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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Randolph Watterson remembrance


Randolph T. Watterson departed this life on Wednesday, January 19, 2022.  He was born August 15, 1960 in Kingsport, TN.

Randolph was preceded in death by his mother, Wanda Watterson; grandparents Clinton and Fannie Watterspm; aunts and uncles Adrian and Mildred Watterson, Joan and Charles Valentine, and Fred Fugate.

He leaves behind his brother, Terrance (Kenna) Watterson;  aunts, Barbara Bell and Betty Fugate;  uncle, Andrew Watterson; nephew, Marcellas Watterson; and a host of cousins and friends.

Memorial services for Mr. Randolph Watterson will be conducted Thursday, January 27, 2022 at 1 PM at the Bethel A.M.E. Zion Church, Kingsport, TN.  The family will receive friends from 12 PM until the hour of service.

Sunday, January 16, 2022



Special announcement... the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. parade is being postponed from MLK Day, January 17th.

The decision was made on Sunday afternoon, the day before.  Click twice on the "play" button below to listen to the announcement:

The new date for the MLK Day commemorations will be Saturday, February 5th.  Parade participants will gather at 11:15 AM at the old Rikki Rhoten Insurance Building, corner of East Sevier Avenue and East Center Street and the parade will begin at 12 Noon..... the luncheon will  start at 1 PM and will still be a drive-through outside the Douglass Community Room at the V.O. Dobbins Community Center, 301 Louis Street.... and the Candlelight Vigil will be at 6 PM at the Shiloh Baptist Church on East Sevier Avenue (that event will also be live-streamed at

  Meanwhile, enjoy some of the snowfall below that Riverview got today (Sunday), that postponed the events, by clicking on the "play" button twice below.

          A good night to stay inside in Riverview!

Friday, January 7, 2022

Youth Summit Announcement

               Save the Date:

        Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022

Martin Luther King Jr. Youth

Summit Achieving the Dream 

         through Education,

     Leadership, and Service


           Kingsport Center for Higher Education

          300 W. Market St. • Kingsport, TN 37660

                                10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

                      Open to 6th – 12th graders

Inquiries:  Nescc–Off–Inc– or 423.354.2503

         Registration Form:

Upcoming Dr. Martin Luther King Events

Here's a list of upcoming and continuing events up to the celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 17.

If you wish to contact the event organizers, please click on the pictures below to enlarge them, then write out the link addresses in the event of your choice into your browser.

Riverview Snow? Oh Yeah!


The latest snow blast yesterday nipped the Tri-Cities area with an average of 3 inches.. some folks got more, others got less.

Above, this is what Riverview woke up this Friday morning on January 7th.

Enough to cover the ground, but not slush the streets.  16 degrees, at 11 AM, 22 degrees by 1 PM.  As you can see in the picture above, it was trying to snow again.

Please don't forget to call and check on our seniors, loved ones and shut-in's.. make sure they have food, medicine and heat.  

Elsewhere around Kingsport using the WCYB cameras, this is the morning view from the DB Stadium.

East Stone Drive, above, appears to be clear with no snow.

Our friends in Johnson City above appear to be able to move around at normal speeds with a couple of inches of snow.. much less than they got a few days ago.


Over the mountain in Boone, North Carolina, they got their usual mountain snow above, at least five inches, more or less in some spots.

For our friends at the Appalachian African-American Cultural Center in Pennington Gap, VA the snow was a little heavier in the picture above.

To the west of Kingsport, traffic was moving pretty good in West Knoxville in the above picture.

Meanwhile, Middle Tennessee took the brunt of this storm.  When the snow in the picture above began in Nashville beside Nissan Stadium looking at downtown, weather forecasters already knew the Nashville area would get a lot.  It still caught folks off guard.

Nashville traffic is finally moving after getting about 8 inches of snow, give or take, in the picture above.  Businesses are closed and folks are encouraged to stay inside and avoid travel.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Douglass Alumni Mask available


COVID 19 is raging on, but there is still protection against people who have not been vaccinated.

The Douglass School mask is still available for $11.25 (that's $10.00 for the mask, plus $1.25 for mailing).  Make checks payable to the Sons and Daughters of Douglass.

