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Monday, March 19, 2007

Douglass Football Flashbacks #1: Bobby Joe Johnson, Douglass '52

"It was some of the best fun I ever had."

57 years ago, Bobby Joe Johnson (at left) was the star quarterback at Douglass High School on East Walnut Avenue (now East Sevier Avenue) in Kingsport. Please go to the PHOTO GALLERY under "Douglass School Sports" for a picture of the Douglass High School football team Mr. Johnson played on. Although he also played basketball for the Tigers, he remembers the Riverview neighborhood school spirit at the football games the most.

"We alway played hard when we played football against the schools in our league," Mr. Johnson says, "and our fans always came to the games. They were always loud and boistrous, but still courteous and mannerly, given the upbringing we all had in Riverview.. polite, but proud." The all-black schools that Douglass played against were Austin High School in Knoxville, Langston High in Johnson City, Slater High in Bristol, and the African-American schools in Greeneville, Tennessee, Bristol and Big Stone Gap, Virginia. "We always played them twice in the same year, because we were not allowed to play the white schools in the area."

"We always followed our coaches' instructions, Coach Kizer and Coach Cox," says Mr. Johnson says, "because there were consequences if we didn't. They'd make us work in the school garden as punishment for doing something wrong or not following directions." The garden was down where the old Oklahoma Grove School was, down between Center Street and Main Street at the railroad "Y". "Work in that garden, digging those rows, culling out weeds, piling up all them rocks.. do that a few times, and you'll never want to do anything else wrong the rest of your life," he laughs.

Mr. Johnson started playing football when he was just eleven years old, and his natural scrambling ability earned him the quarterback position at Douglass. That ability came in handy in the early 50's, when Douglass High beat Knoxville Austin to be crowned Tennessee state champions. "We were the only Kingsport football team to ever win a championship," he says, "because Dobyns-Bennett hadn't won one yet." The distinction was ironic, since the Douglass players wore the old uniforms, pads and football equipment handed down by Dobyns-Bennett. "We didn't even wear the shoulder pads when we practiced," says Mr. Johnson, "so we wouldn't wear them out further."

"We were very proud of our trophies," he says, "which were prominently displayed at the school on East Walnut Avenue. The trophies made the move to the new Douglass School in 1951, and when the school closed in 1966, all the Douglass trophies we earned in all sports were moved to Dobyns-Bennett. "I'd sure like to see them come back to the old Douglass School someday," Mr. Johnson says. "We didn't win them just for the school, we won them for the neighborhood. It was a big achievement for us, and a source of great pride to our little community."

"We had some special plays during the games," Mr. Johnson laughs about now. "We had a 'triple reverse fielder's run play, which meant, on kickoff return, reverse the direction you're running a few times, pass the ball off to several guys scrambling, and they just couldn't catch us once the ball got into fresh hands. We'd just run away from them." "Another of our famous plays involved simply hiding behind the referee," he says. "If you ever looked at the referee, he'd think you just did something wrong and he'd blow that whistle, so the other team tried not to look at him. Well, if we were hiding behind him, the other players were afraid to look at him, and so they never knew what we were going to do," Mr. Johnson laughs. "We'd score every time."

"We'd always played our games at the Dobyns-Bennett field on East Center Street when Douglass was located down the street on Center at East Walnut, " Mr. Johnson remembers. "My class was the first one to graduate from the new Douglass School when it moved to Louis Street in Riverview in 1951. We'd only been there a year." Although he understudied veteran basketball player Vernell Allen, who went to Tennessee A & I (now Tennessee State) in Nashville and eventually joined the Harlem Globetrotters, Mr. Johnson received a football scholarship from Swift College, a small Presbyterian school in Rogersville, Tennessee. "Even though I had scholarship offers from Tennessee A & I, Florida Normal, and several other universities, the Swift college personally recruited me personally at Douglass to play football and basketball for him. I took that one so I could stay close to home," Mr. Johnson says.

