Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Postings on the News and Current Events Page


Postings for this page are now sent to subscribers on the website's mailing list.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Neighborhood Pictures, Information and Latest Obituary



Pictures from this year's Rhythm In Riverview and the latest obituary are available via email, to everyone who is on the Sons of Douglass webite's mailing list.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Board Meeting Notice

The board of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association will have a meeting on Saturday, July 16th, 2016.

The meeting will be held at 1 PM in the Eastman Conference Room of the V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Complex tower, 301 Louis Street, Kingsport, TN.

All board members are requested to be present, and those with business before the board are also invited to attend.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

What's Your Pleasure at Rhythm In Riverview?



THIS STORY COURTESY THE KINGSPORT TIMES-NEWS

By CALVIN SNEED
Community contributor


KINGSPORT — You might think Mother Nature loves Rhythm In Riverview as much as the music lovers who flock to the event every year.

Last year, a severe thunderstorm moved the featured musical act inside the nearby V.O. Dobbins Community Center gymnasium. Two years ago, heavy rain interrupted the event for about 30 minutes. But the weather has not stopped Rhythm in Riverview from getting bigger because more people keep coming back.

“Rhythm In Riverview is an integral part of our yearly activities,” says Kingsport Fun Fest Director Lucy Fleming. “Anytime we can have an event outside the main Fun Fest venue that includes music, entertainment, fun, food and activities for children is wonderful. Rhythm In Riverview attracts people of all cultures and all ages to come outside and play during the summer. We absolutely love it.”


Some familiar faces will be back on the entertainment stage this year. Liquid Pleasure, the multitalented, high-octane soul, rock and funk music group from Chapel Hill, N.C., has been invited back to the main stage at the V.O. Dobbins ball field. Last year’s sudden thunderstorm not only moved their show inside the gym, but it also shortened the band’s performance.

“The rain caught us off guard,” says band spokesman Kenny Mann. “We still had a great show inside, but I felt that the people did not get a chance to experience a lot of Liquid Pleasure. Inside the gym was good, but we’re looking forward to coming back and doing a great show on the outdoor stage. Of course, weather permitting,’’ he laughed.

“We just wanted to give the band a chance to come back, and show everybody what they can do,” Fleming says. “Their female lead singer was doing Tina Turner better than Tina Turner. We heard from a lot of people who told us they wanted to hear them again, and the band is back because of that demand for them. Until that thunderstorm, they were doing great.”


So, “weather permitting,” what will the crowds get with Liquid Pleasure this time around?

“You’re going to get a show that’s going to make you want to dance,” Mann says. “Before we play the first song, we sort of scan the audience, looking at the faces in the crowd. We always tailor our songs on the fly based on who’s come to hear us, especially the families. We look out and we see a 65-yearold grandmother. ... We know she’ll want to hear some Al Green. Her daughter probably needs to hear some Earth, Wind and Fire. The granddaughter we know is a Montell Jordan fan. The 10-year old great-granddaughter is nothing but Beyonce. They all get what they want, because we know our audience.”


Surprisingly, you’re also going to get some Disney. Not Disney music, but the Disney technique.

“My biggest influence on music presentation believe it or not, was Walt Disney,” Mann says. “He wanted to have everybody involved in any musical event at his parks. Disney has songs that you can sing to. We have songs you can dance to. People are always talking about how they can jam at Rhythm In Riverview. You’re going to get the best of Liquid Pleasure in Kingsport, just like you’d get the best of Disney down in Florida.”


Rhythm In Riverview, which is scheduled for Monday, July 18, has always related to family entertainment .

“The activities this time start around 3 p.m. with the Kids Zone,” says event coordinator Johnnie Mae Swagerty, director of the South Central Kingsport Community Development Corporation. “We’ll have inflatables for the middle kids, a bubble factory for the smaller ones, and a football toss for the older children sponsored by the National Guard Armory. The FSNB Bank is having face painting for the kids, and this year, their parents can get their faces painted too. There’s also corn hole, basketball, the Riverview Splash Pad activities from Kingsport Parks and Rec, and also the toilet roll.”