You can order one by sending the money to our secretary, Charlotte Maxwell at:

Douglass Alumni Mask

P.O. Box 2460

Kingsport, TN 37662-2460

If you'd like to avoid the mail and get yours in person, you can get the mask for $10.00 by making arrangements to meet Charlotte at the V.O. Dobbins Community Center.

Board Meeting postoned


Because of the weather, the scheduled Board Meeting of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association for Saturday, January 8th is postponed.

The next regularly scheduled meeting will be on February 12th.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Snow, snow everywhere, but home


Hope you all have a wonderful and safe New Year's weekend.

Snow blanketed parts of  Tennessee from Nashville and southern Middle Tennessee on up through Knoxville with a dusting, and right on up the valley to Tri-Cities and western North Carolina, and then well into Southwest Virginia, southern West Virginia and central Carolina.  Ranges from a dusting to 7 to 10 inches.. even Church Hill-New Canton got about 4 inches.

But apparently, no snow at all in the homeplace.

The above picture is from the rooftop at WJHL-TV looking at Tannery Knob in downtown Johnson City.

The picture below is from a live picture at the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex tower looking at Riverview, at right around the same time as the above pic.  I'd say, Riverview dodged a bullet.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

DB-Douglass vs. Johnson City-Langston: One Heck of a Basketball Game Then.... and Now


Whenever the Douglass Tigers basketball team played their arch-rivals, the Langston Golden Tigers, fans came from all over upper East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.  Even folks from the other schools in the old Tri-State Athletic Conference showed up to watch the two titans battle each other for supremacy.

It would be the best game in conference play.

Fast forward 56 years.  The location is different.  The coaches are different.... the teams different.  But with typical Douglass-Langston games, the outcome wasn't decided until the last two minutes of the game.

Dobyns-Bennett paid tribute to the legacy of the Douglass Tigers two weeks ago during its game with Johnson City Science Hill.  The DB Indians were dressed in the uniforms of Douglass, while the Science Hill players were adorned in the gold uniforms of Langston.

The evening began with a rousing pep talk by Douglass alumnus Donald Hickman to the DB squad in their dressing room.

Hickman, the first African-American to play basketball for Dobyns-Bennett after Douglass was closed for integration, reminded the DB-Douglass players of the legacy they were honoring in the game against Science Hill-Langston... that even though Douglass wasn't allowed to play DB back in the day, both teams knew the other was pretty good, as they kept an eye on each other across town.

When it comes to competition, Hickman told the squad to the target of every team's goals.  "Be the team that everybody wants to beat," he said.  "Be a relentless competitor.  That's what (Coach Bob Deering) told us before every game with Langston.  Play like you're playing against the best team you've ever played against.  Don't make dumb mistakes, even though people make stupid mistakes all the time."

While Hickman was busy revving up the DB-Douglass squad, many of your Douglass alumni, friends and neighbors were enjoying a reception in the DB girls' basketball gym.  Unlike 22 months ago in February, 2020, only about half the expected Douglass crowd made the trip into the Buck Van Huss Dome to reunion in their Douglass sweat shirts and tee-shirts.

Again, the fellowship was unmistakable as stories were swapped, sandwiches, fruit and veggie plates were consumed.  After the game, a small group of the Douglass alumni faithful gathered in the Douglass Community room in the V.O. Dobbins Community Center to continue the reunion.

But after the DB reception, folks were escorted to their front row seats in the Van Huss Dome to enjoy one of the most exciting basketball games of the season.  It was just like Douglass and Langston would have wanted it.

Below is the account written for the Kingsport Times-News:

KINGSPORT — The fellas from old Douglass High School would be proud of the way the Dobyns-Bennett boys basketball team got it done Friday night.

Wearing the former school’s powder-blue and gold colors with “Tigers” across its jerseys, D-B outplayed Science Hill when it mattered most, scoring a 55-48 win in an early-season Big 5 Conference showdown at the Buck Van Huss Dome.

The Hilltoppers honored old Langston High and wore the royal blue and dark gold colors of the Golden Tigers, who concluded their rivalry with Douglass in 1965.

