Vol. 1, Issue 4 April 2019 KEEPING YOU UP-TO-DATE MONTHLY WITH THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN SHELBY COUNTY, TN LETTER FROM THE EDITOR By Yvonne D. Nelson, Ph.D. There are always so many things to do, places to go, and people to see in and around Memphis, TN. This makes it extremely hard to pick up on every important event that is going on! This month, I had quite a few programs and events to choose from to attend. Several overlapping events meant that I had to attend one or another, which made the need for our citywide, free event online calendar even more obvious to me. So where do you look to find out what’s going on in Memphis? Please visit our blog at iLoveShelbyCounty.com soon to let us know where else we can be looking for events to attend too! We have now successfully published NEWSCENE for our first full quarter with this edition. We are looking forward to being able to present a few hundred print copies during our next quarter and we invite you to join our advisory board and to make a tax-deductible contribution to our success. As you know, we depend heavily on you to spread the word about NEWSCENE. Your willingness to share links to featured stories to create new viewers, your desire to submit calendar events, pictures, and stories about events that have recently taken place, and your desire to support us through advertisements featuring local businesses and activities is appreciated. This newsletter is for you and about you and the things you know about that are happening in your communities. I am depending on you to make sure I have accurate meeting dates and fresh content for each monthly NEWSCENE edition. Call me at 901-300-0250, write me at I Love Shelby County, Attn: Senior Publicist, P.O. Box 9146, Memphis, TN 38190-0146, or email Memphis.Meetings@gmail.com. We definitely want to hear from you soon! Thank you, Yvonne Pictured after the marker unveiling are (from left) Dr. Tyrone Davis, Rev. William Smith, Ron Walter, Bishop William Graves, Dr. Peatchola Jones-Cole, Jimmy Ogle, Dr. Earnestine Jenkins, Rev. O. C. Collins, and Timothy S. Good. As the story goes, three black male grocery store owners, Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and William Henry Stewart, were killed, near the intersection of Mississippi Boulevard and Walker Avenue in Memphis, TN, by a white mob on March 9, 1892. Why, you ask? Historians will tell you for the simple reason that they were guilty of being honest economic competitors to a white grocery store owner in the area at the time. Was that the reason given? No. The local paper accused these men of holding a secret conspiracy meeting and plotting a war against whites. Similar lynching’s of the time relied on false claims of sexual assault or unreasonable acts of blacks against whites. Moss’s gravesite (shown above) was found in the late-1990s. It has been written, by Ida B. Wells-Barnett and others, that black economic values were on the rise in the late 1890s; however, due to restraints placed on black people by the federal and state governments, Supreme Court rulings, and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, these efforts were stopped through various measures including lynching's. Wells-Barnett’s story continues, “...in the wee hours of the night, 75 men stormed the walls of the Shelby County Jail, and a small group entered in search of Moss, McDowell, and Stewart. The three men were dragged from their cells, loaded onto a switch engine that ran at the back of the jail house, transported to a railroad yard north of the city’s limits, and shot to death in retaliation.” Story and Pictures by Dr. Yvonne D. Nelson 127 YEARS LATER, THOMAS MOSS’ GRAVE GETS A HISTORIC MARKER

The Zion Christian Cemetery, once owned by George Christian, is were history tells us these three heroes were later laid to rest. According to memphisheritage.com, “After the Civil War, black Americans organized a burial association called the United Sons and Daughters of Zion. They purchased 16 acres outside city limits for use as a cemetery. This cemetery was active primarily between 1876 and 1925 and is the oldest black cemetery in Memphis. It holds the remains of almost 25,000 blacks from the 19th through the 20th centuries, spanning the Civil War, Emancipation, Reconstruction, yellow fever epidemics, World War I, and the Jim Crow era. The cemetery is the burial site of the three black merchants, Thomas Moss, William Stewart, and Calvin McDowell, the 1892 lynching victims whose deaths ignited the anti-lynching crusade of Ida B. Wells. The Zion Community Project, Inc. is now working on a volunteer basis to clean up and restore this important landmark.” “After the death of her husband, George Christian, Mrs. Eva Christian, a member of Mt. Pisgah CME Church, inherited all of the existing shares of the Zion Christian Cemetery,” stated retired CME Church Senior Bishop, William H. Graves Sr., during the unveiling of the historical marker placed at Moss’s gravesite in the Zion Christian Cemetery, 1426 South Parkway East in Memphis, TN, on Saturday, March 23, 2019, some 127 years after his death. “Unable to care for the property herself, in 1886, Mrs. Eva Christian donated the cemetery to the Christian Methodist Church for safekeeping.” “The church has watched over the years as the board has grown from just a few committed volunteers to an active and involved group of community leaders from various walks of life who are committed to seeing the cemetery transformed from a resting place for newly freed slaves in Memphis and Shelby County [to] a living legacy meaningful and historical in the present culture of our community,” continued Graves. “As we stand at the foot of Thomas Moss’ grave and participate in the unveiling of this marker and memory of these three slain heroes of the past, we as a church are proud to have played a part in the life of the Zion Community Project and the restoration of the Zion Christian Cemetery…” Dr. Tyrone T. Davis, CME Board of Directors Chair, provided remarks as part of the unveiling ceremony held Saturday, March 23, 2019. The program began at noon with an opening presented by Occasion Leader and National Civil Rights Museum Collections Manager, Raka Nandi. Reverend O. C. Collins of Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church followed with the Invocation and University of Memphis History Professor, Dr. Earnestine Jenkins, was joined by WREG-TV Channel 3 Chair Emeritus, Ron Walter and US National Park Service Superintendent, Timothy S. Good, for the Occasion and Wreath Laying services of the program. Dr. Tyrone T. Davis, CME Board of Directors Chair gave remarks after the unveiling ceremony and before pictures were taken. In addition to the remarks given by Graves, the now retired CME Church Bishop and son of Reverend William Smith, one of the two CME Bishops who accepted the original donation of the cemetery and its land and began the momentous task of establishing a nonprofit organization to spearhead the restoration of the cemetery, provided the Benediction at closing of the ceremony. 2


