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Sunday, April 26, 2015

2015 Douglass Reunion Plans Progressing

Plans for the Douglass Reunion are progressing.

The event is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 3rd, 4th and 5th in Kingsport.

Plans are for a meet-and-greet for returning Douglass alumni and alumni in the community for Friday night, July 3rd.  The event will be held in the Douglass Community Room at the V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Complex.

Instead of a gathering in the Douglass Ball Field, the Reunion's Field Day will be a picnic at the Eastman Cabin at Bays Mountain Park on the Fourth of July afternoon.  Efforts are also underway to have a barge tour on the Kingsport Reservoir at the Bays Mountain Planetarium.

That night features a banquet with music, also held in the Douglass Community Room.

Sunday's events on July 5th include attending the church of your choice that morning, then the Douglass Memorial Service in the Douglass Community Room.

Thanks to everyone who have notified the Alumni Board of their plans to attend, and a reminder that if you haven't done so, please let the Board know so that enough food can be ordered.  You can do that by emailing our Board Secretary Vicki Smith at

Also, a reminder that dues for the upcoming operational year for the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association are payable now.  Please don't forget that the Board needs all former Douglass alumni and all descendants of Douglass alumni to pay dues and maintain the Association's programs.
Please mail your dues to:

Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association
301 Louis Street, Ste. 104
Kingsport, TN 37660

Thank you!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Tribe track teams pull off sweep of Big 7/IMAC titles


KINGSPORT — On a night when one of the greatest track athletes in Dobyns-Bennett history was honored, the D-B girls and boys swept the team titles in the Big 7/IMAC track meet at the Dan Crowe/Tom Coughenour Track.

Friday saw the return of former Indians standout Andre Releford, who was the Tennessee 100-yard dash champion in 1971, ’72 and ’73. He helped lead the D-B to boys state track championships in 1971 and ’72.

“Coming back here is such a thrill,” said Releford, who now lives in Blacksburg, Va. “I just wanted to say thank you to all the people who supported me when I was here at Dobyns-Bennett.”

The Tribe girls won the team title with 114.5 points. Morristown West (110) was second ahead of third-place Science Hill (109). D-B’s boys posted a 114-105 win over Science Hill with Daniel Boone third (102).

D-B’s Bryce Barrett — after a Releford-like outing — was named the meet’s most outstanding performer. Barrett won the 200 (22.51), and 400 meters (49.68) and finished second in the 100 (11.06). He also ran a leg on the Indians’ winning 4x400 relay.

He posted personal-best times in all three of his individual races.

“The competition was really good in all the races tonight,” Barrett said. “I was just trying to beat whoever I was running against.
“To earn this award is an extreme honor considering all the good athletes here tonight.”

Morristown West’s Jessica Lord was named the meet’s most outstanding female runner after victories in the 400 (59.24) and 800 (2:24.75). She also ran the anchor leg on the Lady Trojans’ winning 4x800 r e l a y.

“I was really happy for our relay team,” said Lord, a sophomore. “In the 400, I just had a burst of energy and that got me through that race. In the 800, I just got mad at myself because I thought I could be running faster. I started kicking and just went for it.”

Daniel Boone standout Adam Barnard, the defending state 1,600-meter champion, put on a show from start to finish in his specialty. Barnard blistered the track to easily take the event title in a stellar time of 4:14.14.

“It was a little different strategy tonight,” said Barnard, who also won the state cross country individual crown last fall. “Usually I just hang back and use my kick at the end. Tonight I went hard from the very start. That pace pulls my teammates along and they run fast, too, so that’s a good thing.”

Barnard was named the meet’s most outstanding male runner.

The Indians’ Alijah Dunn exploded off the board and had a leap of 46-7 in the triple jump. That distance was the best recorded in the state so far this season.

“My first jump was 46-3 so I knew I had it in me,” said Dunn, named the meet’s most outstanding male in field events. “I moved to a shorter board and felt more comfortable. That was the key.”

D-B’s Sasha Morrisette was named the meet’s most outstanding female in field events after winning the long jump (15-5) and triple jump (35-4¼). She also finished fourth in the high jump.

Science Hill sophomore Halle Hausman had another showdown with the Wilson twins from Morristown West. Last Saturday, Hausman outkicked Cherie and Chantal in the 1,600 meters at the Frank Carver meet for an impressive win, and she repeated the performance Friday night.

Using a withering kick over the final 200 meters, Hausman crossed the finish line first in a time of 5:11.50, ahead of runner-up Cherie Wilson (5:13.15) and third-place finisher Chantal Wilson (5:14.11).