"I never played baseball in high school," Mr. Johnson says, "but we did have a neighborhood team we formed that played visiting black teams from time to time that came to town. One of those visiting teams was the Homestead Braves, the all-black team out of Washington, D.C. We probably played against some future major league players and never even knew it."

One of the biggest things Mr. Johnson says he remembers from those days, was the fellowship of the players and the community. "It's important to have more than one talent. Capitalize on what you do best, and try to always do it well, " he says simply.

Another piece of advice Mr. Johnson, now 75 years old, says, would help the younger people cope with the stresses of their uncertain futures. "Never forget the past.. always remember your roots," he says.

"It will come back to haunt you if you don't"

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Douglass School Renovations Update


I spoke recently with the Kingsport Housing Authority about renovations planned for Douglass School. After years of putting it off and sending allocate money elsewhere, the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen have finally decided to move ahead with major renovations at the V.O. Dobbins Community Center and the Douglass School building. The cost of the project is projected at more than seven million dollars, some of which may be coming from the HOPE VI revitilization grant, that's also going to tear down the Riverview Apartments and replace them with new single and multi-family homes.

Right now, the Douglass School building is being used for nine head start classes that meet in the former classrooms; the Dobbins Community Center, which is mostly in the old Douglass Gym, the Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency, an office of Kingsport Parks and Recreation, and the Neighbor Service Center. Areas that are not being used right now, include the auditorium and its balcony, both of which seat about 300 people total, and the stage, which is a full-service platform that has capabilities to light and sound professional productions.

Also not used to its full capacity, is the former Douglass School cafeteria, which is basically a storage area now.

To be added to the present Douglass School building after the new renovation, is a non-profit wing that will house agencies like the American Red Cross and the United Way of Kingsport. Smaller non-profit organizations will also be moved into the school building, including offices and meeting space for the Douglass Alumni Association.

A second gymnasium is also on the drawing board, which is to be larger than the current 0ne.

The auditorium will be redone and brought up to current city code standards, with possibility the addition of the professional lighting and sound systems it used to have.

"We're excited about renovating the Douglass School building," says CeeGee McCord, deputy executive director at the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority. "There is so much history in that building, and it is so well loved by neighborhood residents, that there's just no way to do a renovation of the Riverview Apartments, without including the school building that has served as one of the major anchors of the neighborhood."

To get a perspective of what the renovation will look like, take a look at the picture above.

The view is from the Eastman side, looking at what we always considered the back of the building. To the right of the covered opening in front, in the center of the picture is what we knew as the Band Room with the Douglass Auditorium directly behind it; behind the covered opening is the old Douglass Cafeteria, and to the back of that are the former Douglass classrooms, with the gym to the right at the top of the picture.

"We have thought about keeping the original facade of the building," says Mrs. McCord, "and with the extra square footage, we'll end up with several new entrances to the building, in addition to improvements to the entrances we have now."

The new additions are the new entrance to the left with the flag waving in front, and the second gymnasium on the far right, attached to the old building. It's generally viewed that the new gym on the right will take up space where the tennis courts are now, down to the current outside jungle gym. It's hard to think the new entrance and the building that will attach to the current auditorium and old Band Room will not take James Street, between Louis Street and Wheatley Street, given the size of the old building in the picture and the size of the new addition in the picture above.

"Right now, we are not anticipating closing James Street," says Mrs. McCord. "We do have the purchase options on two houses that border that street (the house on the corner of Louis and James, and the old McMiller house that sits empty on the corner of Wheatley and James).

"Nothing has been decided yet, and we don't feel there would be additional options on property near those. The City of Kingsport would be responsible for closing James Street, and nothing has been discussed."