Whoa, Johnnie Mae. What’s a toilet roll?


“It’s more of a mummy roll,” she laughs. “Kids get to completely wrap their parents or friends or whomever in toilet paper. We’ve done it before, and the kids just love it. We’re always looking for new ways to keep the kids entertained.” Pausing to think, she says, “If we can show them how much fun it is to roll their parents and friends, hopefully they won’t do it to a yard later on.”

Other events on the ball field include a free all-day eye clinic sponsored by Dr. Donny Reeves and other health activities sponsored by ETSU Health Chat and Healthy Kingsport.

Musically, a Gospel Fest takes over from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., with music from Witness, the Full Gospel Mission Choir and P&P Ministry in Song. Then Liquid Pleasure takes the main stage at 7 p.m.


And what would a Rhythm In Riverview be without food? Last year’s fare made the biggest impression on Liquid Pleasure’s Mann.

“It was the best dang-gone food we’ve ever had, anywhere,” Mann remembers. “That barbecue chicken and shoulder and those baked beans were just like my daddy used to make. It was so good... totally made up for the rain. The band members still talk about that food ... even took some of it away with them.”

Along with the barbecue, count on booths and outlets with fish, shaved ice, smoothies, hand-rolled pretzels, even chocolate-dipped cheesecake on a stick. If you can imagine it, you’ll probably find it on the menu at Rhythm In Riverview this year.


Rhythm In Riverview, sponsored by Eastman and the Greater Kingsport Alliance for Development will be held at the V.O. Dobbins Community Center ball field, at the corner of M.L. King Drive and Louis Street.

In case of rain, the nearby inside gym is a suitable Plan B, but the outside ball field will make a memorable Plan A for anyone attending this year’s event.

Harris 40th Anniversary



"Yes", was the response from Carolyn when Tony asked for her hand in marriage which took place July 03, 1976.

On July 03, 2016, Mr. and Mrs. Tony Harris of Kingsport, TN celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary.

They are the parents of two sons: Jonathan (Shauna) of Cary, NC and Anthony of Takoma Park, MD.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July!


Here's hoping that you had a wonderful 4th of July celebration wherever you are!

Here's how the home folks celebrated it in Kingsport, as viewed by your Douglass website reporter on the scene and on the job! (Be sure to turn your speakers on)


Sunday, July 3, 2016

2016 Douglass-Slater Reunion Banquet


Pictures from the Douglass-Slater Reunion banquet celebrating the former Douglass High School, Bristol, VA, and the former Slater High School, Bristol, TN.

The banquet held on Saturday night, July 2, 2016 at the Holiday Inn, Bristol, VA.

Make sure your speakers are on.


Monday, June 20, 2016

New Resource to Help End Homelessness in Kingsport


FROM KERMIT ADDINGTON, WITH THE OPEN DOORS PROGRAM TO HELP END HOMELESSNESS IN OUR CITY--CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO MAKE THEM BIGGER



We are so excited to announce that Eastman Credit Union has donated us a HOUSE.

Yes, you read that correctly; We got a house.

We are so thankful, and honored that they see our mission and goals .

The house is located on Steadman Street in Kingsport. We intend to turn this home into an emergency homeless shelter like no other in Kingsport.

Open Doors Kingsport is on Facebook. Make sure to stay tuned over the next few days for a chance to name this home, and a chance to possibly win a gift certificate!


Sunday, June 19, 2016

‘It’s the highlight of their school year’

New Vision Youth celebrate underclassman prom

THIS STORY COURTESY THE KINGSPORT TIMES-NEWS

By CALVIN SNEED
Community contributor


KINGSPORT — Who says a prom has to be during the school year?
Members of Kingsport’s New Vision Youth say, “Not so fast.” Their recent prom was a rousing success, even though school has already let out for the summer!

