Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New Vision Youth Visit to Atlanta: Experiencing the Life of Dr. King




CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO MAKE THEM LARGER

For years in school, members of the New Vision Youth of Kingsport have only read about the dream of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

For one weekend in late July, the young people got to live the dream.

Members of the New Vision Youth visited Atlanta from July 24th to 27th, 2014 where they toured the King Library and Archives in downtown Atlanta, and also the Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. King served as pastor until he was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

"If it weren't for Dr. King," says New Vision Youth director Johnnie Mae Swagerty, "we as a people would not have the right to travel the way we want, stay where we want, and be who we want to be. We would also not be able to learn the way we want to learn."

"This is one of the trips that these kids needed to take."

After a big breakfast at the hotel that hosted the group, New Vision Youth members, chaperones and guests, about 50 people total, boarded the Maxwell Coach piloted by Charles "D.D." Maxwell, and took a trip to downtown Atlanta, and the Auburn Avenue community, where Dr. King spent much of his life.

Historically know as "Sweet Auburn," the name "Sweet Auburn" was first coined by African-American civic and political leader John Wesley Dobbs, often referred to as the unofficial "mayor" of the Auburn Avenue neighborhood district in Atlanta. The Auburn Historic District is one of 242 officially recognized neighborhoods in the South's largest city.

Although many of the New Vision Youth reside in the Riverview community of Kingsport, the visit to "Sweet Auburn" opened their eyes to the true meaning of "community." At one point, Auburn Avenue was thought to be the "richest Negro Street in the world, surrounded by the all-black businesss district.

First on the tour for the group was the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change. Also known as "The King Center," it is said to be "the largest repository of primary source materials on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement in the world. Began in 1968 by Mrs. Coretta Scott King, the year of her husband's assassination, the center serves as a center is an informational center for visitors looking for resources on activities and gatherings, particularly those with a Civil Rights background.



JEVONTE LYONS ON THE LEGACIES OF DR. AND MRS. KING

Center personnel told the New Vision Youth that they were among the one million visitors who come to the center, many of them coming to pay respects to the crypts of Dr. King and Mrs. King. After he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4th, 1968, the body of Dr. King was first taken to the Southview Cemetery, an all African-American cemetery in Southeast Atlanta. In 1970, his remains were moved to their current resting place, on a riser in the middle of the King Center's rising polls. When Coretta Scott King passed in 2006, she was interred in a crypt alongside her husband.


Elsewhere on the grounds of the King Center was the Eternal Flame, which, according to the plaque in front, "symbolizes the continuing effort to realize Dr. King's dream of the 'Beloved Community,' which requires lasting personal commitment that cannot weaken when faced with obstacles."








Inside the center, New Vision Youth were witnesses to photos and audio recordings of many activities of the Civil Rights movement that touched the lives of Americans, both black and white. The center was envisioned by Mrs. King to be not just a "dead monument," but a living testimonial to her late husband's teachings and doctrines. Center personnel also say, the building is undergoing a renovation that will update much of the information to a digital format, ensuring its preservation for future generations.



The "I Have A Dream" of Dr. King was not lost on the adult chaperones on the New Vision Youth visit.

"'I Have a Dream' will always be true," says Swagerty. "You can take a little bit of what Dr. King said, and make a lot out of it because the 'civil rights and equality for all people' is still true today. We still have a long way to go, despite many people thinking black people are already there. The center helps us get there by showing us struggles along the way that keep us mindful of the non-violent teachings of Dr. King and his humble beginnings that every black person can identify with."

Martin Luther King was born on January 15th, 1929 in this home on Auburn Avenue that is still standing today. Several of the New Vision Youth commented on how much room the house that belonged to his mother's parents seemed to have. When reminded that black families back in the 1930's, 40's and well into the 50's and 60's always hosted more than one family under one roof, visitors, many of them remembering their own family upbringing, could understand why the home must have seemed like a mansion to black families back in the day. For the first 12 years of his life, young Martin was surrounded by his grandparents, his parents (his father a minister), his siblings, other family members and many boarders needing a place to rest their heads.
KEYONNA BENSON TALKS ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE KING BIRTHPLACE



New Vision Youth members took the tour of the King birthplace with silent reflection, imagining what the home means to African-Americans. The home is owned by the National Park Service, and is governed under the same reverence as the home of President Andrew Johnson in Greeneville, Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is a National Historic Site, and is one of several highlights on the tour. An NPS spokesperson conducted the tour for the Youth members, as well as many other visitors who have come to see history.