"We are also very excited to provide the Douglass Alumni Association office space," says Mrs. McCord. "That organization is dedicated to keeping the historic Douglass spirit alive in the community, and we're looking forward to the chance to help the alumni display and present the history of the school and the neighborhood, and getting photos to blow up and display."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

UPDATED Riverview Resident Passes

KINGSPORT — Mrs. Clellie M. Baylor departed this life on Monday, (March 12, 2007) at Brookhaven Health Care Center after a lengthy illness. She was born in Knoxville, but spent most of her life in Kingsport. Mrs. Baylor was director of the Summer Recreation Program located at Douglass High School for 15 years. She had a passion for working with children/youth. After being employed at J.C. Penny Co. and Kingsport Water Department, she started her own baby-sitting service and was a member of St. Mark United Methodist Church.
Preceded in death by her father, Mr. George McGhee; mother, Mrs. Estelle Stafford; two sisters, Ella Stafford and Veda Berry; two brothers, Stick and Brownie McGhee; and a daughter, Elizabeth Ann Cunningham. Survived by two daughters, Ms. Ellen Mason of Columbus, Ohio and Mrs. Eugenia (Jeannie) Hodges (Willie) of Kingsport; eight grandchildren, Lisa Greer, Susan Hodges, Willie Hassan and Shelbourne Mason, of Kingsport, Melissa (Vinnie) Adams of Chicago, Ill., Maia (Josh) Whittaker of Boulder, Colo., Patricia Mason of California, and Kennan (Gloria) Mason of Knoxville; 16 greatgrandchildren; 18 great-greatgrandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends from 11 a.m. until the hour of service and also anytime at the home of the daughter, Mrs. Eugenia (Jeannie) Hodges, 333 Louis St. Services will be conducted at 12 noon Friday at St. Mark United Methodist Church with Rev. Doug Tweed officiating. Interment will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery.

The family wishes to thank the staff of Brookhaven Healthcare Center for the care, kindness, and attention shown to Mrs. Baylor and family during her illness. Expression of love and online condolences can be sent via email to Mrs. Clellie M. Baylor and family are in the care of R.A. Clark Funeral Service.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Our Video School Song Is A First!

I hope you all are enjoying the video recording of our Douglass School Song.
After careful research, which is basically looking at every middle and high school website in all of East Tennessee, including Tri-Cities, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and all points in between, I can tell you ours is the ONLY video singing of a school song on any school website anywhere in East Tennessee (and our school has been gone 41 years!).
Other schools that come close, are Chuckey-Doak High School in Greene County (words only--no music)... Morristown East High School (computer-generated music that is not the school song)... Cherokee High School in Rogersville (which uses the Tomahawk Chop song that Florida State and the Atlanta Braves both use)... and Central High School in Knoxville (audio only---no video).
We are proud of our DOUGLASS SCHOOL SPIRIT! It is unmatched anywhere in East Tennessee.
Please visit the school song link on the main page on the right, just above the pictures.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Douglass Alumnus Passes

Carrie Taylor • Paul Taylor - JOHNSON CITY

Carrie L. Taylor and Paul J. Taylor, 300 Peach Blossom Court, entered into rest on Saturday, March 3, 2007, at their residence. Paul Taylor was a Johnson City School System Teacher and retired from the TVA. Carrie Taylor had been employed at the Hands On! Museum and retired from Sears. Survivors include: sons, Paul J. Taylor and Jason E. Taylor; daughter, Renee A. Taylor; step mother-in-law, Nora Alexander; and other family members and friends.

Memorial services will be held at 2 PM Friday, March 9, 2007, at the Birchette Mortuary “Chapel of Love” with Bishop Matthew Barber officiating, Burial to follow at Washington County Memory Gardens. The family will receive friends from 1 to 2 PM prior to the services. Professional services provided by Birchette Mortuary, Inc. 219 East Millard St.

Kingsport, Tennessee and HOPE VI: HOPE Springs Eternal


"At some point, I really wanted to own my own home," says Riverview Apartment resident Cecelia Rutledge. Ms. Rutledge moved to Kingsport from Hampton, Virginia nine years ago to be closer to her family, several members having lived for generations in Kingsport's oldest public housing unit. When she heard about the government grant program called HOPE VI, that offers home ownership as an alternative to renting, she, indeed, saw HOPE in the concept, but so far she says, she's still HOPING to get answers to her many questions about it.

