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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

In Memory of Our Loved Ones

The 2007 Douglass Alumni Association pauses to pay our sincere respects to recent loved ones who have passed.
As we gather to fellowship with our relatives, friends and neighbors this wonderful Reunion weekend, please keep in your hearts the memory of our brothers and sisters who have left us since the last Reunion.

Clellie Stafford Baylor
Christine Henry Black
Wallace Bly
Yolanda Webb Childs
Julia "Mutter" Evans
Kaye Brown Gaines
William Duke Gray
Pearl Graves
Jean Watterson Goff
Bernice Johnson Hale
Shirley Harrison
Katie Henderson
Pricilla Hemphill
Steve "Sir Joy" Hoard
Anita Carnes Jackson
Ann Green Lyons
Ruth Campbell McClintock
Jasper "Ronnie" Releford
Mary "Mutt" Clark Rutledge
Cleveland "Cleve" Rutledge
Paul Taylor
Leroy Turner

We stand on the shoulders of all those Douglass Alumni, Riverview Residents and South Central Kingsport fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors who came before us, fought the long fight, took a stand, and gave us inspiration. Some of them left us far too early, others too sudden to comprehend.
May God hold them special in His Keep, as we forever hold them deep in our hearts.

2007 Little Miss Vision Pageant



It's the 4th year for the Little Miss Vision Pageant. The event was held at the Renaissance Center in Kingsport. Mrs. Joni Hughes welcomed the audience, and the young ladies spoke and performed with grace and charm.
The contestants were judged on that grace and charm, and when all was said and done, nine-year-old Ms. Jasmine Lillard was crowned Little Miss Vision 2007. She was crowned by last year's winner, six-year-old Janiya Johnson.
Mrs. Lillian Leeper chaired the pageant this year, with Mrs. Carolyn Faulkerson, Mrs. Joni Hughes, Mrs. Blossom Pierce, Mrs. Sinora Lewis and Ms. Tonia Leeper all serving on the Little Miss Vision committee. Mrs. Leeper paid special thanks to the parents of the young ladies, reminding all that "with God, all things are can be whatever you want to be."

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Broken Douglass Trophies Repair Now Complete!



It's my pleasure to report that the Douglass athletic trophies that were accidently broken during their 40-year storage at Dobyns-Bennett are now all repaired.
Pete Williams at Varsity Trophies in Kingsport did a great job repairing and restoring the broken trophies.. some were missing arms, some were missing basketballs, others were missing face plates and entire statutes, and even others had severely damaged bases. Mr. Williams replaced what could be replaced, fixed what could be fixed, and in some cases, he completely rebuilt trophies into new ones that we can all be proud of.
Our thanks to Kingsport City School Board Member Wally Boyd, who authorized the repair and the return of all of the Douglass trophies stored at Dobyns-Bennett to the Douglass Alumni Association.. Also, thanks to Dobyns-Bennett Assistant Principal Mike Fulkerson, who helped round up all the Douglass trophies in storage (and is on the lookout for others that might still be in storage at D-B).. Pete Williams, whose care and patience resulted in beautiful statutes restored to their original glory, and also Douglass Alumni Past President Douglass Releford, who helped organize the return of the trophies, and who helped me coordinate that return this year.
All of the Douglass trophies will be on display at the upcoming reunion, first at Field Day June 30th, beginning at 11:30 at the Douglass Ball Field, and later that night at the Douglass Banquet at 7 PM at the Meadowview Convention Center. This will be your last chance to see them before they go into careful, packing-crate storage with bubble wrap at regulated temperatures, awaiting their new home, hopefully a new, modern trophy case in an old familiar home.. the soon-to-be-renovated Douglass High School building. More on that to come!

Don't Forget--Reunion Calendar of Events!