The Indians (8-3, 1-0) overcame a frightful start to gain this win, drawing even by halftime and then taking it to the Hilltoppers over the final 16 minutes.

“Hats off to Dobyns-Bennett,” Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip allowed. “They were the better team the last two quarters. We made too many turnovers in the second half and we simply did not execute.”

The Indians were basically awful over the first seven minutes, missing 11 of their first 12 shots and committing three early turnovers to trail 13-5.

“There was a lot of energy in the building, you know ... Douglass night and Science Hill’s in town,” Tribe coach Chris Poore said. “The guys were fired up and we just had to settle down and play some basketball.

“We had some guys make some plays and I thought Carter (Metz) got started early, which really helped calm our nerves.”


Poore’s three-headed guard lineup of Metz, Jonavan Gillespie and Brady Stump helped turn the game for the Indians.

Stump kept D-B within shouting distance with seven early points before Gillespie and Metz got it going in timely fashion as the Tribe inched back.

The hustling Gillespie scored all 10 of his points in the second period, including a rainbow 3-point bomb to tie the game at 30 at the halftime buzzer.

Metz, a transfer from Cherokee who averaged 21 points an outing last season, produced four buckets in the second quarter in a variety of ways.

“He’s good and I was glad to see it,” Poore said. “He’s been reserved for us and we really want him to break out of that shell. Tonight was a good step forward.”

A 6-foot senior with ample game, Metz is glad to make a difference at D-B.

“It’s been a blessing, from the coaching staff to all the players,” said Metz, who led all scorers with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the floor. “They’ve all welcomed me with open arms and it’s been life-changing for sure.

“I’m just playing with the team and playing my role. The shots were coming to me, so I was taking them. I’m really happy to help us win this one.”


Malachi Hale helped carry the Tribe to the promised land, scoring 12 of his 15 points after intermission.

“Malachi does a lot for us,’’ Poore said. “In the biggest games he steps up in the biggest roles. He did it on both ends for us tonight.”

A powerful 6-4 senior with finesse, Hale also provided shutdown defense on ‘Toppers standout Jamar Livingston, who scored 16 points but was quiet after his three-point play gave Science Hill its last lead at 38-37 with 2:36 left in the third.

Hale provided two three-point plays, hit a 15-foot jumper and scored twice in transition — including a fast-break dunk — to carry D-B home.

Not to be forgotten, sixth man McKinley Tincher hit a key 3-point shot as the Indians overcame their 38-37 deficit to lead 46-38 heading into the final frame.

“He (Tincher) hit a huge shot and he brings it defensively,” Poore said. “I love putting him in the game in our first rotation and he handles that role very well.”


Keynan Cutlip scored 15 points, but it wasn’t enough for Science Hill (8-2, 0-1).

“Ultimately, Keynan and Jamar both have to play better,” Coach Cutlip said.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Wreaths Across America: Local Group Helps Decorate Veterans' Graves at Mountain Home


From left, Gretta Simon with the Victor Simon Leukemia Foundation of Nashville, veteran Rodney Dye, Ezra-Howard Smith with the Kingsport New Vision Youth, veteran Rodney Dye, New Vision Youth director Johnnie Mae Swagerty, and Dave Carter, Wreaths Across America organizer

The Christmas season isn’t always about giving gifts, twinkling lights and caroling.

It’s also about remembering those who are no longer here to celebrate with their loved ones. In particular, veterans who are interred at Mountain Home Cemetery received an annual honor of wreaths being placed on their graves.

Wreaths Across America volunteers gathered this past Saturday, December 18, 2021 at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Mountain Home, TN to do just that after a brief ceremony to get the event started.

The New Vision Youth of Kingsport took part in the wreath-laying.  Also, Gretta Simon representing her late husband's foundation, the Victor Simon Leukemia Foundation of Nashville also took part in the wreath-laying.

The pandemic forced a lot of adjustments to the annual wreath laying last year.  Saturday's was a rain or shine event and after a morning shower, the skies kept the rest of the rain at bay.  “With the ceremony prior to the wreath placement, there is a partial return toward some level of normal,” organizer Dave Carter said. “But regardless of the weather and any updated public health protocols in effect, wreaths will be placed.”