Top (from left) Bluebian Duralle, Dwayne “Tarriff” Thomas, Ekpe Abioto, Sylvester Lewis, Dr. Earnestine Jenkins, Erma Elzy, and Leonard Blakely are pictured at the rear of the historic marker honoring Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and William Henry Stewart, erected at the site of Moss’s grave in the Zion Christian Cemetery, 1426 South Parkway East, in Memphis, TN on March 23, 2109. (Right top) Elaine Lee Turner, Zion Community Project Assistant Secretary, owner of Heritage Tours, which conducts historical tours of Memphis, and Director of Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum, was present for the unveiling activities. (Bottom right) Attendees listen to the program. Top (right) Sylvester Lewis takes a closer look at the historical gravesite of Thomas Moss after the crowd thins out. (Bottom right) We All Be Group, Inc. Chief Executive Artivist, Bro. Ron Herd, plays his cornet in honor of Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and William Stewart as the event concludes. Not pictured: The Zion Community Project, Inc., was established in 1992 to oversee the restoration of Zion Christian Cemetery. It’s 21-member Board of Directors works in conjunction with Advisory Committee and many Friends of Zion including: Officers Dr. Tyrone T. Davis, Atty. Trena M. Williams, Dr. Russ Wigginton, Dr. Milton Moreland, Mrs. Elaine Turner, and Mr. Arthur Shelton; Members Mr. Bob Barnett, Rev. O.C. Collins, Dr. Warner L. Dickerson, Dr. Peatchola Jones-Cole, Atty. Reginald L. Eskridge, Mr. Sylvester Lewis, Ms. Raka Nandi, Ms. Tramica Morris, Mr. Cardell Orrin, Prof. Eddie Pate, Ms. Margot Payne, Mrs. Beverly Robertson, Mr. Eric Robertson, Mr. Reginald Walton, Dr. Walker D. Wright; and Advisory Committee members Mrs. Claudette N. Branch, Mrs. Lisa Jenkins, Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick, Rev. William Smith, Mr. Ron Walter, and Bishop Henry M. Williamson. The board meets quarterly and is seeking funds for educational projects and ongoing maintenance efforts at the cemetery. New volunteers are welcomed. Email: ZionCommunityProject@gmail.com or mail donations to Zion Community Project, PO Box 74, Memphis, TN 38108. 4


Pictures & Story by Dr. Yvonne D. Nelson People in and around the Whitehaven hairdresser Hazel Moore as the “Mayor of to Moore, it was one she has earned over in the area. Moore came to Whitehaven in 1987 residents who were not originally born and space at 4105 Elvis Presley Boulevard, Fashions. A young woman with a husband, immediately became involved in communieventually became the President of the played a pivotal role in the construction of community have come to know and refer to Whitehaven.” That’s not a title that was just given the years for being an active force for the people sometime after the area began to welcome black raised there. It was around this time that she rented Hazel Moore near Raines Road, and opened Hazel’s Hair Jayne, and four daughters, Moore nearly ty affairs. She was an outspoken person who Friends of the Whitehaven Branch Library and the new branch that currently sits on Raines at Millbranch Road. Hazel Moore has been the recipient of too many awards to mention—Moore was appointed, by three Governor’s of the State of Tennessee, to the Board of Cosmetology. These subsequent appointments lasted over 20 years. Moore is a current member of the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board, was honored as the Women’s Foundation Legends Award in 2013, received the Memphis City Council’s Humanitarian Award in 2017, and was presented the MLK Luminary Award this past January. She has certainly earned the title she wears and she loves children so much that she established the Academy for Youth Empowerment, a local nonprofit that provides youth from disadvantaged families the opportunity to gain key life skills and experiences that could empower them to be academically enriched, healthy, and, 1993, personally fulfilled in life. Moore is also known for her annual “Back to School” health fair and leadership development programs. The first Whitehaven Christmas Festival and Parade was held in 1998. One of the biggest parades in Memphis, it is always held the Saturday before Thanksgiving in Whitehaven. Yes, Whitehaven is thankful for having a woman like Hazel Moore on its battlefield, but Hazel Moore is not only about receiving awards, she is also about giving them. Not wanting to crowd the field anymore than it is already crowded in February, Moore has began holding her Black History Month programmatics in March. On Sunday, March 10, 2019, she and the Academy for Youth Empowerment sponsored such a program, honoring Art Gilliam of WLOK Radio and Fred Jones of the Southern Heritage Classic along with past legends Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Carter G. Woodson, Benjamin L. Hooks, and Barbara Jordan, at the Abundant Grace Fellowship Church, 1574 East Shelby Drive, where Reverend Dwayne Hunt is the Senior Pastor. Black History program honorees and participants. Photography by Tyrone P. Easley 6

(Left) Members of the Central High School Ensemble perform. (Right) Program attendees Debra and Bobby Rich Jr. Moore’s daughter and son-in-law. (Far left) Hazel Moore. Bottom left (from left) Tajuan Stout Mitchell, Greg Coy, Fred Jones and Art Gilliam. (Bottom right) Abundant Grace Fellowship Outreach Coordinator, Arnest Martin, and attendees of the 2019 Academy for Youth Empowerment Black History Program, “Remember, Educate, Celebrate,” stand as the Central High School Ensemble sing the National Negro Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” at the annual event. The program, which began at 3 p.m., opened with Abundant Grace Fellowship Outreach Coordinator, Arnest Martin, providing the program’s purpose and welcoming address. Whitehaven High School senior, Diamond Lockhart, followed with the introduction of Tajuan Stout Mitchell, who in turn introduced the event’s emcee, Greg Coy, anchor with WHBQ Fox Channel 13 in Memphis. Edward McBride III of Soulsville Charter School gave an impressive invocation and five members of the Central High School Ensemble featuring seniors Julian Cross and Nate Westbrook, juniors Amber Ingram, Whitley Johnson, Rekiyah Owens, Jasmin Power, and Stephanie Rolfe; and sophomore Carmen Edwards gave a standing only rendition of the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The honoree spotlight introduction portion of the program followed. White Station High School senior, Torriq Williams introduced Mr. Gilliam, and Whitehaven High School freshman, Chris Bartley, gave the introduction for Mr. Jones. Both men graciously took the stage to speak and accept their individual awards. Aria Battle, a sophomore at City University School recited the poem, “Phenomenal Woman” afterwards. The program closed with historic depictions of Ida B. Wells-Barnett given by Jerica Nelson, a sophomore at Westwood High School; Barbara C. Jordan given by Jordyn Davis, a senior at Hamilton High School; Carter G. Woodson given by Jayshun Hall, a freshman at City University School; and Benjamin L. Hooks given by Spencer Fleming, a junior at Freedom Prep High School. Another musical selection was provided by the Central High School Ensemble and Hazel Moore took the stage to thank those in attendance for supporting our youth and provided additional closing remarks to end the annual Black History Month program and event. Photography by Tyrone P. Easley by Tyrone P. Easley 7