In the heart of the "Sweet Auburn" district, is the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. Dr. King's grandfather, Reverend A.D. King (who owned the house up the street where young Martin was born and spent his early years) was the church's second pastor beginning in 1893 until 1933. Dr. King's father, Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. became pastor in 1933, and served as the third church pastor until his retirement in 1975, 7 years after his son was assassinated.









DAVID LYTLE TALKS ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE EBENEZER BAPTIST CHURCH



Dr. King was pastor at Ebenezer in 1947 until he left to attend the Crozer Theological Seminary in 1948. After ministrial assignments in Alabama, Dr. King was co-pastor of this church along with his father beginning in 1960, but by his own admission, spent little time there during the Civil Rights movement of the 60's.
EXPERIENCE GOING TO CHURCH DOWN AT EBENEZER



During the week, the Ebenezer Baptist Church is a beacon of light for visitors to the King cultural district of Auburn Avenue. They can listen to recorded sermons delivered by Dr. King from the same pulpit in the church that has been renovated and restored to its original appearance from the 1960-68 time period. Among the New Vision Youth visitors, were many older visitors, who remember vividly the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement. The older ones seemed to get a spiritual lift from hearing Dr. King's voice they have heard in person at one point, while the younger visitors were in awe listening to the spirit of the man they have only read about, whose mere presence gave so many millions encouragement back in the day.

CLICK HERE FOR A SUMMARY OF THIS BEAUTIFUL CHURCH'S HISTORY IN ATLANTA


The historic Ebenezer Batist Church still has an active congregation, serving the community even to this day. Sunday School commences at 9:30 AM, with Sunday worship services at 8 A-M and 11 A-M. Special services for the children also begin at 11 AM, and the church Youth Group meets at 11 AM on the third and fourth Sunday's. Wednesday evening church is at 7 PM.






The New Vision Youth was in for a treat for lunch. Guided carefully through the streets of downtown Atlanta, the Maxwell Coach bus passed by numerous big-name stores and hang-outs, passing Centennial Park, built by the Atlanta Committee for the 1996 Olympic Games. The park plays host to millions of visitors a year and several events.

At the Phillips Area, many people don't realize it, but the steel girders in front, actually spell out the word "Atlanta." It takes a little imagination, but the letters can be seen if one looks closely enough.


 The bus then reached its destination.. the huge complex known as the CNN Center, that houses the news network's world headquarters. But inside the center, is probably its main attraction. 14 fast-food places and 4 restaurants delighted the visitors, which were surrounded by anything CNN.. from the news studios, to the souvenir shops, it's a place where thousands of visitors basically in a nutshell, join downtown Atlanta workers for lunch. Everyone is brought up to day on world events courtesy of several big-screen monitors and loudspeakers scattered around the huge atrium, all set on the main CNN channel. Tours are available at a nominal price, but the New Vision Youth preferred to enjoy lunch in the big atrium.
And what would a visit to Atlanta be, without a little shopping?

On the southside of Atlanta, in the predominately black neighborhood, is a little-known shopping complex called the Discount Market on Godby Road. It is housed in what used to be a department store of the K-Mart variety. Inside are individual stalls resembling a virtual flea market atmosphere.. a gathering of people of many nationalities, selling clothes, electronics, shoes, jewelry, trinkets and items not found in major department stores, at prices that are reasonable for what you get.

The result was a shopping paradise.. if you had 10 dollars, you could walk out with 10 different things.

And many visitors did.  What a busy Friday!

On Saturday, it was on to one of the largest amusement parks in the South.

Way back in 1964, developer Angus Wynne began looking around the country for a location to built a second amusement park.  His first one, Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, had proven so successful, the amusement entrepreur wanted to spread the fun, while spreading the wealth.  The result was Six Flags Over Georgia, a 366-acre combination of rides, food, water, and other attractions, with a Warner Brothers Studios' theme, feature a cast of characters including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the Looney Tunes, along with Batman, Superman, and the Justice League.
The New Vision Youth did what they could, to ride every ride and sample every attraction in the park.