"I'm the kind of person that usually asks a lot of questions," she says anxiously. "I'm sure my family here qualifies, and since we do, I would like to know when I'll be relocated. I have health issues that require letting the relatives know that are going to move me when I will need them."

"I need to know when to get ready to move," she says.

"We are trying to speed the process along," says Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority Deputy Executive Director CeeGee McCord, "but at the same time, we don't want to make mistakes that would allow our residents to fall through the cracks." Last fall, the KHRA received notice that the City of Kingsport has been awarded a 12-million dollar grant to tear down the Riverview Apartments, which were built at the end of the Great Depression and just prior to WorldWar II, and replace them with single-family and multi-family homes the residents can purchase or rent through Section 8.

The first step in the process to sign up the Riverview Apartment residents that are interested in the program, then relocating them to nearby temporary housing, while the new homes are built, and finally moving them back. To help the process along, the KHRA asked that Regional Relocation Director Phillip Fortenberry of the Atlanta Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office in Atlanta, come to Kingsport to answer residents' questions. "We are hoping to get started relocating residents as soon as Mr.Fortenberry can get back to Atlanta," says Ms. McCord. "Most of the problem is getting the right information on the relocation process out to residents, so the process will go smoothly."

She says, right now, there's no real timetable for the move to actually start. "Our big question to HUD is, 'if the residents are ready to move right now, can we go ahead and move them, even though the revitilization part of the funding process hasn't started yet," Ms. McCord says. "We know folks are anxious, but the government takes great pains to make sure there are no problems along the way." Ms. McCord says HOPE VI revitilization programs in Knoxville and Chattanooga were done on a much larger scale than Kingsport's, and as a result, "we hope to keep our Riverview program on a more intimate level. We know our residents pretty well, we are friends with them, and, although we can learn from those cities, we plan to keep our eyes on any problems Knoxville and Chattanooga had, that we MIGHT have, and attack them early on."

Ms. McCord urges all Riverview residents to speak up and ask questions either in person, or at the various community meetings the KHRA sponsors. The first few meetings held at the V.O. Dobbins Community Center were quickly moved to larger facilities at the Community Center, when more Riverview residents attended than expected. Central Baptist Church Pastor Dr. Anthony Daniels offered the use of the church's Fellowship Hall, when even more residents attended with questions.

"Right now, all I've got are questions," says resident Cecilia Rutledge, whose family only decided the day this reporter visited her, to try for the HOPE VI home ownership program instead of Section 8. "We are here to stay," she says. "We love this neighborhood, and we want to contribute to its success."

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Knoxville and HOPE VI: Despair and HOPE


When time came for residents to move out of the old College Hill Apartments in the Mechanicsville community in Knoxville, Tennessee, so they could be torn down and the new neighborhood built, some residents did not want to leave.

"They were extremely adamant about not moving," says Alvin Nance, the executive director of the Knoxville Community Development Corporation (KCDC). "We had to set out five residents on the absolute last and final day, so the revitilization plan associated with HOPE VI could continue," he says. The city of Knoxville received its HOPE VI allocation in 1998, but the first grant wasn't paid for almost a year and a half. "We had many residents who were ready to move, and we had a situation of 'hurry up and wait," says Mr. Nance. After months of frustration, KCDC decided to use its own money up front to relocate residents, knowing the federal grant money would come soon. Many of them moved to other public housing in Knoxville, some took the Section 8 vouchers that were offered and found their own housing, and still others found other housing with relatives. KCDC also provided residents the money to move with, and the agency was eventually reimbursed by HUD.

