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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Special Called Meeting Of The Douglass Alumni Association Board of Directors

There is a special called meeting of the Alumni Trustee Board of the Douglass Alumni Association, on Saturday, April 4, 2009, at 4 PM. The meeting will be in the Fellowship Hall of St. Mark's Methodist Church.

To be discussed, are specifics on the Souvenir Booklet for the Douglass Reunion visitors.

It is requested that any trustee member with questions, to please write them down to keep the meeting moving and on time.

NOTE THE SPECIAL TIME: 4 PM, instead of the normal 1 PM.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Youth Talent, Fashion Show Set For Sunday

• KINGSPORT — New Vision Youth will present 2009 “Youth! Show Your Talent and Fashion” Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Clinch Mountain Lodge No. 531 (Elk’s Lodge Auditorium), 1018 Martin Luther King Jr. St., Kingsport. Admission is free, and refreshments will be served by Friends of the Community. A practice for the event will be held Friday at 4 p.m. at the Elk’s Lodge. Sponsors of the event are Brothers of Clinch Mountain Lodge No. 531 and Daughters of Dunbar Temple No. 344. For more information or to register, call Johnnie Mae Swagerty at 246-6623.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009



Job and career fair set for Friday

• KINGSPORT — A job and career fair, sponsored by South Central Kingsport Weed and Seed, will be held Friday at the Kingsport Renaissance Center, Room 239, from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Participating in the event will be Accuforce , the Alliance for Business and Training, Tennessee Career Center, A-1 Workforce, First Team, and At Work Personnel. For more information, contact Mary Alexander at 392-2578.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Douglass-V.O. Dobbins Demolition-Renovations Begin

A faithful group of Douglass School alumni and neighbors gathered this past weekend, March 21st, 2009, to celebrate, reminisce and look forward to the upcoming renovation of the V.O. Dobbins Community, formerly the Douglass School in Riverview.


During the short ceremony in bright sunshine and warming temperatures, a welcome to the group was given by Andrea Watterson, vice president of the Douglass Alumni Association, Kingsport. Reverend James Snapp read passages from the Scripture, and emcee Calvin Sneed gave a brief history of the auditorium and the school, and its upcoming role as Kingsport's non-profit center. When it is finished, the center will be the first complex in Tennessee to house most of its non-profit agencies all under one roof, for the convenience of Kingsport citizens. The non-profit Douglass Alumni Association of Kingsport, will also have its offices in the center, having never had a permanent home.

Visitors to the event included Commander Gerald Cardwell of the American Legion, Hammond Post 3, a non-profit organization which will occupy offices in the new V.O. Dobbins Non-Profit Community Center to be built where the Douglass Auditorium is being torn down. Mr. Cardwell told the group the American Legion is looking forward to moving into its new offices, and joining the community in remembering the Riverview heritage, and is proud to help spread the family legacy of the neighborhood.

Rev. Snapp then offered a blessing of the demolition and the upcoming renovation work, saying that "alumni and Riverview neighbors are looking to the future with a lasting legacy for those who have passed through this historic building." Rev. Snapp also thanked God "for the times that folks have lived in the building, and the history that was left there, so that it will not be forgotten, and as the time moves forward, that we will all be together in the community, and His Kingdom as well."

When the short ceremony concluded, it was time for the one thing many alumni and neighbors dreaded.. the beginning of the demolition of the historic Douglass Auditorium. On the heels of The Last Great Program at Douglass, some folks remarked how sad it was, to see this part of the building come down. With each swing of the big bucket, it was like a part of the neighborhood's soul was being torn down as well. Although sadness filled the air, there was also an air of impatience, as if 'let's get on with it' as folks watched and commented on the changing face of the neighborhood.

A crew from Luke Green Construction and C-T Construction, fired up the machinery and started the demolition process by knocking out the high windows of the auditorium. WCYB-TV, News 5 also covered the story for the 6 o'clock news. Click on this link to see the stories that aired on Saturday night at 6 and 11 PM. Bricks holding the windows in place began tumbling to the ground.. bricks themselves loosened from the strain of water leaks that, for years, had weakened the mortar and separated the bricks from the underlying structure.