Before returning home on Sunday, members of the Youth's Praise Dance team performed at the Woods Memorial Baptist Church, hosted by current Atlanta resident and former Kingsport resident Teresa Russell.

The New Vision trip to Atlanta was indeed a fun one, both educational, spiritual, informative, enjoyable, and economical.. one that the members will never forget.








IF THE SLIDESHOW DOESN'T START AUTOMATICALLY, CLICK ON THE ALBUM TITLE BELOW TO SEE THE SLIDESHOW OF THE NEW VISION YOUTH TRIP TO ATLANTA



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Celebrate Central Baptist's 96th Anniversary




You are cordially invited to celebrate the 96th anniversary of Kingsport's oldest African-American church.

In an anniversary that goes right along with the upcoming centennial of the birth of the Model City, Central Baptist Church is planning to celebrate 96 years of serving the Riverview and Kingsport communities.

The homecoming event is planned for Sunday, August 17th, 2014.

At the morning worship service, the Reverend Lamar Gordon will preach the Word. Rev. Gordon is the son of beloved former pastor Frederick Gordon, who ministered at Central back in the 1980's. Pastor Gordon passed away only a few months ago. The morning worship service begins at 11 AM.

Dinner for the congregation will be served immediately after the morning service.

For the afternoon service, the church welcomes the Reverend Danny Johnson and the choir from the Thankful Baptist Church of Johnson City.

Being that Central was started in 1918, one year after the city of Kingsport was chartered in 1917, as the growth of the Model City blossoms, so goes the growth of the Central Baptist Church in the Riverview community.

Please come out and help celebrate!


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hail in Kingsport


Hail at Regina Bond Gray's house in Kingsport today, Sunday, July 27, 2014






Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fun Fest Treasure Medallion Hidden at V.O. Dobbins

• In the grand finale of the 2014 Kingsport Fun Fest Treasure Hunt Friday, three medallions were hidden, and the Douglass folks got this note from Mark Franklin about it, and we found info and a picture at the Kingsport Times-News. Check out Mark's first clue.. many of us Douglassites might remember it:

"I have run the Kingsport Treasure Hunt as an independent event during Fun Fest week the past 2 years. I thought your organization would appreciate knowing that this morning I hid a medallion at the old Douglass High School in Riverview. The three clues were:

Fri. 7/18-Med. #2-Clue #1-Ole Slater had a rooster. He sat him on the fence. He cried for this place, 'cause he had some sense.

Fri. 7/18-Med. #2-Clue #2-Where sons and daughters once proudly strolled, through the halls of the blue and gold.

Fri. 7/18-Med. #2-Clue #3-Once named for an orator, now it's a community center. In view of the river, its students used to enter.

My late grandfather attended many Douglass football games. He said the cheerleaders were unmatched by any other squads. He passed along to me the cheer that I used as the first clue."

Chris Rasnick (right) found one of the extra medallions hidden at the old Douglass High School (V.O. Dobbins Sr. Community Center) after the second clue at 12:19 p.m, about 50 minutes after that clue was given. He gets to keep his medallion and received a finder’s T-shirt.

EDITOR'S NOTE:
Our thanks to Mark Franklin for thinking of us.  It's amazing that the young man recognized our alumni name after the second clue; the third clue would have probably given the location away immediately. We should be proud as alumni, that our name is recognized in the community by even the youngest of its citizens!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Douglass-Slater Reunion Pictures



To see pictures from the July 4th 2014 reunion of our friends and neighbors at Douglass-Slater in Bristol, TN/VA, please go to the main page of the website, look on the left hand side under "News Of Our Douglass Friends and Neighbors" and click on the Douglass-Slater link.

Pictures from the July 4th 2014 Langston Reunion in Johnson City, are coming up in a few days, and will be posted on the Langston page, in the same location.