There is a particular process volunteers follow when placing the wreath.

“Take your time. Please pause at each headstone and say that veteran’s name out loud and thank them for their service before moving on. It is not a race to see how quickly we can place the wreaths. If there are not enough sponsored wreaths to honor every veteran at Mountain Home, we hope you will still take time to stop at headstones that do not have a wreath to say the veteran’s name."

As for why the wreath laying is such an important tradition to continue each year, Carter said veterans should always be remembered for their sacrifice.

“We should always remember that for veterans throughout our history, Christmas has often been spent far from home and their loved ones. Very often, soldiers spent Christmas in conditions like the winter of 1777 at Valley Forge, and those who fought at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge in WWII.

“Many died in places they had never heard of — in far-off jungles, desert sands and muddy trenches and frozen forests in Europe. They sacrificed their tomorrows so we could have today. After we place the wreaths, we will all go home and be safe and warm. They could not.”

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Instructions for Entering the DB Dome for Handicapped and Those Needing Assistance ONLY

Visitors for the DB-Science Hill tribute to Douglass-Langston else will proceed up the ramp to the main gym entrance at the trophy cases, then downstairs to the small gym for the reception.

After the receptions, escorts will take you to seating in the Dome for the ball game.


For those who need to access the elevator, please enter from the track side gate (Stadium Court off of Eastman Road see map below). You'll enter the gym at the bottom of the area circled in red.  There will be an escort on both sides to assist alumni to the small gym.

Updated: DB Tribute to the Douglass Tigers Game


Come one, come all Douglass alumni!  Calling all true Douglass Tigers!

It's a night of fun and excitement on Friday, December 17th at the DB Buck Van Huss dome in Kingsport.

                                         February 1, 2020  

On Friday, December 17th, all Douglass alumni are invited to the Dobyns-Bennett varsity basketball boys-only game versus Science Hill (both teams will be dressed out in the gold and blue of the Douglass Tigers and Langston Golden Tigers).

Before the DB-Science Hill varsity game Friday night, all Douglass alumni and their families will be welcomed at a reception from 6 PM to 7 PM at the Buck Van Huss Dome.  It will be a time of reunion, reflection and renewal just like it was two years ago, and refreshments will be served.

At the reception, alumni and their families will be able to purchase a 2022 pocket calendar, emblazoned with the "Sons and Daughters of Douglass" on the cover and a pen.  The cost is $5 per calendar, and the popular Douglass alumni masks will also be on sale for $10 ($11.25 if ordered to receive by mail--call Charlotte Maxwell at 423-967-0536).  Both are fundraisers to benefit your Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association.

                                        February 1, 2020

Again, the reception is from 6 PM to 7 PM in the DB Girls' Gym where it was held the last time.  Enter the building at the main entrance (see the note above for handicapped), and the cost is $6.00 per person.  Again, the boy's varsity basketball game begins at 7:30 PM at the conclusion of the JV squad game.

NOTE:  Masks are not required at the game, but if you feel you need to wear them, feel free to do so (per CDC and Sullivan County Health Department guidelines).

After the game, the alumni are invited to an After-Party in the Douglass Community Room at V.O. Dobbins from 9 PM to 11 PM.  

Because of projected rainy weather, previously announced events scheduled for Saturday and Sunday are canceled.

Come one, come all and we'll have a ball on Friday night, December 17th and don't forget to bring your Douglass Tigers school spirit with you!




"For Old Times Sake": DB, Science Hill to pay tribute to Douglass, Langston on Friday Night

By Calvin Sneed, Kingsport Times-News Community Contributor

Rauls and John Bradford perusing the basketball pictures in a 1956 Douglass yearbook... both brothers played Douglass basketball in high school

"Local basketball has changed, but the rivalries haven't... the traditions continue, but in this case, the names have changed."

Brothers Rauls Bradford and John Bradford both played on basketball teams at Douglass High School back in the mid 50's.  Douglass was Kingsport's African-American high school that closed for integration in 1966.  As the brothers perused a 1950's Douglass School yearbook, they talked about one of the biggest rivalries in the all-Black Tri-State Athletic Conference.

