, but we are," said Williams.

During a ceremony at Mt. Pisgah CME church, dozens spoke, performed and praised the community, saying they can’t be compared to anywhere else.

"Harlem and Watts are large African-American communities, but they weren’t homeowners, we were special," added Williams.

Residents are proudly showing their Orange Mound pride, remembering their past but focusing on preserving and building a brighter future.