FRIDAY, June 29th
6 PM - Until????
Karaoke, Light Refreshments

SATURDAY, June 30st
7 AM DOUGLASS SCHOLARSHIP GOLF TOURNAMENT, Golf Tournament, Shotgun Start, Cattails at Meadowview

9 AM Assembly for the Parade, behind Krispy Kreme, East Center

10 AM Douglas Alumni Parade, Dale Street, to Wilcox, to Lincoln,
to Dunbar, ends at the Douglass Ball Field, corner of Lincoln and Louis Streets.

11:15 - 4 PM FIELD DAY, Douglass Ball Field, corner of Lincoln and Louis Streets (registration also continues here), viewing of the Douglass High School Athletic Trophies.

7 PM - Until??? DOUGLASS ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BANQUET, Meadowview Convention Center, Speaker: Douglass Alumnus Barbara O'Neil, Music: The Scat Cats. Viewing of the Douglass High School Athletic Trophies, Special Picture/Slide Presentation, courtesy of Douglass Alumnus Brenda Bond.

SUNDAY, July 1st
11 AM Church Services, the church of your choice

3 PM DOUGLASS ALUMNI ASSOCIATION MEMORIAL SERVICE, Ebenezer Baptist Church, 1072 Maple Street, Kingsport. Lighting of the memorial candle, and presentation of scholarships, Speaker: Douglass Alumnus Edward Horton.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Julia Whittington Evans Passing

KINGSPORT — Julia Whittington Evans, 82, entered into eternal rest at her home on Friday, (June 15, 2007).
She was born in Dante, Va., one of 12 children of Emory and Kitty Whittington.
Mrs. Evans was a member of Central Baptist Church. During her life Mrs. Evans served in various volunteer positions both in her church and the community. She retired from Tennessee Eastman. “Muller” enjoyed reading, “good food” and spending time with her family and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; three sisters; seven brothers; and a son, Ricky (2004.)
She leaves to cherish her memories,
her husband of 61 years, William A. Evans; one sister, Betsy Pierce (Jack), Kingsport;
one sist e r- i n - l a w,
Willie Bond, Kingsport; sons, William Earl Evans (Stacy), Kansas City, Mo., Carl Evans, Tampa, Fla., Dale Evans (Marie), Norfolk, Va., John Evans (Shaun), Kingsport; daughters, Kathy Bradford and Gail Evans, Kingsport, 11 grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.
The family will receive friends from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Central Baptist Church, Kingsport.
Services will follow at 11:30 a.m. at the church with the Reverend Doctor Anthony H. Daniels officiating.
Burial will be at 2 p.m. at the National Cemetery, Mountain Home, Tenn.
Expression of love and online condolences can be sent via email to
Mrs. Julia Henrietta Evans and family are in the care of R.A. Clark Funeral Service.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Women's Fellowship Conference 2007 Wraps Up at Shiloh



The annual Women's Fellowship Conference 2007 at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Kingsport wrapped up with a soul-stirring, fact-finding and revealing sermon by Doctor Mildred Thompson. Doctor Thompson is the Executive Director of Gospel News Publications based in Collinsville, Virginia.

Doctor Thompson has been the Conference Preacher for the Shiloh Women's Fellowship Conference since it began. Quoting from the Holy Scriptures, Doctor Thompson moved the congregation at the Saturday evening service, by provoking the Followers of Jesus to remember His Teachings and follow His Word. Her moving sermon had the faithful turning many times to their Bibles to follow along, and was a return to the old-time teachings of the ministers the congregation grew up with, and many were moved to tears by her soul-touching words.

Reverend Carolyn Helm addressed the congregation at the event's Prayer Breakfast earlier Saturday morning, also with very inspiration words. A special treat at the conference was the coming-home of our own Reverend Doctor Helen Horton Styles of Burlington, North Carolina. This wonderful Minister of the Word was introduced at the Welcome Reception by her mother, Mrs. Pinkie Horton.

Although held at Shiloh, which is pastored by the Reverend Kenneth Calvert and his wife, the Reverend Linda Calvert, the Women's Conference was a representation of many churchs in the area.