The 2019 Health, Home, and Garden Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce’s Expo was held from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 21st in the Bartlett Recreational Center, 7700 Flaherty Place in Bartlett, TN. Presented with assistance from Debbie Gelineau, City of Bartlett Director of Community Relations, the event was sponsored by Saint Francis Hospital - Bartlett and the City of Bartlett, TN, event gold sponsors included Serra Chevrolet, Memphis Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens, and First South Financial; Silver sponsors included Local ABC Channel 24, AM990 KWAM Talk Radio, On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina, Chick-fil-A, Travel Leaders, LSI Graphics, and Journal West 10 Media, LLC. First Tennessee Bank was the expo’s small business sponsor. Additional sponsors included TechEd2Go, Brother International, City Auto, Methodist Hospital, Bancorp South, Behind the Scenes, Premium Refreshments, Bath Fitter, Sonic Drive-In, State Farm - Heath Johnson, Leadership Bartlett, BPACC, Cole Pain, Bartlett Women’s Clinic, Bartlett City Schools, Bank of Bartlett, Next Day Access, Main Event Entertainment, Hearthside Senior Living, Hick Convention Service, Select Specialty Hospital, STCC, Freed-Hardeman University, Learning Health and Wellness, Belhaven University, Bethel University, Leader’s Credit Union, Sleep Number, Rooster’s Chicken Snack, Robinson Retirement, Better Business Bureau, Leaf Filter, ePayment America, Bartlett Medical Spa, Sam’s Club, Service Experts, Olympus Surgical, Bartlett Nursery, Bartlett Education Foundation, State Farm - Trey Clemens, St. Francis Medical Partners, Ave Maria, TN College of Applied Technology, First Bank, Bartlett Kiwanis, Saba Automotive, Senior Helpers, Trustmark Bank, POP’s, Orion Credit Union, Friends of the Bartlett Library, Bartlett City Beautiful, Bartlett Farm and Station, Foxbridge Assisted Living, BioLife Plasma Services, and ADT. The event featured a giveaway at 3:30 p.m. The grand prize drawing was for a weekend in New Orleans, LA, at the Storyville Hotel two blocks from the famous French Quarters, ghost and cemetery tours for two, and a goody bag upon arrival from Travel Leaders; and dinner gift certificates courtesy of Firebirds Restaurant, Coletta’s Italian Restaurant, and Side Porch Steak House. 8

Bartlett Public Library, 5884 Stage Road, Friends, Rosemary Gaynier (left) and Lynn Chambers were on hand sharing information about the Friends of the Bartlett library’s book sale that will include books, audio books, music and videos. The mission of the Friends of the Bartlett Public Library is to promote and enhance the Bartlett Library facilities and services through advocacy, volunteer service, and fundraising and encourage literacy, learning, and reading. The Friends’ annual book sale is a Thousands of items including chilfor adults, will be on display next Banquet Hall. No one item will be On Thursday, April 4th, prices will Friday, April 5th from noon until 6 noon to 4 p.m. will be $5 bag sale Sunday, April 7th from 1:30 until Admission to the sale is free to the A preview sale will be held from for the presale is free for Friends join Friends at the Library in $10/person. You can reach the Friends of the fundraiser for the Bartlett Library held in April. dren’s books and fiction and nonfiction selections door in the Bartlett Station Municipal Center priced over $2. be from $0.25 - $2.00 between noon and 6 p.m.; p.m. will be half-price day; Saturday, April 6 from day, and a $3 bag sale will be held in the library on 4 p.m. public Thursday through Saturday. 4:30 until 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3. Admission members and $10 for non-members. Anyone may advance of the sale or at the door. Annual dues are Bartlett Public Library by calling, (901) 386-8968. Be sure to drop by the BSMC Banquet Hall adjacent to the Bartlett Library, 5884 Stage Road or visit here for additional details. 9

(Top left) BancorpSouth Branch Manager Stacy Hollingsworth (left) and Rockin’ Singing Telegrams performer Nerde hit an Elvis pose for fun. (Top right) Taylor Martin, ePayment America Technical Operations Rep has 21st century solutions for merchants who accept electronic payments. (Below) Sam’s Club Team Lead Victoria Larson several great deals for new and renewing Sam’s Club members. 10

(Top left) Premium Refreshment Service Account Executive Nathan Thompson can service all of your residential and commercial water needs. (Top right) LSI graphics employees Chris Coles and Mary Deshields were on hand celebrating the company’s 45th year in business. (Bottom left, from left) BancorpSouth Mortgage Loan Officer Michael Wolfe, Branch Manager/Lender and Vice President Dion F. Grey, and Vice President Mike Thomas were on hand to help expo attendees with their mortgage and banking needs. CityAuto sales analyst Geoff Falk and the CityAuto vehicle took a day off from recording radio and TV spots to meet the community at the Expo. 11

(Above) Leaders Credit Union employees (from left) Stephen Goodin and Cindy Norman attracted new business with their current 2.45% rate on Certificates of Deposit at the Expo. (Below) Main Event Sales Manager Deborah Crawford and Event Coordinator Aananne had lots of information on the Main Event arcade play and advertisements on how to obtain $20 and $50 free game cards, and all-you-can-play bowling, billiards, laser tag, and gravity rope games for $20.95/person at the Main Event, where all ages can have the fun under one roof. 12

Bartlett Kiwanis International member Jackie Henton-Shaw was on hand at the Bartlett Business Expo held from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, 2019 in the Bartlett Recreational Center, 7700 Flaherty Place in Bartlett, TN. Henton-Shaw was available to offer information about how Kiwanis was founded in 1915 to support children and young adults around the world. This is accomplished by:  Evaluating both children’s issues and community needs ;  Conducting service projects to respond to identified needs;  Maintaining an active roster of community-minded people who have both the desire and the ability to serve. Henton-Shaw invites Bartlett residents to be a part of the Kiwanis Team! You can check the Bartlett Kiwanis club out at 1-800-KIWANIS or by visiting here, emailing here, or dropping by Coletta’s on the 2nd or 4th Wednesday at noon. The 15th annual Kiwanis Club of Bartlett Golf Tournament, 4Person Scramble, will be held Friday, May 10, 2019 at the Quail Ridge Golf Club, 4055 Altruria Road, in Bartlett. The Shotgun Start is at 1 p.m. Lunch, registration, practice range open begins at 11:30 a.m. Shotgun start will be at 1 p.m. Dinner and awards will begin after play. First Flight 1st Place team will win $400 cash. First Flight 2nd Place team will win $200 cash. Second Flight 1st Place team will win $300 cash. Second Flight 2nd Place team will win $100 cash. Prizes will also be awarded for:  Closest-to-the-pin  Longest Drive  Putting Contest  Lucky Mulligan Pack $20 (2 Mulligans / Putting Contest / Red Tee) Ladies Red Tees, Men White Tees, Seniors (age 60 and over) Yellow Tees Entry fee is $100/person or $400/team. Entry fee includes range balls, cart and green fee, lunch, beverage cart and dinner. Deadlines: Tee Sponsor, April 15, 2019; Team Entry, May 7, 2019. 13