Fun Fest Finds its "Rhythm"


THIS STORY COURTESY THE KINGSPORT TIMES-NEWS, WITH ADDITIONAL INTERVIEWS FROM THE DOUGLASS WEBSITE

By LURAH LOWERY
llowery@timesnews.net


KINGSPORT — Kids ran to the choo-choo train for a ride. Others used bubble wands to create large bubbles while others enjoyed inflatables.

Those fun activities were held as part of Rhythm in Riverview at V.O. Dobbins Field on Monday. The event also included vendors, face painting, games, music and a lollipop contest.

“The event is really almost like a block party,” said Johnnie Mae Swagerty, event organizer and director of South Central Kingsport Community Development, Inc.

This year had the most vendors yet with 14 — varying from soul food, to Caribbean, to cool refreshments and funnel cakes.

The National Guard provided games and a race car for attendees to enjoy. Friends and Neighbors, Inc. also had a tent at the event.

A lollipop contest was held for children ages 5 to 8. Children were given a lollipop and the child to finish licking it the fastest, without biting or chewing, won. First and second place won a prize. Each child in the contest also received a participation prize.

A new addition to the event this year was a masseuse from Bristol, Va.

“It’s really where the community can come together and see what we’re doing in the community,” Swagerty said.

Another new part of Rhythm in Riverview this year was to have been Gospel Fest. Gospel Fest was originally scheduled to take place from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. but was cancelled while event organizers tried to dodge storms in the area. Swagerty says, the choir-singing will be rescheduled because so many people enjoy it.

“It just gives everybody the opportunity to hear a gospel band,” Swagerty said. “A lot of singers in the community want to hear some gospel music, so we’re bringing that into Rhythm in Riverview.”



The words 'oh no' were a familiar refraim because of weather that had been spotty, rainy, and sometimes stormy.

First to utter them was Swagerty, when an announcer came over the loud speaker while crowds were gathering.

It was a direct order for hundreds of people to evacuate the ballfield because of one approaching strong thunderstorm with lightning.

EVACUATION ORDER BY THE FIRE MARSHAL:



"I thought everybody would go to the Douglass gym to wait that one out," she says. "The building was opened up just for that purpose. But we didn't get to make the announcement because they killed the power to the stage and the microphone because of the evacuation. Nobody knew they could go to the nearby gym instead of going to their cars or going back home. I think everybody understood we had to look at the safety of everybody here and bad weather."

"The key was getting them to come back for the concert."


The second 'oh no' came from the concert's main event singer.

"I've got a phobia about rain," laughs Jay Storm, leader of the headline band Jaystorm Project. "You can guess why.. I get teased a lot when storms come to town. People say, 'Jay Storm's coming to town..oh no, it's gonna rain.' It's in my name, so what can I do?"

"It's not every day that your sound check becomes your concert," he continued. "You just go with the flow.. that's what we're best at. We're experienced in going quick if we have to. If it's playing a full set, that's OK.. if it's an hour, that's OK, too."

"We kinda go by the rules of the weather rock," says Fun Fest director Lucy Fleming, who never misses a Rhythm In Riverview concert. "If the rock is wet, it's raining and it will slow down what we're doing. We have outdoor events at Fun Fest that could be delayed or cancelled if heavy rain or lightning is in the area, or the ground is too wet to get started."

"Today, we had to wait to put the stage up on the Dobbins ballfield and start the music because we were waiting for breaks in the bad weather and we could be sure the rain was over for a while. It was kinda like shooting through the holes in the clouds.. you might hit clear sky at some point. That gave us a late start."

Fleming says, Fun Fest organizers learn from every rain situation.

"As we study different, large events in other cities around the country," she says, "we pay attention to what seems to be safe practice for them. We want to get people to where they are safe if there is thunder and lightning around. We practice getting people to their cars or into nearby buildings as quickly as possible."

We saw first-hand why tents are not really safe places during a storm, because winds often accompany heavy rain, and we saw that first-hand early Monday evening about 5:30. "Even last year, we went through the Grand Flood, and tents were the last place people needed to be. Those that sought shelter found out the hard way that tents went up like kites and balloons."

"Fortunately, there were no injuries or casualties because of safe practices," says Fleming.

"We want to keep it that way."

 
Once again, a storm cell approaching Kingsport from the southwest, once again, put the event planners on alert.