Genesis Second Generation Holds Fundraiser




Songs of Praise rang all through the Kingsport Civic Auditorium, as the popular youth group Genesis Second Generation held a benefit concert on Sunday, June 9th, 2007. The original Genesis Choir Group started at the Bethel A.M.E. Zion Church on Maple Street, and Douglass Alumni Members Douglass Releford, Rolax Jones and Virginia Hankins, along with the members' parents, were instrumental in the group's tremendous sucess at that time. They were also among the original Genesis members who were recognized by the group's administrative assistant and manager Stella Robinette.

Genesis Second Generation is a rebirth of the older group, and consists of youth from many churches all over Kingsport, and even some college students. The director is the Reverend Bernard Goliday, who accompanies the group on the electric organ. Marketing Director for the group is Linda Wade.

After a welcome from Mark Kilgore of Kingsport Parks and Recreation, and a welcome from the Reverend Donnie Wade, it was down to business for the talented group of singers.. the business of Praising the Lord and glorifying his name.

Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips and his wife were among the audience of well over a hundred people. On behalf of the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Mayor Phillips declared June 9th as "Genesis Second Generation Day" in the Model City.

The concert and its 15-dollar donation raised funds for the Jalissa Ferguson Memorial Park in Riverview, named for the four-year-old Riverview girl killed by a drug dealer's bullet in 1994. The shooting sparked a revival of community spirit that has slowly reclaimed the neighborhood for our relatives, friends and residents who live there.

During a special moment at the concert, Jalissa was named an honorary member of Genesis Second Generation, and her mom was presented a group shirt.

The Genesis Ensemble-Second Generation Alto Section is comprised of Nyashia Grady, Cyndee Morrisette, Beth Daniels, Jessie Hampton, Samantha Burke, Nikka McClain, Joy Stewart, Victoria Price, Kierra Kilgore, Amanda Morgan, Kahmil Dulaney, Sydney Edwards, Mariah Maxwell, Tamaya Jones and Sha'quale Sharpe.
Tenors are Josh Perry Tra Price, Johnathan Perry, Marlon McGue, Terance Maxwell, Adrian Sensabaugh, Sam Turner, Lavonte Turner, Thomas Edwards, Curtis Montgomery, David Mitchell, Ashley Craft, Joey Clanton, Cory Drigger. Sopranos are Jackie Hampton, Fredrica Grady, Sierra Evans, Shasha Morrisette, Jessical Turner, Briesha Camp, Xena Huff, Mackenzie Stokley, Mackaela Stokley, Faith Mbarathi, Shay Turner, Kelsey Dulaney, Quamina Williams, Becca Morgan, Shuvonna Williams, and Michelle Maxwell. The director-in-training is Tyyonna Grady.

(As mentioned above, pictures of the concert are in the Photo Gallery, and videos of the songs are in the Riverview-Douglass Videos section on the Website Main Page)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Kingsport Chamber Honors Local Grad With Scholarship


A Dobyns-Bennett graduate is one of two recipients of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce’s annual Santa Train scholarships, honoring a graduating senior attending high school along the route. Both are recipients of a 4-year scholarship worth $5,000.

The Kingsport Chamber of Commerce awarded 2007 Santa Train Scholarships to Jessica Aldridge of Kingsport, and another recipient from Kentucky.

Miss Aldridge is a 2007 graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport and was active in the student organizations Natural Helpers, Ebony Club, FCCLA, WIA, DECA, Maroon and Grey Yearbook Staff, Weed and Seed, Shiloh Youth Group and the New Vision Youth Group. She also participated in a number of community volunteer events. Aldridge plans to attend East Tennessee State University and Johnson and Wales in Charlotte with the hope of one-day opening up her own bakery as a pastry chef.

The Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce awards its Santa Train Scholarship to graduating seniors who attend a high school located along the Santa Train route, which runs from Pikeville, Kentucky to Kingsport. The Chamber selects its recipients based upon grade point average, extracurricular activities, work records and recommendations from advisors.
The Kingsport Chamber sponsors the Santa Train with CSX Transportation and Food City. It’s an annual 110-mile train journey through Appalachia to distribute literally tons of donated gifts, clothing, candy and toys to children in Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. The 2007 run of the Santa Train will be the 65th, and is scheduled for November 17th.

Our Douglass Alumni Association congradulations to Miss Aldridge and we wish her success in all of her academic endeavors!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

2007 Douglass High School Reunion Registration Form

Douglass High School Reunion Registration Form
(Please copy, fill out and mail with fee to address below)

Name (1)____________________________

Name (2)____________________________





Shirt Size, Quantity____________________


Medium ______________

Large ______________




Registration Fee for Alumni $100, Non-Alumni Spouse $50, Child $25

Please enclose full payment, or partial payment_________________

amount due____________________

Vendor Fee______________________________

TOTAL FEE SUBMITTED___________________________________

Douglass Alumni Association
P.O. Box 1936
Kingsport, Tennessee 37660


New Vision to Host Card-Making Party

• KINGSPORT — New Vision Youth for Kids invites area youth to its Father’s Day card-making party June 15 at 6 p.m. at the V.O. Dobbins Auditorium, 302 Louis St., Kingsport. For more information contact Johnnie Mae Swagerty at 246-6623.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Moving Day For Some Riverview Apartment Residents

MOVING DAY: A U-Haul is backed up to the Riverview Apartments door, where Timothy Pierce is waiting for movers to load up his belongings.


Many residents are quietly, but with determination, making the move from the Riverview Apartments to other housing. Very soon in the future, scenes like the one above will increase, as people use the financial allocation they get from the Kingsport Housing Authority, to vacate the apartments, making way for new single and multi-family housing to be built.
Some of them will return with housing vouchers for the new homes being built by the funds provided by the HOPE VI federal revitilization grant. Others, like the people we encountered moving out, say they are not coming back.
"We're not coming back," Dee Overbey says, "because there was just too much confusion over when we were to move out. One person told us we had two weeks, only to find out we had just one week, once we got the money."
Timothy Pierce is moving to the Holly Hills Apartments just across the river in Rotherwood Hills. "We were lucky to find a good place over there, and all we can do is wish the folks here good luck," he says.
Demolition of the Riverview Apartments is scheduled for later this year, with construction on the new Riverview Housing to begin sometime next year.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Bragging Rights About The Largest Black High School in the Tri-Cities

Douglass High School, Kingsport AT RIGHT

Langston High School, Johnson City AT RIGHT

There's been some discussion in recent months about which school could lay claim to have been the largest African-American High School in the Tri-Cities. Most people schooled in the 40's, 50's and 60's, all agree the competition was only between two schools, Langston High School, Johnson City,at right.. and Douglass High School, Kingsport in the top picture.

After an exhaustive search of the records at the Johnson City Public Library, Gail, the reference clerk located a book about Langston from 1965, the last year it was a school. That turned out to be the best source for the comparison, because it is physical evidence.. Even though Douglass-Kingsport closed the next year, its last published annual was also in 1965, another piece of physical evidence. From that, we simply did head counts for both schools.

By 1965 and through integration, Langston High School had already sent its elementary students, grades one through six, to other elementary schools in the Johnson City School System, housing only students from 7th grade through 12th grade. In 1965, Douglass still had most of its elementary students still in its building, although some, anticipating intergration, had already started going to other elementary schools in Kingsport, most notedly George Washington Elementary.

To be fair to Langston and to make an accurate comparison between the two schools, the Douglass Elementary School numbers are not used in determining the final student count. I simply counted all the 7th through 12th students who had pictures in the 65 Douglass annual, and Gail, the reference clerk at the Johnson City Library quoted me the 7th through 12th grade numbers in the Langston book.