For 15 years now, the New Vision Youth headed by Johnnie Mae Swagerty, has been giving the youth of Kingsport the same kind of prom that upper classmen get at area high schools, except this one is summer-friendly.
Swagerty and her New Vision Youth parents and chaperones hold two separate proms on the same day, one for children ages 4 through 12, and another one for older students, ages 13 through 17.

“Many of the kids don’t get to go to proms,” Swagerty said. “They don’t get to experience the feeling of going to prom, dressing up and showing off to their friends. Even in their casual clothes, they can come here and have a good time, eat some good food, dance to the music and above all, have fun.
“For many of them, it’s the highlight of their school year.”

The New Vision Youth prom had its humble beginnings in 2001 in the cafeteria of the Head Start facility in the old V.O. Dobbins Community Center, the old Douglass High School. As the event caught on, the next one was held in the old Boys and Girls Club in the former Riverview Apartments on Booker Street. From there, it moved to the banquet room at the Elks Lodge and the old 229 Club on Lincoln Street (now Martin Luther King Drive). Then for several years it moved back and forth between the Kingsport Renaissance Center and the Civic Auditorium.


This year, it was held in a formally decorated Douglass Community Room in the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex.

“The spirit of the prom has followed us wherever we’d held it,” Swagerty said. “We do it from the heart, and the graduates who have attended over the years still talk about how much fun they had.”


The highlight of each and every prom is the crowning of the royalty. In the smaller children category, 12-year-old Isiah Dukes, a sixth-grader at John Sevier Middle School, was chosen prince of the prom. Seven-year-old Anna Fields, a second-grader at Central Heights Elementary, was selected princess.


Among the older students, 14-year-old Ayona Barlow, a ninth-grader at Dobyns-Bennett, was crowned queen of the 2016 New Vision Youth Prom. The honor of king of the prom went to 14-yearold Jaquan Thomas, also a ninth-grader at D-B.

There were other winners, too. Kids who found a card under their chairs were given gift cards to a local restaurant. ... Others were picked as winners in the dance competitions. Everyone was judged on how much fun they were having, how courteous they were to their friends, and how mannerly they interacted with others. That’s a strict requirement with Swagerty.


“This year, we had 25 kids in the younger category and 12 among the older children, and they were well-behaved,” said Swagerty. “As a group, we insist on that. They are taught that to be in the New Vision Youth group, they have to respect each other and treat their friends the way they would want to be treated. Respect is something they can take with them the rest of their lives.”


As the New Vision Youth prom seemingly gets bigger every year, Swagerty and the parents who support the program welcome new participants.

“Whether it’s 40 kids, a dozen, even one or two kids ... in this program, we will always have a prom for them.”


A SLIDE SHOW OF THE 2016 NEW VISION YOUTH PROM

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Reunion of the Ages Announcement and Recent Gospel Songfest Event


CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO MAKE THEM LARGER



The Reunion of the Ages get-together is rapidly approaching!

The mission of the Reunion of the Ages is to preserve, hnor and delebrate the history and the heritage of former black educational institutions in the Morristown-Hamblen County area, in conjunction with present and future needs of the community.

The event will be held on July 28-31, 2016. Registration and more information are available at the event website: reunionoftheages.wix.com/reunionoftheages

The host hotel is the Mainstay Suites, 410 Pine Mountain Road, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee 37863. Phone number 1-888-428-8350.

THE REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS THURSDAY, JUNE 30TH!

Contact Walter Evans, 423-586-3957 or Talmar Bryan, 423-736-8482 if you have questions.



Recently, the Reunion of the Ages held its annual Gospel Songfest at the Jefferson Middle School in Jefferson City, Tennessee.

Below are pictures and videos of some of the featured songs at the musical concert.










Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Douglass School Commencement (Final)

CLICK ON THE PROGRAM:





Congratulations to my good friends and former school mates at Douglass High School in Kingsport, TN. Today, the class of 1966 celebrates our 50th graduation anniversary.