Photos and Story by Iman N. Mason, It would appear to me that the number of attendees at the “Conductors of All Times” Living Legend Awards ceremony held in honor of Harriet Tubman and presented by TN State Representative Barbara Cooper, the Cooper/Jones Initiative and the Living Legend Awards Ceremony Team consisting of the Memphis River Park Ambassadors, registration overseer Tanya Cooper, Publicist Tony Jones, Dr. Clifford Black, Ronnell A. Bowens, James Bunch, chair Vontyna Durham, secretary Dianne Withers, co-chair Aaron K. Robinson, Fannie Garner, Wesley Hurt, Ben Ivy, Robert Jefferson, Debra Lockard, Booker Middleton, Tamarques Porter, Earlice Taylor and Barbara Cooper, was severely underestimated. Upon my arrival to the event, held from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, 2019, at Beale Street Landing, 251 Riverside Drive, Memphis, TN 38103, all I could see was a room of four corners, full of people from all walks of life. The presenters for the Harriett Tubman Living Legend Leadership Award were Walker Homes/West Junction community activist and Mitchell High School Alumni Association President Linda Street and entrepreneur Riki Stone. Category awardees included former city of Memphis Mayor’s W.W. Herenton and AC Wharton, who also served as Mayor of Shelby County; former City Councilman and professional mortician, Ed Ford Sr.; former Shelby County Commissioners Terry Roland, a Millington Chamber of Commerce attorney, and Walter Bailey, owner of the Bailey Law Firm; Beverly Robertson, recently elected Interim President & CEO of the Memphis Chamber of Commerce, former Executive Director of the National Civil Rights Museum, and co-owner of Trust Marketing with her husband Howard Robertson; Carol Coletta, President & CEO of the Memphis River Parks Partnership; Dr. Joris M. Ray, who was unanimously selected to be the Interim Superintendent of Shelby County Schools; Attorney Dorsey Hopson II, the outgoing and former Superintendent of Shelby County Schools; Callie Stevens, a former Assistant Superintendent of Memphis City Schools and member of the TN Education Board; Veda Turner, Principal of Craigmont High School; Wiley Henry, an artist, writer, photographer, and employee in the offices of Congressman Steve Cohen; and Carl Person, former Chairman of the Memphis Downtown Commission. Presenters for the Legends “Special” Honorary Harriet Tubman Conductors Award were Senator Raumesh Akbari Esq., Shelby County Commissioner Dr. Ed Ford Jr., Carolyn Bell-Black, Vontyna Durham, Travis Olive, and Markus Hill. Awardees were former Memphis/Shelby County Schools board member, District 6 representative, and president, Dr. Freda Garner Williams; and former District 86 representative and grocer, Rufus E. Jones. Special Harriet Tubman Community Conductors presenters were entertainer and producer Toni Green; entrepreneur Riki Stone and Vontyne Durham. Awardees included the Tom Lee family; Faith-based leaders Middle Baptist Church Whitehaven pastor emeritus, Reverend Lester Baskin, and Mount Pisgah Baptist Church senior pastor, Reverend Frank Harris; Chief Executive Officers Ron Redwing of the Redwing Group, Ronald Kent of Chow Time Restaurants, Greg Grant of the Southbrook Towne Centre, and Lisa Akbari of the Trichology Institute. The recognition for workforce initiatives went to Resolution 1000, Jobs for All, U.S. Congress, Kevin Bradshaw, Kelloggs’ Corporation, COPPER, Kenneth Ingram and the oldest and largest electrical union in the world, the IBEW Local 1288 Union. Community Organization and Professionals Ruby Payne, retired principal, Hanley Elementary School and member of Businesses United to Recognize Educators (B.U.R.E); Katrina Thompson, president of 100 Black Women and the LeMoyne-Owen College Memphis Alumni Chapter; Attorney Linda Harris, former federal prosecutor and owner Harris Law Firm; Attorney Laurice Smith, Interim Judge and Smith Law Firm owner; Lucille Catron, Executive Director of the Beale Street Development Corporation; Mary Cheers, president of the Mt. Pisgah Heights/Rolling Green Hills Community neighborhood association; Charlotte Smith, Supporter of People of Woodstock and teacher, Shelby County Schools; Myrtle Malone, president, Shelby County section, National Council of Negro Women; and Dr. Vincent J. Hunter, principal, Whitehaven High School. The program began with a prelude, music and a video hosted by Robert Jefferson of WIAN and former Glenview Community Development Partnership, Inc. president, Earlice Taylor. Rep. Cooper gave the opening remarks and retired Bishop Edward Lynn Brown, of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, gave the prayer. Soulsville/STAX board member Henry Ford led attendees in singing the Black American National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing. Program Analyst Specialist and Shelby County Commissioner Elect Bennie Smith introduced the program’s moderator, Stan Bell, of V101 FM and WDIA 1070 AM. Music was provided by Taylor and a candle lighting memorial was conducted by Aaron K. Robinson of the Redwing Group; Debra Lockard, chair of the Urban Farm Technical Assistant program and owner of Lockard’s Produce. Additional presentations were made by Dr. Clifford Black, reading facilitator and Tamarqus Porter program analyst in the Super Learning Class. Dr. Janice Tankson, Principal of Robert R. Church Elementary School, introduced Whitehaven High School principal, Dr. Vincent J. Hunter, who spoke on the “Importance of Conductors in the Community.” Former Blue Suede Brigade member Fannie Garner and Lockard presented the Harriet Tubman Living Legend Leadership Award to Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris, City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, City of Millington Mayor Terry Jones, and Shelby County’s first African American Sheriff, Floyd Bonner. Entertainment was provided by Taylor and Rep. Cooper ended the event with a few announcements, closing words, and invited all in attendance to join her and the Living Legends Award team for refreshments. It was truly an event that recognized the work of so many Memphians who work daily to make Shelby County the best place it can be to live, work, and play. 14

Honoree Dr. Freda Garner Williams (from left) and presenters Senator Raumesh Akbari Esq., Dr. Ed Ford Jr., and Carolyn Bell-Black. Honoree Dr. Joris M. Ray Honoree Wiley Henry (Front row, seated from left) is pictured with his wife Debra Henry and Honoree Ruby Payne (right). Photograph by Andrew Withers Presenters Riki Stone (left) and Linda Street Beale Street Landing Iman Zenoria D. Nelson (left) and The event honored current Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland... former Mayor AC Wharton (right) Picture by Terrance Mason The “Conductors of All Times” Living Legend Awards ceremony was held from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, 2019, at Beale Street Landing. 15