Here's the head count numbers for 1965:

Langston 7th Grade: 18 students
Douglass 7th Grade: 20 students in Class A, 20 students in Class B

Langston 8th Grade: 22 students
Douglass 8th Grade: 17 students in Class A, 26 students in Class B

Langston 9th Grade: 30 students
Douglass 9th Grade: 26 students in Class A, 26 students in Class B

Langston 10th Grade: 25 students
Douglass 10th Grade: 23 students

Langston 11th Grade: 34 students
Douglass 11th Grade: 21 students

Langston 12th Grade: 35 students
Douglass 12th Grade: 26 students

Douglass also had 15 Special Education students in 1965.

The total for the 1965 school year was 164 students at Langston, and 220 students at Douglass-Kingsport.

As the 2007 Reunion approaches, Douglass Alumni in Kingsport can take comfort in the fact that they attended THE LARGEST AFRICAN-AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL IN UPPER EAST TENNESSEE, and also, THE LARGEST AFRICAN-AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL BETWEEN KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE AND ROANOKE, VIRGINIA, a huge distance of 237 miles!


Sunday, June 3, 2007

Douglass Reunion Meeting, June 2nd

At right, George Smith holding the 2007 Reunion Logo design. Click on the picture to get a closer view.


Top right, Your 2007 Douglass Alumni Association Reunion Committee Board members gather for a group picture.

First row from left to right: Linda (Peaches) Bly, Douglass Releford, Sheila Leeper, Kathy Bradford (Alumni Association secretary), Ozine Bly.

Second Row: Van Dobbins, Jr., Vicki Woods Smith, George Smith, (Golf Tourney Chairman), Andra Watterson, vice presicent (board member), Sandra Wilmer (2007 Banquet Mistress of Ceremonies), Thelma Watterson, Judy Phillips, Virginia Hankins (Alumni Association Treasurer), Ruth Russell (Alumni Association Chaplain), Dawnella Ellis, Ed Horton (2007 Alumni Scholarship chairman), and Louetta Hall (2007 Alumni Association president.

Present for the picture, but not in it, is Calvin Sneed, your webmaster. He's the one taking the picture.

A packed meeting this past Saturday, as we all get closer to reuniting as Douglass Alumni, and Riverview-South Central Kingsport residents.
Several things were finalized during this particular meeting, including the date(s) that we will meet in the next few days to stuff the packets that you'll get during the Reunion.. we'll be doing this as a group starting at 1 PM on June 23rd. This time around, you'll find several items that are useful around the home or office. Also, we're working on the booklets that you'll get. Decisions were made on the program items for the Alumni Banquet and the Memorial Service.
Check out the shirt you'll get when you register. George Smith is holding the 2007 logo over a white polo shirt like you'll receive, in the above picture.
We're also asking Billy Tarter to provide karaoke during the registration on Friday night, June 29th. This should be a fun event to get us in the mood for the upcoming two days.
The Golf Tournament is expected to be a big event.. By the way, the entry fee is 15 dollars this time around. Just remember that all your fees all go to our Douglass Alumni Scholarship Program.
Speaking of that, we have three winners for scholarships this Reunion. They will be announced at the Memorial Service at Ebenezer on July 1st.
We're planning for our Douglass Athletic Trophies to be displayed at both Field Day, and at the Alumni Banquet. The trophies that were damaged during their stay at Dobyns-Bennett are being repaired at this writing, and I am told, will also available for viewing during that time. After the reunion, they will be properly stored until a new, modern display case is installed in the renovated Douglass High School building.
SPECIAL NOTICE TO VENDORS FOR FIELD DAY: be sure to get your 25 dollar per space fee in as soon as possible.
As mentioned, Linda (Peaches) Bly is the Mistress of Ceremonies for the Memorial Service at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on Sunday. The speaker for the Memorial Service is Mary Bond. Sandra Wilmer has been named the Mistress of Ceremonies at the Alumni Banquet at Meadowview on Saturday night, and Ed Horton will be the guest speaker.