A spokesman for the construction firms says, the asbestos removal had only finished several days ago, but is now finished, and the firms are under a two-week mandate to tear the auditorium structure down and have the debris hauled away.

Johnnie Mae Swaggerty offered a remembrance for the auditorium, entitled "New Facelift:

"Douglass Auditorium, you've done great.. through special programs like Douglass plays, speeches, pageants, degates and many other programs.

You've come up to the present for the use of community events like the Kingsport Arts Council, the New Vision Youth 3rd Annual Candlelifht Vigil, the Riverview Boys and Girls Club, community meetings with the Kingsport Police Department and the Riverview Easter Egg Hunt and many more.

You, Douglass Auditorium.. you will be going down today as history!

We will miss you, but a new facelift will take place and will be greatly appreciated. Douglass alumni will be proud to have a state-of-the-art conference room called the Douglass Community Center, and will take pride in it and will use it with the always-present Douglass School spirit.

Something good, something new."

Johnnie Mae Swaggerty, 3/21/09

Douglass Alumni Trustee Board Meeting - March 21, 2009

At the regular meeting of the Douglass Alumni Board of Trustees, work continued shoring up and finalizing plans for the upcoming Alumni Reunion this 4th of July.

In old business, discussions continue getting Richard Ford and his D-J Express to provide music for the Reunion Sock-hop on Friday night, July 3rd, and the Reunion Banquet on Saturday night, July 4th. Trustee Ozine Bly will take several questions from the Board to Mr. Ford, concerning his price and availability for the nights needed, and will report back at the next board meeting.

That led to the Alumni Association's entry in the Kingsport 4th of July Parade on Saturday morning, July 4th. The board has decided not to build a float because of the expense involved in making a good one, so trustees discussed whether to have an open pick-up truck, a convertible, or a flat-bed truck pulled by a truck, all adorned with the Douglass School banner and other decorations. Nothing was decided at this time, and the issue was tabled for future discussion at the next board meeting.

On Field Day, July 4th, it was reported to the Board that the permanent shelters on the Douglass Ballfield have been reserved for the alumni, and can be decorated. Arrangements are being made with the city of Kingsport for electricity for the 3-hour event. Vendors will provide their own tents and equipment.. rental spaces will be 25 dollars, payable to the Douglass Alumni Association, of which money goes directly to the Alumni Scholarship Fund.

In new business, potential advertisers for the Reunion Souvenir Booklet are being solicited to purchase ad space. New letters going out to ad customers will include the Alumni Association's new "non-profit" designation. Calvin Sneed reported that he had sent out 14 letters to potential advertisers, along with a Souvenir Ad form to be filled out. All black churches and the various districts they belong to, will be contacted, along with the local shopping malls.


After the meeting adjourned, and the pot luck lunch, trustee members resigned themselves to the task of stuffing envelopes with invitation letters for the upcoming Reunion, to be sent to all the alumni for which the Board has addresses for.

An assembly line was set up, with some members folding the letters, some stuffing them into the envelopes, and others putting address labels on them. After such a full lunch, the line had its ups and downs, but in the end, mission accomplished!

VIDEOS: "The Last Great Program at Douglass" and "The Douglass-V.O. Dobbins Demolition Begins"

We have now posted videos of "The Last Great Program at Douglass," courtesy of Kingsport TV from January 10, 2009, and "The Douglass-V.O. Dobbins Demolition Begins," courtesy of WCYB-TV from March 21, 2009.

Both were very emotional ceremonies, and historic to our school and our Riverview Community.

Please click the links below for the video stories.

"The Last Great Program at Douglass"

Douglass-V.O. Dobbins Demolition Begins

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ceremony Planned at V.O. Dobbins


• KINGSPORT — A short ceremony will be held to commemorate the beginning of renovations to the V.O. Dobbins Community Center Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. The former Douglass School building will become Kingsport’s new nonprofit center. After the ceremony, during which light refreshments will be served, the demolition crew will begin demolishing the historic Douglass Auditorium, signaling the start of the renovation work. All Douglass alumni and residents of Kingsport are invited to attend. For more information, contact Johnnie Mae Swaggerty at 246-6623 or Calvin Sneed at 421-7784.

