Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Calendar of the 2021 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Days of Commemoration in Kingsport-Tri Cities

Please click on the pictures below to make them bigger -  See you here!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Bernice Brice remembrance

Ms. Bernice Brice of Kingsport, 90, born September 24, 1930 passed away peacefully in her home on January 4, 2021.

Funeral services will be conducted on Friday, January 8, 2021 at 1 PM at the Shiloh Baptist Church.  The family will receive friends from 12 Noon until the hour of service.  Burial will follow in the Old Kingsport Presbyterian Cemetery.

For your health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, all guests must wear a mask and we ask that you please do not attend if you are showing symptoms of illness.  CDC and state of Tennessee regulations will be followed.

The family is being served by the Clark Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Inc.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Richard Harvey Watterson, Sr. remembrance

Johnson City – Mr. Richard Harvey Watterson, Sr., 94, of Johnson City and Kingsport departed this life on Monday, January 4, 2021. 

Mr. Watterson was born on May 19, 1926 in Hawkins County, the youngest of six siblings, to the late James Wiley Watterson and Margaret “Maggie” Armstrong Watterson.

Richard Watterson showing the Douglass School sports trophies to ABC News Correspondent Will Carr for a national news story on the DB Tribute to the Douglass Tigers Basketball Teams, Feb. 1, 2020.  Richard was what he called "a small forward" on the Tigers basketball teams.

Mr. Watterson was educated in the Kingsport School System, graduating from Douglass High School in 1943 and received his Bachelor’s Degree from Livingston College.  He enlisted in the U.S Navy serving from 1943 to 1950 as a Seaman First Class.

Richard Watterson with Kingsport Chamber of Commerce President Miles Burdine, at the DB Tribute to the Douglass Tigers Basketball Teams, Feb. 1, 2020.

On May 20, 1973, Mr. Watterson was duly and legally elected to the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen.  He was the first African-American man to serve the city of Kingsport as an Alderman.  He served 24 years on the board, also serving as Vice-Mayor until his retirement in 1997.  He also worked hard with the Kingsport City School Board. 

Not only did Mr. Watterson served as a faithful, loyal and dedicated member and Trustee of the Bethel AME Zion Church. He also served on the boards of the Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency, the Sequoyah Boy Scouts of America, Habitat for Humanity, Kiwanis Club, Kingsport Elks Club, Kingsport Esquire Club, the Optimist Club and the Boys and Girls Club of Kingsport.  

Richard and Barbara (Miss Bobbie) Watterson at the Great Golden Gathering Reunion Banquet, August 29, 2015

Mr. Watterson was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara Love Watterson; a daughter, Elaine M. Watterson; a son, Ronald W. Watterson; his sisters, Ella Mae Martin, Savannah Harris, Jessie Welch and Ruchael Watterson Charles; his brothers, Walter Watterson and Herman “Buster” Watterson.


Mr. Watterson is survived by his children, Richard Watterson, Jr. (Regina), Gregory Watterson (Thomas), Ricky Watterson and Gail Petterson; step-children, Charles Love, Jr. Lynn Love, Richard Love (Mary), Steven Love, Robert Love (Linda) and Elizabeth Murrey (James); grandchildren, Reggie Petterson, Kandes Tobin (Ron), Princeton Watterson, Kennedy Watterson, Carolyn, Shelly, Ekcia and Brandon; a host of great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

Richard Watterson enjoying himself with family at the DB Tribute to the Douglass Tigers Basketball teams, Feb. 1, 2020

A military graveside service will be held at 2 PM on Monday, January 11, 2021 at the Mountain Home National Cemetery in Johnson City.  Pastor Hugh Hale will also officiate. Family and friends will serve as pallbearers.  Those wishing to go in procession to the cemetery are asked to meet at the Dobyns Bennett parking lot no later than 1 PM Monday.


The Carter-Trent Funeral Home in Kingsport is serving the Watterson family.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Franklin "Frankie" Price announcement


Franklin "Frankie" Price departed this life on Saturday, January 2nd, 2021.

The family is in the process of making arrangements at this time.

Clark Funeral Chapel and Cremation Service in Kingsport is serving the Price family and friends.

Richard Watterson arrangements

Mr. Richard Harvey Watterson, Sr. of Kingsport went to be with the Lord on Monday, January 4, 2021 at the VA Medical Center in Johnson City.