"We figured we'd could let the band play for an hour," Fleming says. "With that storm approaching, we decided to cut them off at 8:30, to make sure they could finish on a high note, and the crowd could get home before the heavy rain started back up again. At the same time, ending early would give the technicians time to take down all the lights and sound equipment and get it all packed away quickly enough."

Most of the crowds did come back, and the band kept them entertained until about 8:45.


"People didn't get to hear everything we have to offer," says Storm, "but that's OK. What we didn't have time to do was our original songs. We're an original band. We've got songs that make friends, that get people used to our sound and our performances. Tonight, we had to do what we could do between the weather events, and sometimes you have to make adjustments. We've always got to stay versatile when you're outside and you're having to stand the game around the weather."

"The people did seem to like what we had to offer," he says. "Every crowd is different. We're giving our all out there, and sometimes people are grooving, sometimes not. In your mind, you gotta keep on going, keep on giving 100%, hard and strong despite the weather, and hope that you're giving everybody what they like."

Once he checks the band's schedule, Storm says "we'd love to come back and show the crowd what we're really about."

Rhythm In Riverview is symbolic of the community's comeback. The concert has taken place for 33 years.

Chairman Kenneth Calvert said South Central Kingsport Community Development, Inc., was founded to improve the community and support events like the concert.

“The South Central incorporation began in 1994 after a six-year-old was shot by a drug dealer,” said Calvert, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church. “From that, the community came together and has been doing improvements since then. Up until about 2004, this area was considered one of the hottest spots in Kingsport for drugs and other illicit activity. Now, this is probably one of the safest communities in Kingsport. That’s a documented fact mainly because we’re able to partner with the city, with the police department, with the fire department and HOPE VI. It was a cleanup campaign. After it all ended, with the help of the police department and everyone else, we have not had any major serious incidents in Riverview since and we were having shootouts almost daily before then.”

“America provides opportunity and for this southwestern Kingsport community development and the community we support, great things can come from it. It’s like seeing a dream come true for the Kingsport community,” Calvert said.
Rhythm in Riverview was sponsored by South Central Kingsport Community Development, Inc., the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Eastman and WKPT, and as the 2014 party in the 'View' drew to a quick close, Fleming says, she hated that the event had to be cut short.

"Rhythm in Riverview is a special event in Kingsport," she says, "and it's special to Fun Fest. It's the first big concert in Fun Fest. I love it for the food and the people. It's a good, small party and so many people come to it and enjoy it for the closeness. We want to see it go on when it can."

Fleming says, several outdoor Fun Fest activities had to be postponed because of heavy rain, or cut short because it was too wet to start back up.

"It was good we were able to work around the weather with Rhythm In Riverview," she said.

"It's good this one went on."

EDITOR'S NOTE.. THE DECISION TO END THE CONCERT EARLY PROVED TO BE A GOOD DECISION. THIS WRITER DROVE THROUGH THE APPROACHING STORM ON INTERSTATE 81 ABOUT 30 MINUTES LATER, JUST BEFORE IT GOT TO KINGSPORT AND THE DOBBINS BALLFIELD IN RIVERVIEW.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Father and Son Football: Big Love and Small Love, Too!



It's just another good, ole-fashioned flag football game.

But when it involves fathers and their sons, it becomes a special event.

This father-son flag football game held in the shadows of the new stadium expansion at Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, is the brainchild of Fred "Jenko" Smith, formerly of Kingsport, now of Knoxville. Proceeds from today's game will fund the annual Turkey Bowl that Smith puts on, and also help provide a college scholarship to a worthy student next year.

"A couple of years ago, I played in a father-son flag football game in Nashville, me and my son," he says. "We had such a good time that I felt like this would be great that we could bring to the Kingsport area.. get the fathers and sons out, and get them active. Give them a jump start on doing things together."

"It is good for the physical and mental beings of both fathers AND sons."

Fathers like Otis Banks, and sons like his, 12-old Jamar Banks. Banks says, when his son first told him about the game, one thought raced through his mind.

"A father-son flag football game.. at MY age?" he laughed. "But I told my son 'it's gotta be fun,' and he really wanted me to do it, plus I knew the other sons and fathers would be there and we'd be playing with people we know. So we decided to do it."