Story and Pictures by Dr. Yvonne D. Nelson First Lady, Conference Founder, and Coordinator Denise L. Fisher and the Ladies of Abyssinian Missionary Baptist Church, 3890 Millbranch Road, presented their third annual Women’s Empowerment Conference on Saturday, March 23, 2019. This year’s event, themed #IAMHER: I Am Enough!, was inspired from 1 Corinthians 15:10. “The focal point of the #IAMHER movement is to empower women,” said Fisher. “Today, we want you to be reminded of who you really are.” Minister Regina Clark gave the opening prayer and Minister Tameka Greer set the tone for the multiple workshop event with a spoken word moment. Each of the three rounds of workshops were split into two topics and attendees could choose the workshop that was most relevant for them to attend. “Our committee has been working hard to plan a wonderful day for you, full of learning, laughter, and light-hearted fun,” said Fisher. “You are what makes this conference and this movement so impactful.” Workshop presenters scheduled to attend the event included Ashley Dortch, LMSW; Jacqueline E. Oselen; Rev. Alaenor Faye London; Pastor Karren D. Todd; Rachel Sumner Haaga; Zaquishia Green, and Keynote Speaker Dr. Rosalyn Nichols. Also scheduled on the program was musical guest D’Monet. “We pray that you receive something that will stick (Above) Minister Tameka Greer provided a spoken word moment during the 3rd annual Women’s Empowerment Conference held March 23, 2019. (Below left) Danielle Huggins (left) and her mother, Lavern Huggins are members and Ladies of Abyssinian MB Church. with you in the years to come,” said Fisher. “Let’s give ourselves a chance. We are enough! You are enough! I Am Enough! Be empowered, be inspired my sisters.” Top (center) Scene of speaker and group interacting during Round 1, Workshop 2: Sowing into Self: Sacred Self-Care for Each Season of a Woman’s Life. (Left) Event Founder and Coordinator, Denise Fisher, welcomed guests and provided a program overview and housekeeping tips and rules. (Above) Sample literature and free sample products provided for event attendees. 16

FEATURED Shelby County SPEAKERS THIS MONTH: Real Estate Specialist Gloria Kelly and Real Estate Agent Mitzi Gatewood Turnage of the SHELBY COUNTY LAND BANK and Reverend Dr. Earle J. Fisher Senior Pastor of Abyssinian Missionary Baptist Church, Founder, UptheVote901 and the 2019 Memphis, TN People’s Convention (For all Shelby County Residents and Especially Created) 17

Story and Pictures by Dr. Yvonne D. Nelson For the month of March 2019, the Businesses United to Recognize Educators (B.U.R.E.) honored the following individuals with Outstanding Educators of the Month awards in the following categories… Attorney Dorsey E. Hopson II, Esq. Dr. Joris M. Ray, Shelby County Schools Superintendent Brian Stockton, Shelby County Schools Chief of Staff Keith O. Williams, Shelby County Education Association, Executive Director The 2019 African American History Legacy in Education Award (All) Cynthia Amis Dickerson, Author The Ruby J. Payne Outstanding Author of the Month Award Dr. Vera Downey, Oakshire Elementary –Legacy School, Retired Elementary Educator The Willie W. Herenton Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award Damon E. Friends, Airways Achievement Academy The Commodore C. Primous Outstanding Male Educator of the Month Award James F. Hughes, SCS Professional Asbestos Technician The Pat B. Moore Outstanding Auxiliary Educator of the Month Award Audrey M. Johnson, Hamilton Middle School The John W. White Outstanding Principal of the Month Award Audrey M. Johnson, Hamilton Middle School The Sara L. Lewis Outstanding School of the Month Award Dr. Yvonne D. Nelson, Senior Publicist, NEWSCENE newsmagazine online at iLoveShelbyCounty.com The Jimmy Delnoah Williams Friend to Education Award Tyjauna L. Smith, Westhaven Elementary School The Margaret Bland McKissick-Larry Outstanding Female Educator of the Month Award Erica S. Streeter, DuBois Elementary School of Arts and Technology, Parent-Teacher Association President The Kiwayna and Trennie Lanier Williams Outstanding Parent of the Month Award Gwendolyn Wright, Tennessee Commission Regional Coordinator The Ophelia Watson Flowers Outstanding Program of the Month Award The monthly event is held in the auditorium at the Memphis-Shelby County Education Association, 126 Flicker Street, behind the Shelby County Board of Education Building. The program began at 5 p.m. with an opening and welcome by CrownStar Enterprises, President; StarNewsVIP.com, Publisher and Editor; Memphis Silver Star News, Associate Publisher and Editor; and Airways Lamar Business Association, President and CEO, Trennie L. Williams. The first four awardees were awarded with the 2019 African American History Legacy in Education Award. Upon receiving a unanimous vote by the Shelby County School Board in 2018, Dr. Joris M. Ray, a product of Whitehaven High School with a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Memphis, was recently installed as the Interim Superintendent of Shelby County Schools. He was the one of the four awardees in this category to speak and he spoke directly to the “marvelous job” our SCS teachers perform on a daily basis. “Our teachers do a marvelous job on a daily basis,” said Ray, a 20-plus year MCS/SCS employee, who began to talk about the steps to Destination 2025, a 10-year strategic plan designed to (1) improve the quality of public education, (2) create a more knowledgeable productive workforce that will (3) ultimately benefit the entire Shelby County community. “Step two is social-emotional learning which talks about childhood trauma. Our teachers everyday deal with traumatic situations. Teachers, if they can just get to delivering instruction, because they have to wipe noses, take people to the restroom, call momma’s… that’s the plight of teachers. To the educators in the room, We have to take our own profession seriously, we have to walk the walk and talk the talk. I am a teacher first, I love Shelby County Schools, and there is victory in a classroom everyday. We have students [who are] hurting, [who are] suffering, and we have to reach them. We’ve got to do something about it.” Mr. Keith O. Williams, Memphis Shelby County Education Association Executive Director spoke next. After reciting a poem and thanking his wife of 46 years for her 39 years of loyalty to the profession, he spoke briefly detailing his history 18