1956 Douglass Tigers:  John Bradford #11

"No doubt, it was Douglass High School in Kingsport versus Langston High School in Johnson City," John remembers with a laugh.  "Those games were big because people who weren't even students at either school came to see two East Tennessee powerhouse teams."

The Bradfords and everyone else will get the chance to see two other powerhouse basketball teams this coming Friday, December 17th.  Dobyns-Bennett's basketball team will face Science Hill at the Buck Van Huss Dome in Kingsport at 7:30 PM.  DB will be dressed out in the blue and gold uniforms of the former Douglass Tigers, and Science Hill will be adorned in the colors of the Langston Golden Tigers.

"We began the tradition of honoring Douglass in this way almost two years ago," says DB Athletic Director and former coach Frankie DeBusk.  "We thought it would be great to get the ball rolling (no pun intended) and pay tribute to the legendary African-American teams in our city and give their fans and the Douglass program the respect they deserve."

"This tribute game to Douglass and Langston brings back a lot of memories about the real deal back in the day," says Douglass alumni president Douglas Releford.  "Douglass-Kingsport and Langston were the two largest Black schools in the conference and when they played, it was the social event of the season.  Everybody was dressed up and all decked out.  It was standing room only in the gyms."

But what of the Douglass-Langston basketball games themselves?  Both Bradford brothers say neither team could stand each other.

                        Douglass Tigers 1963-64

                     Langston Golden Tigers, 1963-64

"Oh yeah, we hated them," laughs John Bradford.  "They didn't care much for us either and we didn't care.  There was always a lot of trash-talking and some elbow-knocking during the games.  That might have been the worst.  But I will say playing Langston always got the best out of you, too.  You played your best basketball against Langston and if you were a starter for Douglass, you played just about the whole game.  If Coach (Bob) Deering didn't think you were playing up to your potential, he was constantly on you.  He was always like that.  He used to run some players into the showers, but he never let you get away without giving your best effort."

"That's how Douglass won ball games."

His brother Rauls says most of the time, what happened on the court, stayed on the court.  "We would always see the Langston players whenever we went to Johnson City to visit relatives, attend church or community events over there," he remembers.  "In turn, they would see the Douglass players whenever they came to Kingsport.  Any bad feelings from ball games never came out.  It was as if we had family faces and game faces.  We all laughed about it after we got older."

On Friday, the freshman boys' game will begin at 4:30 PM, the junior varsity game starts at 6 PM and again, the varsity game will be at 7:30 PM.  These are boys-only games that night and only the varsity games will feature the Douglass-Langston uniforms.

There'll be two DB-Douglass Tribute games versus Science Hill-Langston this season, the first one on Friday and the second one when DB goes to Science Hill on February 4th at the beginning of Black History Month.  Both teams will wear the colors of the legendary Black schools then, too.  

"The tradition on both sides is overwhelming," says DeBusk.  "There is so much history between Douglass and Langston.. throw all of that into a couple of nights and you've really got something.  The kids playing probably don't understand the heritage they're playing under... to them, it's just another game on the schedule.  But they'll hear it from the fans, the teachers, the community.  The environment itself should get them excited and wearing the Douglass  uniforms should get them really fired up."

"It will be a good game,"  he says.  "It's all about having fun and paying tribute to the Douglass Tigers.  It would also be great to come away with a win over Science Hill.  I'll take a one-point win or more any day and I hope it's more."

Meanwhile, the Bradford brothers are expecting a close game Friday night.  "Any Douglass game with Langston was about controlling the clock," John says.  "It was psychological.  With Langston back then, if you control the clock, you control the tempo.  If you control the tempo, you control the game.  That also took their fans out of the action.  For Dobyns-Bennett, I think the same will be true for Science Hill."

"When DB comes out on the court in the Douglass uniforms and Science Hill comes out in the Langston uniforms," he says. "I think we'll have the same excitement, the same atmosphere and the same rivalry that Douglass had with Langston.  Our players will be ready, and theirs had better be, too."

"We don't have to like 'em.  We just have to beat 'em."