Smith, who brought the wildly successful "DB Alumni Basketball Game" to the Buck Van Huss Dome back in January, says getting fathers to spend time with their sons is important, given today's fast-paced society.








"Growing up in the Riverview community, it took a village," he remembers. "Your parents could send you out and not have to worry, because all the fathers cared for the children. That's the way it was back then. Didn't matter which father scolded you for doing something wrong, they were showing that they really cared for you and your well-being. This event shows kids that somebody still cares. They could be home playing video games. Being out here, benefits both the kids and their fathers in so many ways."



On the gridiron, youth has the advantage.  No doubt about it.   Jamar and his youthful teammates and playmates keep getting their second winds.  The 8th grader is a running back and linebacker for the John Sevier Middle School Warriors. But his father Otis has played football before, too.

Today, it's youth versus experience.

"He's got 3 adults on his team and that's stacked against us," Jamar says. "But we are younger and quicker. It's fun with them out here, but it's also pretty funny. When my dad messes up, I laugh at him and when I mess up, he laughs at me. We're having a good time."




Otis Banks echoes his son's sentiments.

"It's pretty good getting that father-son bond going," he says, catching his breath. "I don't get to see my son for much of the day, and when I get a chance to spend some quality time with him, I'm going to try. I wish there were more dads out here today. It didn't rain, so if they were looking for a reason to stay away, that wasn't it. They don't know what they're missing."

"Take a look around," he says. "Nobody's on oxygen yet."





Former DB basketball star Rashad Wolfe says, just being able to participate in the game is a blessing.

"I was raised by a single mom," he says, "and to be out here with my son and my nephew, shows that God is Good. Hopefully, they can see that, as I get older and can't get out as much. When I hang my shoes up in a few years, the younger ones can take up where we left off."

The activity got more sweaty as the score got tighter. After gently needling referee Smith about the accuracy of several calls, Banks and his fellow fathers resigned themselves to the advantages of youth over experience. It's a combination that always goes one way, and one way only.




"The fathers out here are showing their age a little bit," laughed Wolfe. "I think it took a little more work than they thought. I coach a softball team and a T-ball team, but I'll be going home today, eating bananas and trying to get rid of these leg cramps. I think they did well, but the main thing was to get out here with our kids, and spend some time with them."

"A lot of people can't say that, so again.. today was a blessing," he says.

Meanwhile, one father-son team has a stronger bond after today, after some pretty strenuous play on the flag-football gridiron.

"We were able to get out of the house," laughs Otis Banks. "And besides that.. we get to push our kids around."

His son took a more practical view about his father.

"He needs to run faster," he chuckled. "He's out of shape."

And what did father and son talk about on the way home?

"How his team lost," was the very quick reply.


CLICK ON THE ARROWS BELOW TO SEE PICTURES AND ANOTHER VIDEO FROM THE FATHER-SON FLAG FOOTBALL GAME:







Created with flickr slideshow.

Douglass Alumni Fundraiser: Something's Fishy Around Here... And That's a Good Thing!



It's safe to assume the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Fish Fry Fundraiser was a rousing success.

"A fish fry was suggested at one of our board meetings," remembers Alumni President Douglas Releford. "Everybody thought it would be a great idea. We thought it would be successful, but it turned out much better than we expected."

Barbara Bell of Hawkins County stopped by to get several fish dinners.

"I had called my sister and mentioned it to her," she says. "My whole family loves fish, and anything the community is doing, we try to support it. I was so excited because the title was "Fish FRY." When I called and told my sister about it, word spread and then everybody in the family I talked to, wanted fried fish, so now I'll have these to deliver."


Bell says, this event is reminiscent of what black folk used to do back in the old days.

"We used to have fish fries in both the Zion Hill community in Hawkins County where I lived, and the Riverview neighborhood when I would visit, especially among the churches," she says. "This so much reminds me of those good days. The camradery of sitting around and talking to peole, catching up on their lives and reminiscing. Just talking to friends enlightens the spirit. People I love and haven't talked to in a long time, some in a week or two, others even years.