"One thing we would have done differently," says Mr. Nance, "would be to have gotten the nearby schools in on the relocation process, and bring them to the table early in the process." He says, when the HOPE VI government grants became available, principals of nearby schools were not notified that many of their students who lived in the College Hills Apartments would be temporarily relocating. As a result, "their student population dropped, which affected the student-to-teacher ratio," he says,"and ultimately, federal government money the schools received that particular school year was significantly less than expected." To avoid that, Mr. Nance says, "get the school system involved early, so they'll be ready to adjust."

"The relocation process out, the teardown, the rebuilding, and then the relocation back to the neighborhood went smoothly for the most part,"Mr. Nance says. He says, it's difficult moving people away from the environment they've lived in for third and fourth generations. "Their family history is in the projects, whatever support structure their lives had is being disrupted. Their church, their nearest family members, their stores, their rides to and from work, were all right there in College Hills," he says.

"Our elderly residents were entitled to come back, and so we did not even require them to sign a contract to do so," Mr. Nance says. But it turns out, NONE of them wanted to return. "During the first phase, they were relocated to high-rise senior citizen apartments, which, after years of raising children and grandchildren, catered to their every need. For the first time in their lives, someone was looking after THEM, in quiet settings, no noise, no loud music, no kids and grandkids, and every activity was geared to them," he says.

"We also had activists who said they were looking after the poor and low-income people, who came in and tried to rally the College Hills residents against the HOPE VI revitilization," Mr. Nance says, "and we had to address their concerns that "only white folk would be moving back into these nice homes." We fought that and won, and our neighbors in Kingsport need to be aware of that faction, because they can have good arguments that may sway the momentum away from revitilization."

His best advice for those residents and government officials in the Riverview Apartments redevelopment is to "be patient. HUD expects you to get the HOPE VI revitilization plan finished in four-and-a-half years, and that is definitely NOT going to happen. HOPE VI is a great thing for the community, but be patient.. residents need to ask questions, officials need to provide as many answers as it can, and neither side needs to get upset with the response."

"Stay the course."

TOMORROW: HOPE VI is not just for large cities. Kingsport, Tennessee has just been awarded a HOPE VI series of grants to renovate public housing in its African-American community. We'll visit "The Model City" as it tries to rebuild a "model community" smack dab in the middle of a "model" industrial environment.

Monday, March 5, 2007

The Only Place In The Tri-Cities Where You Will Still Find The Word "COLORED" On A Public Sign

Most people riding through downtown Johnson City, Tennessee going east on one-way Main Street. probably go right past the little brick church on the left, just before you get to the Johnson City Press newspaper building. It has been at least a generation since the word "colored" appeared on a public sign, but this one remembers a place where African-American children received a quality education, despite the overriding feeling of the time. The building marked by the sign is well over a hundred years old, built back in a time of racial segregation and separatism. African-American citizens of Johnson City realized that their children needed a place of learning, and since the local government provided none, they decided to surround the children with learning that had a church background.

The historical marker from the Tennessee Historical Commission that notes the establishment reads thusly:

"This 1889 structure, originally the Colored Christian Church, now West Main Street Christian Church, was also Johnson City's second school building (1889-1891) for colored children. It is the oldest church building and school building still standing in the city. Hezikiah B. Hankel, who founded the church, ca 1869, was a leader in establishing the city's earliest African-American schools. William Wolfe was principal (1888-1907) of the school in four different locations."

Douglass Reunion Committee Meeting of March 3, 2007

Just another wonderful get-together by the Reunion Committee planning our 2007 Douglass Reunion this past Saturday at St. Mark's. (PLEASE SEE MORE PHOTOS IN THE PHOTO GALLERY)

Ed Horton, who's heading up the Douglass Alumni Scholarship Committee brought us all up to date on the criteria for our graduating high school seniors hoping to earn a Douglass scholarship for college (photo in the photo gallery).