in the field of education. “She’s been teaching 39 years today and is still working ,” said Williams. “When you retire, I’ll come home too. I’ve been teaching 42 years in this school district, but they have been years of joy and years of pleasure. When I started teaching, schools were segregated. I saw them integrate and I saw them segregate again, but I enjoyed every day of my life teaching children. I taught English, high school English for all of those years, and that was such a pleasant experience; I went to curriculum, then came here as president, and wound up as executive director; but, it’s time for me to go home and I know it’s time for me to go home and I’m going home..., but I have a passion for teaching and for learning and for teachers everywhere and I pray Godspeed on this district and this effort that you all have and these programs.” Trennie Williams returned to the mic followed by Ruby Payne who introduced Hickory Ridge Elementary teacher Carol Pleasant who performed a tribute to music for the legacy honorees. Margaret Bland McKissick-Larry, a long-time district employee, acknowledged the superintendents and everyone in attendance and requested the award honoree for the Outstanding Female Educator of the Month Award to come to the podium to be acknowledged. “I would like for Mrs. Tyjauna Vance-Smith and company to please join me at the podium,” said McKissick-Larry. “We want to present an award to her along with her family. She’s from Westhaven Elementary, she’s a first-grade teacher! My hat is off to any first-grade teacher.” “Although she’s only been a first-grade teacher for two years, she has been a teacher for 20 years. She is married and is a member of Brown Baptist Church where Bartholomew Orr is the Senior Pastor. Smith enjoys traveling, shopping, enjoying group activities, and she also published a book.” “I self-published a book years ago and it’s entitled “I Remember Mama,” and its just a memoir I created to remember my grandmother,” said Smith. Tyjauna Vance-Smith’s book, I Remember Mama, was published (09/01/04) and is available on Amazon. She is known for always teaching the whole child. The program continued and after all the honorees were introduced and each person was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from Shelby County Board of Commissioners signed by Commissioner Eddie S. Jones Jr. and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition in recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to the community, signed by the Tennessee 9th District Congressman, Steve Cohen, a prayer was given by a member in the audience, the program was adjourned, and dinner was served. Seated (from left) at the March 2019 Businesses United to Recognize Educators awards ceremony are Carolyn Pleasant, Vachenzia McKinney, Pat Moore, Ruby Payne, and Callie Clark; (Standing) Reverend Trennie Williams, John Shoemaker, Joe Dixon, James Bacchus, Dr. Joris Ray, Atty. Dorsey Hopson, Keith O. Williams, and John W. White. 19

The 2019 African American History Legacy in Education Award honorees (from left) Keith O. Williams, Dr. Joris M. Ray, and Attorney Dorsey E. Hopson II were acknowledged for their life-time accomplishments by B.U.R.E. Host Trennie Williams (right) during the March Educators of the Month program held March 21, 2019, in the auditorium of the Memphis Shelby County Education Association building. (Not pictured: Brian Stockton, Memphis Shelby County Schools Chief of Staff. (Below left) B.U.R.E. Hostess Ruby Payne (left) assists John W. White as he prepares to present the Outstanding Principal of the Month Award to Audrey M. Johnson of Hamilton Middle School. (Below right) Hamilton Middle School Principal Audrey M. Johnson. 20

Citywide Shelby County Schools Professional Asbestos Technician, James F. Hughes (top center and second from left below), is pictured with his family (from left) wife, mother, daughter, and son and a few co-workers. Hughes, pictured at the Memphis Shelby County Board of Education building, was the recipient of The Pat B. Moore Outstanding Auxiliary Educator of the Month for March. 21

Presented by Margaret Bland McKissick-Larry herself (top left) B.U.R.E. Outstanding Female Educator of the Month honoree, Tyjauna L. Smith (center, left), is recognized by her daughter and son during the March 2019 ceremony. (Top right) Damon E. Friends (left) was recognized as the Outstanding Male Educator of the Month by award namesake, Commodore C. Primous. (Below) Honorees were joined by family and friends as they received honors from the Businesses United to Recognize Educators monthly awards ceremony for the month of March 2019. 22

(Top left) Ruby J. Payne Outstanding Author of the Month honoree (left) Cynthia Amis Dickerson had books on hand and held a book signing during the event. (Top right) Gwendolyn Wright, Regional Coordinator of the Memphis/Shelby County Children and Youth Council received The Ophelia Watson Flowers Outstanding Program of the Month award during the March Outstanding Educators awards ceremony. (Below) The Kiwayna and Trennie Lanier Williams Outstanding Parent of the Month award was presented to Erica S. Streeter (center), PTA President, DuBois Elementary School of Arts and Technology by Kiwayna and Trennie L. Williams (far right). 23

Responsible Choice By Brady Henderson I believe that one of the biggest challenges we face today is the problem of choice; that is to say, whether we are making productive choices or unproductive choices. Essentially, there are three groups of choice makers in society: asocial negative, asocial neutral, and asocial positive. Let's take a brief look at each of these. The asocial negative choice makers are choice makers who are mainly focused on making choices that give them a sense of power, control, creature comfort, or some other external personal pleasure at the expense of others. These choice makers are anti-community; thus, they litter their community with trash, violence, and a general disdain for authority. They have very low hopes for all people, with the exception of themselves. And, they lack emotional balance. The asocial neutral choice makers are the choice makers who are so tired of making choices, especially asocial negative choices, until they shut down and try to avoid making the inevitable choices that have to be made in the dynamic environment called life. These choice makers just want the world to slow down.; They simply observe and react to what asocial negative or asocial positive choice makers do or are doing. The asocial positive choice makers are the choice makers who are mainly focused on making the world a better place. They consider themselves as being in the world but not of the world. Asocial positive choice makers make choices that are productive and community building; they are pro-community and work for the betterment of their beloved community. These are the cleaners of society. They clean up the messes that the asocial negative choice makers create. They are emotionally balanced and have high hopes for all people. Below is a chart that graphically describes the above three groups of choice makers. Finally, I invite you to examine the figure below and decide where you see yourself on what I call The Asocial Scale. It’s a simple process. Look at the Scale and select the location on it that you believe best represents your position. Okay, here we go.... The Asocial Scale Now that you’ve completed the above exercise, spend the next few days observing your behavior and the behavior of others around you. Based on the descriptions of choice makers we have discussed, decide which category of asocial choice makers best describes you and those you have observed. Until next time...... 24


Story and Pictures by Dr. Yvonne D. Nelson, So it has been said, by current Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, that “in our third century, Memphis will build up, not out. Memphis will be a city that anchors growth on strengths of the core and neighborhoods; a city of greater connectivity and access; a city of opportunity for all.” Not so fast says Memphis resident and 45-year tenured community activist, Dr. Carnita Atwater, who had planned to hold a peaceful march and rally on Saturday, March 30, 2019. Not only did Atwater say the city of Memphis changed her route plan, but they also denied the application she turned in Monday on Friday, the day before the scheduled event, when informing Atwater that a $2,000 payment was due before closing that day. Dr. Atwater is opposed to the Memphis 3.0 Plan. “You can drive around New Chicago and all over the city of Memphis and they [the city] talking about Memphis has momentum,” said Atwater. “Momentum for who? In what community? Do you see any momentum in this neighborhood? You see a war zone in this neighborhood.” The actual Memphis 3.0 plan and its related transit vision documents are available online and additional information can be found on Facebook. The first reading by members of the Memphis City Council was held on March 19, 2019. “We need your support in Council Chambers,” said Atwater. “We wear red because it represents the blood of our ancestors. We are asking you to put on your red, get signatures from your friends and neighbors, sign our petition, drop it off or bring it to City Council Chambers later this month.” The second reading will begin at 3:30 pm April 16th in Council Chambers, 125 N. Main Street, and the third reading is currently scheduled to be held at the same time and location on April 30th. (Above) Dr. Carnita Atwater (right) discusses why she is adamant that the Memphis 3.0 Plan does not provide equal representation for all residents of Memphis, TN, as she speaks on several facts to support her opinion including, but not limited to, high crime areas of Memphis with no police station that are the equivalency of living in a war zone area; little to no funding and no type of benefits for predominantly African American neighborhoods; traditionally black neighborhoods being converted, through gentrification efforts, into neighborhood’s blacks can no longer afford to reside in once redeveloped and other oversights in the plan to prove her point. Pictured with Atwater is Minister Betty Patrick Tyler who is showing a printout of the sensibly planned route presented to the police department for Saturday’s peaceful march as Atwater talks about the insensible route the police department authorized her march to take. (Below) Oka Nashoba Chickasaw Nation Center youth and granddaughters of Andre Mathews, Chickasaw, Choctaw Studies and Registry expert, were invited to participate in the peaceful march and presentation to begin from the New Chicago Community Development Corporation/African American History Museum, 1036 Firestone Avenue, at noon on Saturday, March 30, 2019. 26