"It's just so relaxing."

But then, the fish proved to be a good reason to come out.

"All of that good conversation around some good fish," she laughed. "Just the smell of it makes you want to hang around a while. That whiting is good fish. A lot of people think they have to have that tilapia or that catfish or that swordfish. Whiting fish is a staple in the black community.. it's OUR fish. It's really good."


Releford says, the fish fry was to raise money for the Douglass Alumni Scholarship Fund, which has been without a major money source since the annual Alumni Golf Tournament stopped.

"The golf tournaments were the primary source of funding for the scholarships for graduating seniors," he says. "That left money raised from alumni membership dues to help maintain the day-to-day operations of the alumni office and other programs that we do.

"We have been looking at alternatives to raise money for the scholarship fund," says Releford. "We're hoping, in lieu of the golf tournament, that we can get some type of grant to help us out. We applied for one, but unfortunately got turned down. We're going to keep trying, because the education of our children is at stake. We're not going to give up. Anything we can do as a scholarship fundraiser, we'll consider it, because this one is all for the kids."


That fact did not go unnoticed by Mrs. Bell, who was pleased when she found out where the money for the fundraiser was going.

"That's great, because my granddaughter received a scholarship from the Douglass alumni last year," she says. "My granddaughter, Cydney Morrisette just finished her first year at Maryville College, and is doing very well. I don't mind helping any organization that does things like raising money for good things. Every chance I get, every opportunity I have to help them, it makes me feel good. I know first hand that they're doing good. They're still taking care of the community and spreading the wealth and that's important. Every little bit helps... doesn't matter if it's 5 dollars here, 10 there.. students always need as much money as they can get, and the Douglass scholarship helps with the little unexpected things that college can nickel-and-dime you on."

"Every one of the students who have received scholarships and gone on to college, has appreciated it," says Releford. "Each one has been deserving of the extra help, and we've been happy to help provide what we could to help their parents. We've always noticed the fact that every little bit does help."



Will there be another Douglass Fish Fry fundraiser?

Releford says, count on it.

"Well, according to some of the board members, there will be," he says. "We might even have fish, ribs and chicken wings the next time.. a lot of people were asking about wings today. We'll try to get at least one or two more 'fry' events in, before the season ends."



Meanwhile at this one, folks keep stopping by the Douglass ballfield shelter, and the orders keep coming. Andrew Watterson is dropping fish into the fryers right and left. "Andrew can really fix some good fish," says Mrs. Bell. "Really, he can cook anything well."

20 packs of fish, 14 bags in each pack..

280 pieces of fish.. every sandwich had two pieces..

That amounts to 140 fish sandwiches. Each and every one of them cooked by Andrew was sold, to folks who waited on them by chatting with friends, and enjoying each other's company.

Not a bad way to spend a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon in Riverview.



Created with flickr slideshow.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

2014 Rhythm In Riverview: What to Expect!



CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO THE RIGHT, TO MAKE IT BIGGER




Here's what you'll find on the Douglass-V.O. Dobbins ballfield on Monday, July 14, 2014 for this year's edition of Rhythm In Riverview.

The fun starts at 3 PM and runs until 10 PM.

Around the ballfield, in addition to the food vendors, the Army Reserve will have an exhibit.. the Choo-Choo train returns.. so does the Happy Dance and more. You'll also find inflatables for the kids, and face painting.

Beginning at 3PM, the Kids Zone begins, with lots of activities aimed at the children.
At 4:30, there will be a lollipop contest for 5 to 8 year olds..

From 5 to 6:30 PM, there will be a Gospel Fest, featuring spiritual numbers from the groups Give-N-Back, Full Gospel, Anointed, Witness, and singers from DMI, Shiloh, Bethen, NVY and New Beginnings Churches.

From 6:30 to 7 o'clock, the New Vision Youth presents Energizer, to rev up the crowd for the main event.

Then at 7 PM, the main attraction "Jaystorm Project" Band takes the main stage.

Traditionally, Rhythm In River is one of the first outdoor concerts in Kingsport's celebration of Funfest, and the Riverview event sets the stage for the excitement for the rest of the summer Fun Fest event.