-- Don Hickman

Editor's Note:  This was the last commencement at Douglass High School, Kingsport.  The school closed for integration shortly after this commencement in June, 1966.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

New Vision Youth to hold 15th Youth Prom


KINGSPORT — New Vision Youth will hold its 15th annual Youth Prom, Saturday in the V.O. Dobbins Center Douglass Room, at 301 Louis St.

The prom for children ages 4 to 12 will be held from 4-6:30 p.m., and the prom for teens ages 13 to 18 will be held from 7-10 p.m.

The free, chaperoned event is open to all children in the Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia area.
New Vision Youth’s Johnnie Mae Swagerty said attendees don’t need to wear formal prom attire, “Sunday best will be fine.” A prince and princess will be crowned in the 4-12 age category, and the winners will receive a pink sash and trophy.
A king and queen will be crowned in the 13-18 age category, with the winners receiving a purple sash and trophy.

Music will be provided by DJ Smiles, free refreshments will be served and photographs will be made.

Individuals who would like to donate cookies, chips or Capri Sun for the event can bring those items to the V.O. Dobbins Center this week between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The event is being sponsored by New Vision Youth in partnership with South Central Kingsport Community Development, the Kingsport Parks and Recreation Department and Bays Mountain Park.

For more information about the event, contact Swagerty at (423) 429-7553.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Pausing to Remember our Veterans




As a 2016 tribute to our veterans in the Douglass alumni family and the Riverview community, we salute some of the Army, Marine and Navy veterans they descended from.

These pictures were posted in the 1945 Douglass Tiger annual to honor the school's alumni contributions to World War II.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

SW VA Pastor to speak at Women’s Day program Sunday at Ebenezer Baptist



KINGSPORT — A Women’s Day program will be held Sunday, May 22, 2016 at Ebenezer Baptist Church, 1026 Maple Street, beginning at 3 p.m. The guest speaker will be Pastor Carolyn Smith of Macedonia Baptist Church in Applachia, Virginia. The public is invited.

Helping the homeless


From purple ribbons to raise awarness, to an event to give aid, the New Vision Youth members recently sponsored the first in what is hoped to be an annual Homeless Resource Fair in partnership with Open Door Homeless and Preaching Christ Church in Kingsport.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Golf Tournament Suspended



ANNOUNCEMENT:


THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF DOUGLASS SCHOLARSHIP GOLF TOURNAMENT HAS BEEN SUSPENDED.

Organizers say the purse giveaway will go on as scheduled, but the golf tournament planned for Warriors Path State Park on May 21, 2016 has been suspended.



Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Board Meeting Scheduled

There will be a meeting of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association Board on Saturday, May 14, 2016.

The meeting will be held at 12 PM Noon in the Eastman Board Room, 2nd floor, of the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex in Kingsport.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Hawkins high school students helping revive Swift's May Day tradition

THIS STORY COURTESY THE KINGSPORT TIMES-NEWS

Jeff Bobo• May 4, 2016 at 1:48 PM
jbobo@timesnews.net



ROGERSVILLE — For decades, the annual May Day celebration, featuring a picnic and a variety of fun activities, was a spring tradition for students at the historic Swift College and high school
The highlight was always the wrapping of the Maypole, which the girls performed wearing their best dresses.



It’s been more than 60 years since the all-African-American Swift College closed and more than 50 years since the main facility, which was converted into a segregated high school and closed its doors in 1964, was demolished.


But the May Day celebration remains one of the fondest memories of alumni, and about five years ago they revived the tradition with an annual May Day outing at Rogersville City Park.



On Saturday, however, the alumni hope to begin the process of passing the tradition to the younger generations.
For the first time since the celebration was revived, there has been a concerted effort to get students from Cherokee and Volunteer high schools involved.



Stella Gudger, who attended Swift after it became a high school, is now the Swift College Museum curator and helps organize alumni events.

The original May Day celebrations were held at Swift Park.


“Nobody knows when it started because there was always a May Day celebration as far back as anyone could remember,” Gudger said. “It was an annual event started by the college, and after the college ceased to be, and the campus became a high school, of course the high school kids were more than happy to carry on the tradition.”