There are three criteria that will consider students for the scholarship. First of all, the Scholarship Committee is not necessarily looking for a student with a 4.0 grade point average, feeling that those students will probably already have their scholarships lined up. The Committee is more interested in well-rounded students with decent grades, who have the potential to do well in college, and also, have been good citizens, with service to the community. These criteria met with approval by the Reunion Committee. Dawnella Ellis also volunteered to help by helping to find gifted students who meet the criteria. Her help will be so valuable, because she reported to the group that since her retirement, there is not a single black teacher at Dobyns-Bennett anymore. It's thought good African-American students at that school may get lost in the shuffle because of that, as teachers may devote their time and attention elsewhere. The Scholarship Program will also be sent to the area churches. The deadline for scholarship entries to be in, is May 1, 2007, and the Scholarship Forms will be available on the this website shortly. Please copy the form, fill it out, and have your student send it in before the deadline.

Of the hundreds of Douglass Reunion flyers mailed out a month ago, many of them came back marked "undeliverable" by the Post Office. At the meeting, we divided up the returned ones in terms of the ones that some of us knew how to contact, and the names of the unknown ones with incorrect addresses are posted in a separate News article on the website. Please visit that previous article, and if you know the person mentioned, please contact us so we can get a Reunion flyer to their correct address.

Meanwhile, registration has started for the Reunion, and remember that if you cannot send in the 100-dollar fee all at once, please send what you can on installment and you'll be credited.

After the article about the Douglass Alumni Association was published in the Kingsport Times-News, a nice lady put the article in a frame and offered it to the Alumni Association for a price of 144 dollars. Feeling that this framed work would serve well on the wall in our soon-to-be office in the renovated Douglass School building, our Reunion Committee took up a collection this past Saturday at the meeting, and purchased the picture (photo in the Photo Gallery). It's a beautifully framed picture.

Ozine Bly brought us up to date on the Parade Permit, which we now have officially. So far, Johnny Mae Swaggerty and the gifted New Vision Youth will have a float, as well as some of the other organizations, and this may just be one of the best parades we've ever had. If you or your organization or church group would like to enter a float, please contact Ozine at

It's off in the distance, but mark your calender and bring your fine singing voice to the Douglass School Choir practice on June 18th at 6 PM.. The group will rehearse at the Bethel AME Zion Church on Maple Oak Lane.

By the way, lunch was very good after the meeting with sandwiches, cookies, chips, fruit slices and shrimp (thank you Shelia!). Each time we meet, it's like a little mini-reunion during which we really get things done for our Alumni Association.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Reunion Committee will be April 14th at 1 PM at St. Mark's on Maple Street. If you enjoy good fellowship, a knowledge of what your Alumni Association is doing, come on down to the meeting. You'll be glad you did.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Chattanooga And HOPE VI: Back From The Brink


Years ago, the Spencer McCallie Homes complex in the Alton Park neighborhood of Chattanooga was indeed complex. Most African-Americans who lived there havebeen there for generations, gripped in the throes of poverty on government assistance and working just enough to break even. Crime and drugs were rampant, and even with police patrols, the area seemingly had no promise and no future.

And then, HOPE VI came to town.

HOPE VI is a series of government grants, designed to reshape and revitilize neighborhoods in three general areas: physical improvements, management improvements, and social and community services to address resident needs.

"HOPE VI has turned the Alton Park neighborhood completely around," says Bob Dull, director of the Chattanooga Housing Authority. "It has given people hope, where there was none before." A HOPE VI grant provided the first phase of physical improvements in the area by temporarily relocating the residents of McCallie Homes' 6,000 units, then completely tearing down the apartments, known by slang as "the projects." "Many of the folks took advantage of the housing choice voucher program," says Mr. Dull. "Those vouchers allowed them to moved back into newly built single-family and multi-family homes with front lawns and backyards on individual lots. A lot of residents chose not to come back, because, after relocation they had settled into a different kind of lifestyle than they were living before."