By the way, the ceremony AND the regularly scheduled meeting of the Douglass Alumni Board Trustees meeting at 1 PM, will be streamed live on the Douglass website, beginning around 11 AM on Saturday morning.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ebony Club Conference Call

A message to all members of The Kingsport Ebony Club Alumni Association

Want to participate in our next conference call? If so, dial (646) 716-5918 on Wednesday, March 18th at 9:00 p.m. (EST). Please know that the agenda has already been etched in stone, but we do want to get some input from you, especially as it relates to maximizing our numbers.

Again, if you'd like to participate, dial (646) 716-5918 on Wednesday, March 18th at 9:00 p.m. (EST).

Jeff "Pac-Man" Faulkerson

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mrs. Pinkie's Birthday Party

Mrs. Pinkie Horton's birthday party was a rousing success, as one of the "mom's of the Riverview Neighborhood" celebrated 82 years young at the Shiloh Baptist Church this past Saturday.

The pictures say it all.. please check them out in the PHOTO GALLERY. For the folks who could not be there in person, the event was streamed live on the website's main page, and several people have told me, they thoroughly enjoyed looking in, and listening in as well.

Most of the Horton family was there, and plenty of Mrs. Pinkie's Riverview buddies were on hand, sharing stories and a few humorous tales. It reminds us all of how precious family is, and how wonderful neighbors are.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Community Invited to Douglass Ceremony

• KINGSPORT — A short ceremony will be held Saturday, March 21st, to commemorate the beginning of renovations to the V.O. Dobbins Community Center. There was a mixup about the date in the paper, but the ceremony will be this coming Saturday, March 21st.

The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. After an overflow audience at the “Last Great Program at Douglass,” city officials, architects and construction crews are now ready to turn the old Douglass School building into Kingsport’s nonprofit center. After the ceremony, during which light refreshments will be served, crews will begin demolishing the historic Douglass auditorium, signaling the start of the renovation work. All Douglass alumni and residents of Kingsport are invited to attend. For more information, contact Johnnie Mae Swaggerty at 246-6623 or Calvin Sneed at 421-7784.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Miss Pinkie's Birthday Party"

All Riverview and South Central Kingsport alumni and residents are invited to attend a 82nd Birthday Recognition & Party for Mother Pinkie Horton, on Saturday, March 14, from 1:00-3:00pm, at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Kingsport. There will also be a money tree available for her.

As you know, "Miss Pinkie" is one of our neighborhood mom's.. For as long as we all can remember, she was helping raise all of us as children, as she and Ray raised their own children. If you went to Central, you didn't act up. She was one of the Central Mothers who "straightened you out." She is truly, part of the heart and soul of Riverview.

She's a familiar face at most Douglass-Riverview events, and as we help celebrate her birthday, we thank the Lord that we can do that. Let's join the family, in commemorating her birthday.

The birthday party event will also be streamed live on the main page of your Douglass website, Just click the "play" button in the middle of the TV screen to connect. By the way, if the video stops during the event for whatever reason, click off the website, then click the "play" button once again. Sometimes, I have to correct an error and start the feed over again.