A military graveside service for Mr. Watterson will be held on Monday, January 11, 2021 at the Mountain Home National Cemetery in Johnson City, TN.

The Carter-Trent Funeral Home is serving the Watterson family.

More details to follow.

Sons and Daughters Alumni Meeting canceled

With all the deaths that we have had this week, I am cancelling the meeting for this month (January), and we will meet the second Saturday in February, 2021.  That will be February 13th, 2021.  Please mark your calendars.

Douglas Releford

President, Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni

Richard Watterson passes away

Richard Watterson was first elected to the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen in 1973 – the first African-American to do so. He served until 1997 and during his long tenure on the board, Watterson served as vice-mayor from 1981 to 1995.

Richard Watterson, the first African-American elected to the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen, passed away on Monday because of COVID-19 complications.  

He was 94 years old.

According to his youngest son Ricky, the elder Watterson passed away at 4:30 AM at the VA Medical Center.  Arrangements will be made through the Carter-Trent Funeral Home.

Ricky Watterson described his father as having true compassion and love for all people., and someone who tried to tell the truth and be honest at all times.

"I think he had true compassion for every citizen as a human being.  (He) didn't see black and white and didn't care about black and white.  He just cared about everybody, it shows and I think the people cared about that," Watterson said.  "He believed in everybody, it didn't matter about ethnicity or anything and when you get past that, you're able to touch people and relate to people."

Watterson was first elected to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in 1973.  He served until 1997 and during his long tenure on the Board, Watterson served as vice-mayor from 1981 to 1995.  According to city officials, Watterson often garnered the top vote count during many of those city elections when his name was on the ballot.

"I think he lasted 24 years on the BMA by telling the truth, by listening to people and by truly wanting to help people," Watterson said of his father.

During his tenure on the BMA, Ricky Watterson said his father promoted the Sunshine Law, helped pass liquor by the drink, and served on the task force that worked to address issues in the Riverview community.

"The biggest thing is, Dad had a compassion for people, he listened and he took it to heart," Ricky Watterson said.

Watterson graduated from Douglass High School in Kingsport, having played on the basketball team there.  He attended Swift Memorial Junior College in Rogersville and Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina.  He served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946, with most of his time spent on the U.S.S. Nassau.

At the age of 12, Watterson went to work for Harvey Brooks, a local businessman who built and lived in the Allandale Mansion.

Richard's mother Maggie and his aunt Savannah also worked for the Brooks family.  Richard Watterson ultimately worked for the family for 20 years, working as a chauffeur. butler and caretaker.

Watterson served on a number of state and local boards, including the State Board of Legal Services and the Board of Directors of the Kingsport Boys Club.

He was also the State Commissioner for Human Development, the first chairman of the Riverview Branch Boys Club, the President of the Esquire Club, and a member of the Kiwanis Club and the Optimist Club.

In 2016, the year Watterson turned 90, the BMA proclaimed April 6th as "Richard Watterson Day" in Kingsport.

"Richard was the first African-American elected on a citywide basis after integration, and he was re-elected every term until he decided not to run again.  That speaks volumes of the job he did in consistently representing his constituents," said former city manager Jeff Fleming.  "He was a visionary who had a unique way of convincing ordinary people to do extraordinary things."

Former Kingsport Board of Education Paul Montgomery said Watterson worked hard for all the citizens of Kingsport and especially hard for the school system in its efforts "to make the city schools the best we could have.  He was a friend of education.  He was our go-to person."

"Our community has lost a pioneer in local government," Montgomery said.  He helped mentor me in politics.  He was a good man."

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy New Year!

 Happy New Year 2021 from the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association!

Monday, December 28, 2020

Welcome Back! --- A Note From Calvin

Greetings, fellow Douglass Alumni, Riverview Residents and friends!

After a pause of almost four years, I have decided to bring back the Douglass-Riverview News and Current Events blog link to the website's main page.

The reason the Douglass-Riverview blog link left four years ago, is simply because everybody stopped looking at it.  Nobody was reading it anymore.  We addressed this at several Douglass Alumni Board meetings.  Most importantly.... nobody was sending me information letting me know what was going on around the alumni association, around the neighborhood, going on in their lives.  I was ultimately wasting a lot of gas coming to Kingsport and spending a lot of time covering events... that nobody was reading about.  I was taking dozens of pictures... that nobody was looking at.  There is a counter that lets me know when visitors are reading the blog itself.  So, I did know visitations.  