"The residents that came back, came back to a brand new neighborhood of nice homes, neatly manicured yards, and the drug dealers have gone some place else," Mr. Dull says. "Every resident has a reason to be proud of that accomplishment," he says. Once a HOPE VI revitilization plan is approved bythe U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the host city has a minimum of four years to complete the program, and certain deadlines have to be met for continued federal funding. Mr. Dull says Chattanooga only missed a couple of milestone dates that he says, relates to the funding of infrastructure (apartment demolition, updated water and sewer lines, burying powerlines underground, etc.).
"As a result of our everyday forward progress, Chattanooga is considered in the top five per cent of the HOPE VI Revitilization program," says Mr. Dull. "The revitilization of Spencer McCallie Homes is one of HUD's most successfully done programs in the country, and we are extremely proud of that."

Money from HOPE VI is also being used for another project near downtown Chattanooga in another government-subsidized housing project. It's hoped the old James High School building can be renovated, and turned into a community showplace. "We'd like to use a HOPE VI grant for upgrading the building and renovating it into an extension of Chattanooga State, restore some child care programs through Hamilton County Schools, add an extention of Wells Fargo, and add arts and drama programs through Chattanooga Parks and Recreation," says Mr. Dull.

"We are closely monitoring the same type of program that's currently being considered for the old Douglass School in Kingsport, Tennessee that you told me about," he says. "I am aware of the community spirit that supports the renovation of that school, and we want to bring back the same school spirit that Douglass Alumni show for their school, here," he says. Mr. Dull says,ultimately, he and a group of Chattanooga movers and shakers will visit the Riverview Community in Kingsport to see for themselves the neighborhood support that revolves around the old school.

As Kingsport, Tennessee prepares for its HOPE VI Revitilization program in the Riverview neighborhood, Mr. Dull has some advice. For the administrators of the program, he says, "don't get boxed in by all the program regulations. Be sure and do your homework and start early.. there are lots of restrictions that come with government funds, and don't be afraid to make informed choices on what the money will be used for."

For the residents who'll come back from relocation to new homes and a new neighborhood lifestyle, he says "Congratulations. You've just made the first step towards America's dream."

TOMORROW: We'll visit the HOPE VI Revitilization Program in the Mechanicsville Neighborhood in Knoxville, Tennessee, and examine the problems and progress that Kingsport's Riverview Neighborhood can certainly anticipate, and definitely learn from.

Do You Know Where These People Are? Please Help Us Locate Them!

Do you know where these folks whose names are listed below are? The above picture is of the Douglass Reunion Invitation forms that were returned after we mailed out, and below are the last known alumni addresses on the form. We need to find them ASAP:

Terry Lynn Bowditch
600 Maryland, SW
Washington, DC 20024

Sally Baylor Davis
112 Brook Ridge
Hogansville, GA 30230

Mary Watterson
210 Robert Street
Christiansburg, VA 24073

Sofronia Ward
1818 Caroll Ave.
Roanoke, VA 24017

Nancy Alford
6710 Quander Rd.
Alexandria, VA 22307

Thelma Skaggs Prices
768 Griggs Ave.
Columbus, OH 43223

Robert Furman Cristwell
7208 Idlewild Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28212

Roland F. Holmes
2254 Craig Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95832

Jennie Morton
70017 S. Crieger
Chicago, IL 60649

Ruth Baylor Hines
1500 Marion Ave., Apt 607
Akron, OH 44313

Sandra Norman
2601 John B. Dennis Highway, Apt. 1610
Kingsport, TN 37660

Augusta J. Forrest
101 Tennessee St.
Kingsport, TN 37660

A month after we mailed Douglass Reunion Invitation flyers out to everybody, the one sent to these folks all came back as Undeliverable. It's possible they've moved, or the address we have is incorrect, or there's a one or two numbers out of place (in one instance, we had the right address for somebody in Nashville, but the zip code we had, was for Kingsport).
If you know where these folks are, please send me their correct addresses, so we can get their flyers out to them.
Thanks for your help!