(Above right) Dr. Carnita Atwater, an activist in Memphis with more than 45 years of experience in fighting for the un– and the underrepresented. She is the owner of the former Firestone Union Hall building where the New Chicago CDC began and where she recently opened the African American History Museum which features artifacts dating back to slavery, items that once belonged to Sammie Davis Jr., and much more. (Left) Andre Mathews (front center) and members of the Oka Nashoba Chickasaw Nation arrive at the event on a float they prepared to participate in the March. (Bottom left) The event was attended by some 30-50 people who were prepared to participate in the march. (Right) Abdul Yahweh, formerly known as Sweet Willie Wine, was present to show his support of Dr. Carnita Atwater and her fight against the injustices presented in the Memphis 3.0 Plan. Download your petition against the plan. 27

Story and Pictures by Dr. Yvonne D. Nelson Above: Lyrikal Jenkins hosted a Celebrity Paint Workshop on March 23. Below left: Aisha Johnson and Nile Murray attended the event. Top left: Dad Brandon Goodrich looks as his daughter Sydney paints her celebrity’s face. Right top Shon Wilson and his son Aliajh Wilson work on their paintings. Lyrikal Jenkins, CEO and Founder of Amazing Creations by Lyrikal, hosted a Celebrity Paint Workshop from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, 2019. The family experience workshop is one of many family entertainment activities the young entrepreneur occasionally sponsors in the Memphis community. “My purpose for becoming an entrepreneur was to inspire teens and younger children to put their talents to use,” said Jenkins. “I also wanted to make my own money so that I did not have to always depend on my mom and step-dad.” Lyrikal, whose work somewhat parallels that of her mother, Memphis author and No More Silence Foundation founder, LaTrossica Wilson, has produced several short videos, hosted duct tape craft parties for children, workshops, and more. “The mission of the No More Silence Foundation is to provide coping mechanisms through the arts using multiple educational strategies to help with healing from sexual abuse trauma in multipurpose ways,” said Wilson. “Sexually abused children who keep quiet about the abuse or ones that tell and are not believed are at greater risk for psychological, emotional, social, and physical problems, often lasting into adulthood. In addition to arts camps, our programs include therapeutic sessions for families, groups, and individuals; reliable resources, tutoring, mentoring, educational workshops, and awareness events.” To help raise funds for programs, the community is invited to support the foundation’s Delicious Breakfast fundraiser on Saturday mornings from 8 –11 AM. For a donation as low as $5, different chefs will prepare their individual delicious breakfast cuisine for your cost-effective and tasty family morning meal. Breakfast is made to go, no pre-ordering is necessary. Just drop by the NMS Foundation, in the strip mall located at 3865 Winchester at Getwell Road, Suite #6. NMSF is currently offering an After School Drop-In Workshop, for 4-11 year olds, daily from 3:30 to 6:00 PM and they will host an Arts Summer Camp, for ages 4-15, from May 27 through July 26. The Arts Summer Camp will feature Arts & Crafts, Basic Piano Lessons, Cooking Classes and more! For details or to enroll in either program, call (662) 510-4751. 28


The TN Department of Children’s Services (DCS) In Conjunction With Cathedral of Faith Collaborative Today Is Seeking Male and Female COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVES... Community Representatives, especially males, are in demand and you can help by donating a few hours to become trained as a certified volunteer who will be present during DCS Child and Family Team Meetings (CFTM) in order to provide a community voice to critical decisions that are made regarding the children and families in DCS custody. A Community Representative, being both outside of the family whose child has been placed into custody and the potential foster family, serve as a voice from the community to assist in identifying resources, sharing ideas for ensuring the children’s safety and well-being, while supporting the family itself. The interactive training session with role playing includes lunch and an overview of the policies, procedures, and protocol required to be a successful and effective Community Representative. “Every child needs a home,” says Cathedral of Faith Collaborative Leader, Connie Booker. “We can assist you if you’re wanting to serve as a Community Representative, Foster Parent, or to Adopt a child. Remember, the child you save could be your own!” For more information, visit us online, email us, call (901) 327-1616 or Tennessee Department of Children’s Services representatives Volunteer Coordinator Vanessa Coburn, Corlista Washington, Kayla Williams, and Daphne Swift (pictured) recently held a training session for new people interested in becoming trained as volunteer Community Representatives. For information and to find out about upcoming training sessions, Email the Cathedral of Faith. drop by 2212 Jackson Avenue, Memphis, TN 38112. Appointments are preferred. The Cathedral of Faith Community Church, where Pastor C. L. Booker is the Sr. Pastor and the First Lady is Connie Booker, is a community church in the community, for the community. In addition to hosting the DCS Collaboration, the Cathedral of Faith Community Church offers assistance through their clothes closet and the Great River Charitable Clinic of licensed doctors, dentists, optometrists, nurses, pharmacists, medical personnel, and other healthcare professionals who serve without pay. 30