Gudger recalled, “We would always wrap the Maypole. That was the big thing. The girls would dress up in their prettiest dresses, and they would match the color of the ribbons on the Maypole. We would also have a fashion show, and girls who took home economics, we would actually model our outfits that we made during the year. We had a baseball game and a picnic, and it was just a full day of activities.”



Saturday’s event at Rogersville City Park had a full slate of activities as well, although there was no baseball game on the schedule. Gudger said she hopes to expand the program every year as more people become interested in participating.

Saturday’s event featured a cake auction, bingo, live music and dancing.


A drawing was held that awarded a $200 scholarship to a student from each high school.



The highlight of Saturday’s event was the wrapping of the Maypole, and this year’s participants were seniors from Cherokee and Volunteer. Students from Clinch were invited as well, but they already had an event scheduled, Gudger said.



After the day’s activities, everyone reconvened at the Price Public Community Center and Swift Museum at 6 p.m. for an evening of entertainment and relaxation.



CLICK THE ARROW ABOVE FOR DRONE FOOTAGE OF THE MAY POLE DECORATION

“Each high picked four girls to participate in the wrapping of the Maypole, and they wore their prom dresses,” Gudger said. “We’re really trying to be more diversified. We want people to know about the history of Swift and our preservation efforts, and that’s why we’re inviting everyone to come out and share the May Day celebration with us.”

CLICK THE ARROW BELOW FOR THE 2016 SWIFT "KING & QUEEN" CORONATION:


CLICK THE ARROW BELOW FOR THE SWIFT COLLEGE SCHOOL SONG:


BELOW IS A SLIDE SHOW OF THE 2016 SWIFT REUNION MAY POLE CELEBRATION (TURN SPEAKERS ON):



Friday, May 6, 2016

The Great Golden Gathering 2015 Banquet DVD's are available!


Last year, alumni from 15 former African-American high schools from Big Stone Gap and
Appalachia, down to Bristol, Kingsport, Johnson City and Greeneville, on up to Rogersville, then down to Morristown, Newport and Jefferson City and reaching Knoxville.... all got together and celebrated their combined legacies at the first Great Golden Gathering 2015.

Now you can have a souvenir of the banquet that celebrated the good times the schools had back in the day. The banquet, held on August 29, 2015, had songs, laughter, friendly school rivalries, a special message from Rev. Jesse Jackson, and a moving speech by Tennessee NAACP president Gloria Sweet-Love.

The DVD's are $15.00 apiece and is a must for folks' history collections.


To get one, or reserve a copy, please see Andra Watterson with the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association, or any alumni member with any of the 15 alumni associations representing the schools:

Bland (Appalachia-Central), Big Stone Gap
Arty-Lee High School
Douglass, Bristol VA
Slater, Bristol TN
Douglas, Elizabethton
Langston, Johnson City
Douglass, Kingsport
Swift, Rogersville
George Clem, Greeneville
Morristown West (Morristown College), Morristown
Tanner, Newport
Nelson Merry, Jefferson City
Austin, Knoxville

(Arty-Lee, George Clem, Morristown, Tanner, Nelson Merry, and Austin alumni, please contact Calvin Sneed, douglassriverview@gmail.com)>

Great Golden Gathering Banquet DVD's Now Available!

It was the highlight of the biggest reunion of African-American alumni in all of Upper East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

Last year, alumni from 15 former African-American high schools from Big Stone Gap and 

Appalachia, down to Bristol, Kingsport, Johnson City and Greeneville, on up to Rogersville, then down to Morristown, Newport and Jefferson City and reaching Knoxville.... all got together and celebrated their combined legacies at the first Great Golden Gathering 2015.

Now you can have a souvenir of the banquet that celebrated the good times the schools had back in the day.  The banquet, held on August 29, 2015, had songs, laughter, friendly school rivalries, a special message from Rev. Jesse Jackson, and a moving speech by Tennessee NAACP president Gloria Sweet-Love.