I decided to publish any news and current events I did get, by sending to the Douglass website's mailing list, which required a free subscription.  A big "THANK YOU" to all who subscribed... you're the heart of the website... yours is the soul that keeps the Alumni Association moving... you are the lifeline that kept the website going, and you actually kept me motivated, too.  Another motivation was and still is, getting most of our big news published in the Kingsport Times-News, of which I am now a community contributor.  Our news is important to Kingsport, too.

But funny thing though... nobody missed the Douglass-Riverview News and Current Events blog link when it came off the website.  If they did, they kept it to themselves.  I only physically heard from maybe two or three people about what happened to it... a far cry from the hundreds of people that used to click on it.

So where was our news going?  It seems that everybody was posting their news, current events and pictures on Facebook.  By law, I cannot take anything off Facebook and repost it on our website.. it's copyright infringement, which could get me in trouble.   Bottom line is, I could not, and still cannot compete with Facebook for your news.  I will point out that by logging on to the Douglass website, you cannot be spammed, given a virus, or have your personal information stolen like you can on Facebook.  How many times have you had to change your Facebook password over the years?

The difference between the Douglass website and Facebook, is like Reverend Edge's Place trying to compete with Walmart.  Y'all know you're gonna shop at Walmart, even though Reverend Edge is just down the street, only blocks away.  If he'd been around, Walmart would have already put him out of business.  Similarly, your contributions and readership to Facebook would have put a lesser-determined website out of business, but I refused to let that happen to the Douglass website.  That's exactly why it is still with us.  It was only the community blog link that disappeared.

Enough fussing.. what prompted the decision to bring the Douglass-Riverview blog link back to the website?  One huge reason.. outside of the Douglass Alumni group and the neighborhood, other people around the city, around the state, even around the country and the world (most of them white) were actually still reading the Douglass-Riverview blog, which never really went away... only the blog link on the website disappeared.  The blog and its previous news of us have lived on in the Google-sphere for about 13 years, where folks have always been reading about us and learning about our love for our school and our community.   I'm a 50-year reporter veteran.. anything I write has a "reporter" feel and read to it, which does give it more importance and relevance in the Google-sphere.

But the specific instance that brought the Douglass-Riverview blog link back is when an administrator with the Tennessee Arts Commission in Nashville contacted me recently about some previous information they had found on the archived Douglass-Riverview blog NINE YEARS AGO with Google concerning two of our alumni, that has ultimately allowed those two Black people to receive a state grant for THIS year into 2021 to mentor young people and teach them their life occupations that have been passed down through Black generations.  This is a tremendous opportunity and makes our Douglass alumni stand out among the alumni of other Black schools in the region (that's always a big thing with me).  I realized that they learned of those folks by reading a previous Douglass-Riverview blog story I'd done about them.  The new story and their accomplishments will be published on the News and Current Events website for Black History Month 2021 and will also be published in the newspaper.  

That was reason enough to put the Douglass-Riverview blog link back on the website and make it available to our folks again, since it's available to everybody else.  I've discovered that other people outside our organization still want to read about us, so they have been reading news of our past on the blog.

All of the former blog posts are still there.. just go to the bottom of this page, and click "Older Posts."  The view automatically goes back to the previous page.  If you keep clicking "Older Posts" and going back a page, eventually you'll get to the very first post I made on December 30, 2007.. the birthdate of the Douglass website.

How long will the Douglass-Riverview News and Current Events blog stay on the website?  Your guess is as good as mine.  I'm hoping that you all, as alumni.... as friends.... as neighbors.... as folks with a stake in what happens to your alumni association, will support the darn thing... will read the News and Current Events blog.. will send me pictures... will send me information, and will contribute to the news and current events that you read about.  I'm old and retired now and I prioritize visits to Kingsport, but if you send me information and pictures, it will be published.

Please spread the word... the Douglass-Riverview News and Information Page is back.  For how long is up to you.

You can still send that information, along with pictures and story ideas as always, to douglassriverview@gmail.com  If you're gonna post it on Facebook, send it to me, too.  

We're more family to you than Facebook.


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.

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?


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)

Monday, June 20, 2016

New Resource to Help End Homelessness in Kingsport


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


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.”


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Reunion of the Ages Announcement and Recent Gospel Songfest Event


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.


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)


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



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


Jeff Bobo• May 4, 2016 at 1:48 PM

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.


“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.”