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(Continued from the March 2019 edition of NEWSCENE) This was in 1925, several years before the Memphis Cotton Carnival was organized and many years before Dr. Venson ever though about the Beale Street Cotton Makers Fiesta. I have concluded that Dr. Venson had long since had a desire to organize a celebration of sorts before viewing Carnival’s parade in 1934. By May of 1935, Dr. Venson had compiled a list of Black leaders in the Memphis community By this time, Dr. Venson and Ethyl had already gotten married. The members of this committee assembled by Dr. Venson represented the most influential and progressive group of black leaders ever assembled in Memphis for a single cause, “to organize a Negro celebration.” He called a meeting with these leaders to discuss organizing a Black celebration in Memphis. In Dr. Venson’s opening statement to this distinguished assembly set the tone for the meeting. His words were, “The idea of an organization doing unselfish service with no individual financial gain to its membership, is something in which our people have had little training. The strength of a group or Nation is determined through its ability to marshal its constituency behind a program for the benefit of the whole.” He met with this group and formed a Board of Directors to participate in organizing and promoting a celebration for the Black community in Memphis, This board was comprised of doctors, businessmen, ministers, homemakers, and educators. Robert R. Church Sr., a landowner, real estate investor, and the south’s first Black millionaire, was one of the members of the Board of Directors. When there was no place for the Black community to have public events in Memphis, Mr. Church donated land to the city of Memphis, and Robert R. Church Park was constructed. As a part of the Park, facing Beale Street, the city built the Beale Street Auditorium consisting of a gymnasium and office space. Mr. Church suggested they use the Beale Street Auditorium as a meeting place for the Board of Directors. During one of the meetings, a picture was made of the men and women serving on this board. The board members shown are (Front row from left) Mrs. Mable Love, Mrs. Walter Pamphlet, Mrs. Jackie Adams, Ms. Lucy Campbell, Dr. Benjamin F. McCleaves, Mrs. Ethyl H. Venson, Mr. Colorado Johnson, Mr. Clifton Satterfield, Mr. John McFathom, and Mrs. Sarah Gray. (Second row) Mr. Walter Pamphlet, Dr. Cooper E. Taylor, Mrs. Anne Stribling, Mrs. Mildred G. Lewis, Mrs. Annie Byrd Hickman, Mrs. M. S. Stuat, Mrs. Louis Swingler, and Dr. R. Q. Venson. (Third row) Mr. D. W. Cook, Mr. Hosea Bridges, Mr. John Brown, Mr. Irby Fogelman, Mr. Ossie Moss, Mr. J. D. Springer, Mr. Joseph Cotton, Mr. Martin Young, Mr. Roosevelt Hicks, Mr. Robert Morris, and Mr. J. A. Swaye. Not shown on the picture are board members Elder Blair T. Hunt, Mr. Robert R. Church Sr., Bishop Victor Williams, Mr. Eddie F. Hayes Sr., Mr. Nathaniel “Nat” D. Williams, Dr. J.J. Raines, Lt. George W. Lee, Mr. H. A. Hooks Jr., Dr. Sherman B. Hickman, and Mr. Jasper Duncan. 34

An Inspired Organizing Board of Directors This group of inspired men and women seemed to have taken their task with what must have been a divine mission. They met for close to a year and put together the plans for a celebration for Memphis, the likes of which the eyes had never seen. They worked together in harmony with one purpose, to make Negros in Memphis and the Mid-south proud; proud of themselves and proud when witnessing the unfolding of an event that should never be forgotten. I was not there, but I know from the magnitude of the 1936 celebration, called “Beale Street Cotton Makers’ Fiesta,” available financing was slim at best. Therefore, these men and women, for the most part, made personal financial contributions in order to accomplish their goal. Each, according to their means. The organization firs established its office from which to conduct its business in an adjoining office next to Dr. Venson’s dental office on the second floor of 179 Beale Street. Seven members of the Board of Director for the Memphis Cotton Makers’ Jubilee were members of St. John Baptist Church where Dr. Venson was a member and Chairman of the Trustee Board. These members included Dr. R. Q. Venson, Mrs. Ethyl H. Venson, Mr. Clifton Satterfield, Professor Robert Morris, Mr. Joseph Cotton, Mrs. Sara Gray, and Professor Nathaniel “Nat” D. Williams. In later years, there were other members of St. John Baptist Church that served in leadership roles for the Memphis Cotton Makers’ Jubilee. Some of whom included Mrs. Susie P. Hightower, Mr. Rufus Thomas (past King, 1953), Mr. Frank Gray, Mrs. Lillian Dunlap, Professor Edward Gray (past King, 1963), Mr. Thomas Lumpkins (past King, 1949), Mrs. Beulah Mackey-Williams, Mrs. Katie Johnson, Ms. Virginia Gray-Westbrook (first Spirit of Cotton, 1941), and yours truly, Mr. Clyde R. Venson, Dr. Venson’s nephew and past King, 1966. A Seed is Planted in Dr. Venson’s Mind The first celebration, themed “The Negro Sings,” was held May 14-18, 1936. It was a big success. It was named “Beale Street Cotton Makers’ Fiesta.” The first Royal King and Queen couple were King Eddie F. Hayes Sr., and Queen Ethyl H. Venson. King Eddie from the House of Hayes, was a leading Memphis businessman and an undertaker from the North Memphis area. He was also the Vice Mayor of Beale Street. Queen Ethyl from the house of Venson was the newly-wed wife of Dr. R. Q. Venson, founder of the celebration and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Queen Ethyl was a social and civic worker in the Memphis community. King Eddie was dressed in purple shorts and wartime era long brown lisle hose stocking, a white collar and French cuffs shirt, purple cape, and goldtinted shoes. His crown, a deep purple hue sat inside a gold headband. He finished the look off by carrying a gold scepter, representing his symbol of authority. Queen Ethyl wore an elegant white cotton gown with large ruffles starting just above the knees and ending in a foot train. Her gold crown was adorned with stars. When asked why she wanted to be the first queen, she replied, “ When I leaned that Dr. Venson was paying for the queen’s gown, I knew who the queen would be!” The first celebration took Memphis by storm. For the first time since gaining notoriety, none other than William Christopher “W. C.” Handy, the Father of the Blues himself, was summoned and returned to Memphis from New York for the celebration. Mr. Handy served as the Grand Marshall of the Grand Fiesta Parade. In honor of his success and in recognition of the Fiesta, Memphis bands played three of Handy’s greatest hits, “Memphis Blues,” “Beale Street Blues,” and “St. Louis Blues,” for the entire week. Handy, who did not realize it at the time, had just begun an annual tradition of returning to Memphis in May for this annual event where he rode in the first automobile in the parade, doffing his hat from left and right as the vehicle slowly proceeded through the entire parade route. Despite the limited amount of publicity and funds available to promote the event, the celebration attracted nationwide attention because of its color and promise. 35

Advertise Your Business or Promote Your Event Free Calendar Listings and 15% OFF Your Ad through May 1, 2019 Thank you for subscribing to our first NEWSCENE publication. We are the NEW SCENE where NEWS is SEEN! We hope you enjoyed the stories about and the pictures taken at events we visited last month. We are looking forward to sharing more pictures and stories with you next month about the many events taking place this month. As you know, we can’t be at more than one event at a time, but we are here to assist you to get your events online, in our calendar, and in print. Don’t forget you can click on the links that are included to visit websites, blogs, Facebook pages and more! We want to be the first place you look to learn about the things happening in your community, but we won’t know about what’s happening unless you tell us. Write to us at Memphis.Meetings@gmail.com or call (901) 300-0250 to leave us a message. We promise to return your call in a timely fashion. NEWSCENE . . . ...is currently seeking ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS and passionate and outgoing volunteer photojournalists who can write stories and take pictures at local events. Interested persons should phone (901) 300-0250 for details. 36

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