The DVD's are $15.00 apiece and is a must for folks' history collections.  


To get one, or reserve a copy, please see Andra Watterson with the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association, or any alumni member with any of the 15 alumni associations representing the schools:


Bland (Appalachia-Central), Big Stone Gap

Arty-Lee High School 
Douglass, Bristol VA
Slater, Bristol TN
Douglas, Elizabethton
Langston, Johnson City
Douglass, Kingsport
Swift, Rogersville
George Clem, Greeneville
Morristown West (Morristown College), Morristown
Tanner, Newport 
Nelson Merry, Jefferson City 
Austin, Knoxville

(Arty-Lee, George Clem, Morristown, Tanner, Nelson Merry, and Austin alumni, please contact Calvin Sneed, douglassriverview@gmail.com)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Upcoming Golf Tournament Benefits Alumni Scholarship Fund

THE GOLF TOURNAMENT HAS BEEN SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY...



One of the biggest golf tournaments in the area will be hosted in Kingsport this month.  In addition to a good game of golf, lucky patrons will also get the chance to bid on designer handbags, professional sports items, and plans are in the works for a hole-in-one on one particular shot, could net one lucky golfer A BRAND NEW CAR!

And the best part?  Proceeds benefit the scholarship fund for the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association.


"It's all about helping the kids," says Gary Maxwell, co-organizer of the event.  "If the kids can get into college, they'll make productive citizens.  We hope the scholarships will help them get to that goal."


The Alumni Scholarship Golf Tournament will be held on Saturday, May 21st at Warriors Path State Park in Kingsport.  Maxwell says, the tournament will take up to 32 teams, and right now 12 teams are committed to play.

"The driver range opens at 12:30 PM," he says, "then a shotgun start at 1 PM.  Each team consists of 4 members, modified select, that includes each player hitting three drives, three approach shots, and three putts.  The cost is $55 dollars per person individual, or $250 dollars for a team signing up together."



"It's going to be a good day to play golf," Maxwell says.

Members of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass will be helping out at the golf course that day.

Then there are the 'goodies' that come along with the tournament.

"We'll be raffling off some major league baseball sports items, also some NFL, NBA and NASCAR things," he says.  "One of the Detroit Tigers pitchers, Daniel Norris from Johnson City, is donating some items for us to raffle off.  I've also talked to (Washington Nationals Baseball right fielder) Bryce Harper about donating to us some sunglasses he promotes.  We'll also have tickets that have been donated, to the night NASCAR race at the Bristol Motor Speedway."


And then... there's the possibility of a new car for one golfer.

"We are very close to securing a donation for a hole-in-one, on Number 14, which will play about 180," Maxwell says.  "There's never been a hole-in-one right there.  The prize is a brand new car, valued between $20,000 and $25,000 dollars.  All the winner has to do if they drop one, is pay the taxes, title and insurance.  There's no additional cost to win the car."


For the ladies, two special raffles give them the chance to sport one of two name-brand handbags worth hundreds of dollars.

"The first one is a blue Michael Kors luxury handbag with a strap, and the other is a striped Prada that also has a strap," says Charlotte Maxwell, who secured them.  "The quality of the leather is what makes them so special.. it's a very soft texture.  You can always tell the originals by the stitching and the solid gold handles and markings on them."


Tickets for the raffles to win one of the handbags are $5.00 apiece.

"Names, address and phone numbers are important," she says, if folks want to enter the raffles.  "If we aren't able to do the raffles at the golf tournament, we'll do them at one of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass alumni meetings, then call that person and let them know they've won."


All in all, a wonderful golf tournament for the people who play, two fantastic handbags for the ladies who don't play golf, plus plenty of food for visitors to eat while watching the tournament, and snacks for the golfers. 

But the kids going off to college, will be the real winners.

"They are our next generation," Maxwell says.  "A lot of kids need financial help once they get to school, if they're unable to get it through the lottery or their parents cannot afford it."



"Everybody who participates in the golf tournament, no matter how they do it, will help some kids who may really need it," he says.