Ebony Club Forms Alumni Asociation



Members of the former Ebony Club at Dobyns-Bennett High School now have a way to reconnect with each other — and they’ll have the chance to reunite later this summer.
The newly formed Kingsport Ebony Club Alumni Association has a Web site open to both former members and friends of the club, which was founded in 1972 by former John Sevier Middle School teacher and track coach Lib Dudney.
The club was created to give the school’s African-American students a better sense of their collective history, as well as a more accurate understanding of the varied contributions of their ancestors to the American way of life. Dawnella Ellis, a former Dobyns-Bennett High School teacher, assumed oversight of the club in 1977, continuing to work in this capacity until her retirement in 2005.
Jeffery A. Faulkerson, who lives with his wife and son in Wake Forest, N.C., was a member of the club while he attended D-B in the early 1980s. He also served as the club’s president.
“Our big event was a talent and fashion show,” he said. “We had it every year usually around Black History Month. That event was open to the whole student body. The show was in the Little Theater at Dobyns-Bennett. We did community service-type activities, and we also took field trips. I remember — and it’s been a long time since I graduated — we visited Livingstone College [a private, historically black college in North Carolina].”
Faulkerson and others began tossing around the idea of forming an alumni association in late 2007 and early 2008, he said.
“Me and Johnnie Mae Swagerty started having some discussions about it back in early 2008. This was after conversing with Dawnella Ellis,” he said. “We were just really interested in getting some of the former students, former members, together for a reunion. We just said, ‘Let’s schedule a date,’ and we decided to get it in line with the Douglass [School] Alumni Association. They have reunions every two years. We said it’d be great for us to get all our former members together the same weekend the Douglass Alumni Association has their reunion.
“As for the alumni association itself,” Faulkerson said, “we have some plans to incorporate it and really make it more of a formal organization, either as a not-for-profit organization providing funding for students who go to college, or funding some local non-profits there in the area. We just believe we’re restoring linkages to our glorious past. That’s why we exist as an organization. We had some wonderful years there at Dobyns-Bennett, but in many respects, we don’t hear the African-American story being told. We’re really just trying to educate the general public about the club’s existence, some of the great things we accomplished back then, and some of the great things we’ve accomplished as adults.”
Currently, more than 80 former club members have registered on the Web site, including one member now living in Burbank, Calif. Initial response has been good toward the association’s 2009 Reunion Weekend, scheduled for July 3-5.
“It’s a full weekend, and everybody is looking forward to it,” Faulkerson said. “We want to give people something to come back to. You want to make it a special time where people can come back, sit and relax, reminisce about what life was like back in the day.”
For more information, click on the link below, or click on the "Kingsport Ebony Club" link on the Douglass Website main page.

Kingsport Ebony Club

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dallas Cowboys To Add Safety Gerald Sensabaugh


The Cowboys took a step toward filling a hole in their secondary by agreeing to terms with safety Gerald Sensabaugh on a one-year deal Tuesday.

Sensabaugh, 25, started a career-high 13 games last season in Jacksonville and was credited with 82 tackles to go with four interceptions and four pass deflections. A fifth-round pick in 2005 by the Jaguars, Sensabaugh played in 50 games with 24 starts and had 168 tackles and six interceptions.

Gerald Sensabaugh fields question from kids at the Kingsport Boys and Girls Club during a recent visit. He was honored for his support of the organization. Photo by Ned Jilton II

He has played mostly strong safety but started three games last season at free safety. Sensabaugh, 6-0, 204 pounds, played for secondary coach Dave Campo and special teams coach Joe DeCamillis in Jacksonville.

Having cut Roy Williams and with Keith Davis testing the free-agent market, the Cowboys had a major need at secondary. Ken Hamlin has started the last 32 games at free safety but there was little depth behind him. Patrick Watkins is coming off reconstructive shoulder surgery and Courtney Brown and Tra Battle have little experience. The Cowboys also signed Jerome Carter in January.

Davis has visited Kansas City but could still return to the Cowboys because he plays a vital special teams' role.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Douglass Alumni Non-Profit Status APPROVED!

The Douglass Alumni Association of Kingsport, Tennessee is now a non-profit, tax-exempt charity.

It means that people, businesses and corporations can now make donations and contributions to the Alumni Association, and claim it as a tax-free donation, under the rules of Section 501(c)3 of the I.R.S. Tax Code.

Alumni Board Trustee President Douglas Releford received the notification from the Internal Revenue Service a few days ago.

"We are very excited to have this," Doug says. "I know it will be a worthwhile designation for us. We started this thing in May of 2008 and our thanks to Alumni Trustee Ed Horton and his initial work with the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce for laying the groundwork. Later, as (noted author and Kingsport native) Jeff Faulkerson helped move the application process along, it seemed like they just kept making us jump through hoops and circles.. they kept asking for more information, more information. Next thing we know, we 'didn't have enough signatures on the application.' This being our first time, doing it without a lawyer's help, it was just a real struggle for us."

"Now being a non-profit charity and having our tax ID number," Doug says, "we'll be more accessible to corporations and businesses in the area, who will hopefully help us do things by making tax-free donations and contributions for the good things we do for the community. I think we'll be able to apply for some grants, expand a few of the programs we have, and even begin new ones, and continue to be a positive influence in the lives of our young people, and the folks in the community."