Rhythm in Riverview, an event of Fun Fest 2014, is sponsored by the South Central Kingsport Community Development Corporation, the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Eastman Chemical Company, and WKPT.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fish Fry to Benefit the Sons & Daughters of Douglass

The Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association is sponsoring a fish fry fundraiser this coming Saturday.

Each fish is fried fresh on site, and the dinner is only $6.00. The fish sandwich comes with assorted chips, and a soft drink.

The fundraiser will be held at the Douglass Ballfield shelter at the Riverview Splash Pad in Kingsport, this Saturday, from 11 AM until all the fish is gone.

Please come out and support your non-profit Douglass alumni association. Proceeds from the fundraiser go to support the programs of the charity, and the operation of the association's office at V.O. Dobbins.

Coming Soon! Upcoming Stories!

We are working on these stories right now:


AT THE NEWS AND CURRENT EVENTS LINK:

Flag Football Fundraiser at the DB Running Track in Kingsport...

Story and pictures from the 2014 Kingsport 4th of July Parade.....



AT THE INDIVIDUAL WEBSITE PAGE FOR DOUGLASS-SLATER*:

2014 stories and pictures from the Douglass High School-Bristol, VA and Slater High School-Bristol, TN Reunion from the July 4th weekend..


AT THE INDIVIDUAL WEBSITE PAGE FOR LANGSTON:*

2014 stories and pictures from the Langston High School-Johnson City, TN Reunion from the July 4th weekend..


*THESE PAGE LINKS CAN BE ACCESSED AT THE DOUGLASS WEBSITE MAIN PAGE


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Putting Blake Leeper's Picture on the Wheaties Box: Now's Your Chance!


Would you like to see Blake Leeper on the Wheaties Box? Wheaties is having a contest.

Go to Facebook search for Blake Leeper wall, share a link of Wheaties box, or mapmyfitness.com/wheatiesNEXT/home/leaderboard.

Share the link to your wall. Click on the link register or use Facebook to login. Create an account. Log back in, then type in your date of birth, look for Team Leeper.

Click on it, on the right hand of the page you will find log in my workout has to be more than 30 minutes.

You have to log in a workout to vote. You can vote 2 times a day.

If you have trouble login go to the top of the page where the search engine at and type in mapmyfitness.com/wheatiesNEXT/home/leaderboard. It should take you there.

Thank you for voting. You can contact me on Facebook. Thank you!


Tonia Leeper Johnson
Lillian Leeper

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Young Black Film Makers: Document Your Community!





CLICK ON THE POSTER TO MAKE IT LARGER


The Many Voices Youth Film Contest is now accepting short films from High School students in East Tennessee.

**Deadline January 15th, 2015**


Cash Prizes for the top 3 films
1st Place: $300
2nd Place: $100
3rd Place: $50


What kind of films?
AAHA! of East Tennessee is seeking short films (5 to 15 minutes in length) that highlight or document your community's Black History.



Oral history interviews of your family or neighbors, important events or individuals in your community, historic reenactments, stories of Black history sites (cemeteries, schools, buildings, neighborhoods, land, battlefields, coal mines, farms, etc) OR you can use your creativity to produce something completely different!

Need help finding subject matter, interviews or stories for your film? No problem! We have Community Partners in East Tennessee counties to help you with finding people to interview and subjects to document.

To get in touch with your County's Community Partner, email: CEDnet.info@gmail.com



How do I submit my film? Coy and paste the links below into your browser:

CONTEST WEBSITE:
cednet.wordpress.com/task-forces/ahaa/youth-film-contest

RULES AND INFORMATION:
docs.google.com/document/d/1ZfzslWfg8PUhxriNSDUV9tGgtNP3V88r5bIRvRKkRuM/edit?usp=sharing

ENTRY FORM:
docs.google.com/document/d/1KTUA1FHjjn0wR4v6bX8S51j2I7cLz4nDp7DZvH0vmbM/edit?usp=sharing

FACEBOOK EVENT:
www.facebook.com/events/445308992271185

All rules and contest information can be found at the above links.



The Many Voices Youth Film Contest is funded by the We Shall Overcome Fund, affiliated with the Highlander Research and Education Center, New Market, TN.