Below is the entire letter from the I.R.S. to the Douglass Alumni Association, Kingsport:


Dear Applicant:

We are pleased to inform you that upon review of your application for tax-exempt status, we hav edetermined that you are exempt from Federal Income Tax, under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. contributions to you are deductible, under Section 170 of the Code. You are also qualified to receive tax-deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under Section 2055, 2106 or 2522 of the Code. Because this letter could help you resolve any questions regarding your exempt status, you should keep it in your permanent records.

Organizations exempt under Section 501(c)3 of the Code are further classified as either public charities or private foundations. We determined that you are a PUBLIC CHARITY under the code Sections (s) listed in the heading of this letter.

Please see enclosed Publication 4221-PC. Compliance Guide for 501(c)3 Public Charities, for some helpful information about your responsibilities as an exempt organization.

Robert Choi
Director, Exempt Organizations
Rulings and Agreements

If any Douglass alumnus, business, company or individual has questions about the non-profit status of the Douglass Alumni Association, please contact Board President Douglas Releford, Media Coordinator/Public Relations Manager/Website Manager Calvin Sneed, or Tax-Exempt Preparer Jeffrey Faulkerson at:

Douglass Alumni Board Meeting: Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Douglass Alumni Trustee Board is both happy, and inquisitive about its newly-awarded non-profit status with the IRS. The Douglass Alumni Association, Kingsport has now been declared a non-profit charity by the government, under Section 501(c)3 of the federal Tax Code.

It was one of the topics discussed at a specially-called meeting of the Trustee Board this past Saturday, March 7th.

In order to solicit contributions and donations that can now be considered tax-deductible to the Douglass Alumni Association, it was agreed that new stationary be printed with the non-profit status prominently listed under our name. In fact, all mentions of the Douglass Alumni Association will have to include the non-profit designation. Several questions arose from trustees, concerning how to spend Association funds now, now to file out separate forms for the IRS using our tax ID number. Calvin told the group, he is researching all of this, and will report back to the group once he talks to the IRS personally about the responsibilities of non-profit organizations.

In other business, the trustees also set admission prices for non-alumni members to attend the two paying events of the upcoming Reunion (the hospitality Sock-Hop Friday night, and the Reunion Banquet on Saturday night).

As discussed and approved, the prices are:

Douglass Alumnus: $125.00 (already approved)
Non-Douglass Alumnus: $60.00
Each child of Douglass Alumnus, age 12 and under: $30.00

Richard Ford with DJ Express is under consideration to provide musical entertainment for the Reunion. Trustee Ozine Bly is negotiating with Richard for the Hospitality Sock-Hop on Friday night, and Saturday night's Reunion Banquet Dance.

NEXT MEETING: Saturday, March 21st at 1 PM in the Fellowship Hall at St. Mark's Methodist Church, where the Reunion Letters will be addressed and stamped for mailing. The final Banquet Dinner menu will be decided then, as well.

New Vision Youth Practicing

• KINGSPORT — Practices for New Vision Youth’s 2009 “Youth! Show Your Talent and Fashion” show will be held this Saturday as well as March 14, 21 and 28 at the Elk’s Lodge.


The show will be held March 29 at Clinch Mountain Lodge No. 531 (Elk’s Lodge Auditorium), 1018 Martin Luther King Jr. St. at 4 p.m. Admission is free, and refreshments will be served.

Sponsors are Brothers of Clinch Mountain Lodge No. 531 and Daughters of Dunbar Temple No. 344. For more information and to register call Johnnie Mae Swagerty at 246-6623.

Friday, March 6, 2009

March practices set for youth talent show

• KINGSPORT — Practices for New Vision Youth’s 2009 “Youth! Show Your Talent and Fashion” show will be held this Saturday as well as March 14, 21 and 28 at the Elk’s Lodge. The show will be held March 29 at Clinch Mountain Lodge No. 531 (Elk’s Lodge Auditorium), 1018 Martin Luther King Jr. St. at 4 p.m. Admission is free, and refreshments will be served. Sponsors are Brothers of Clinch Mountain Lodge No. 531 and Daughters of Dunbar Temple No. 344. For more information and to register call Johnnie Mae Swagerty at 246-6623.