Friday, April 17, 2015

"They are Just Like Us": Ministers' Fashion Show in Johnson City

It was a fashion show, more unique in the terms of the models themselves and not so much their what they were wearing.

Local ministers were the featured attractions at the first annual Ministers Fashion Show in Johnson City.

The idea of a fashion show focusing on local preachers, grew from an idea at the St. Paul A.M.E. Zion Church in Johnson City, where Barbara Watterson is a member.

"We were meeting at the church one day in the Missionary Society," she says, "trying to figure out 'what kind of program could we do that we haven't done before?'  I thank God that the idea just popped into my head 'well, why don't we do a fashion show with the ministers.. maybe let them model their finest clothes?'  The other church members looked me like I was crazy.  I reminded them that we were looking for something that had never been done before."

Watterson says, a few minutes went by, "and then something must have clicked.  Somebody said 'well, let's try it, let's go for it."

"I guess the rest is fashion history."

Although scheduling and frequent problems with the weather abounded, the idea of showcasing ministers in a setting other than the church pulpit, was something that made the fashion show concept an intriguing one.

"We see them when we need prayer, we see them when they're preaching the Gospel," Watterson says, "we see them comforting the families at funerals, and joining couples in holy matrimony.  But we never see them as people, as human beings.  Don't forget.. that was the beauty of Jesus.  He was the Son of God, sent down from Heaven to walk among us, to live among us, to be One with us.  He rejoiced with us, He cried with us, He suffered with us.  He did that while he was ONE of us."

"Our ministers are people, too," she continued.  "They want to get out and be amongst the people and be involved in things in the community, but we don't ever think to ask them.  We don't ever want to bother them with things in the community because we don't think they would be interested, but they just might be.  They have lives, too.  I think it's beautiful when we can showcase our ministers in a positive light away from the church."

The fashion show was just the ticket for that.

Participating were the Reverend Irving H. Greene, pastor of the Robinson Memorial AME Zion Church in Bluff City...... the Reverend George Kukubor, pastor of the White Memorial AME Zion Church in Middlesboro, Kentucky.... Bishop Dr. Amos W. Gbaq, Sr., of the International Christian Fellowship of Johnson City..... Pastor James Reddick of the Hood Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church and Presiding Elder of the Johnson City District.... and the Reverend Dr. James A. Snapp, pastor of the Jones Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in Greeneville.

Reverend Greene was first on the runway.   His first ensemble consisted of a pure wool black business suit by Oleg Cassini, surrounding a gray dress shirt by John W. Norstram.  The tie was a 100% silk handmade tie, with a polka-dot pocket piece.  His black dress shoes were made by Stacy Adams, and he was supported by a brass duckbill cane.  Reverend Greene topped it all off with a short bring black felt hat, from Knox of 5th Avenue.

To the delight of the audience, he proclaimed that he "is about His Father's Business."

Next on the runway, Reverend Kukubor is a native of Ghana.  His dress outfit is a Soldier of Ashanti Golden Stool, him being a Holy Man of the Golden Stool.

Ghana is one of Africa's most developed countries, with a predominately Christian religious background, with Muslim also practiced.

The audience was mesmerized by the strikingly beautiful suit modeled by the Middlesboro minister.

Next up, Bishop Gbaq claims the African nations of Liberia and Ghana in his history, as well as Johnson City, Tennessee.

The audience was astounded and excited to learn that the Bishop "made everything that he wore in the fashion show."

Pastor Reddick's ensemble consisted of a single-breasted suit with brown stripes.  It was complimented with matching tie and matching shoes.

The suit is by Alan Lebow, tailored for Blakely Mitchell.

The special shoes are from Allen Edmons by Winhall.

Pastor Reddick considers himself "fit to be a part of the crowd."

Finally, the Reverend Dr. Snapp made his way down the runway.  He wore a black and grey long coat suit, made by Giorgio Capella.

His hat was fashioned by Lite Felt, and the custom shoes were made by Nunn Bush.

Reverend Snapp took time to thank the audience for coming out and more so, for allowing all of the preachers to be themselves.  That was representative of all the members of the clergy in the fashion show.

An extra added treat for the event, was the "presentations" by "T.D. Jakes" portrayed by Eric Black...  "Creflo Dollar" played by Anthony Hill, and "Fred Price" was Angelo Newman.  All of the "presentations" were about money, and all of them created laughter and "amen's" from the audience.

"We didn't want ministers playing ministers," says Watterson.  "These are just lay people, hard workers in their churches.  We wanted to have a little levity that folks could identify with, during the break while the ministers changed into their other fashions."

The ministers in their second set of clothes were also hits with the group as well.  Afterwards, a wonderful meal awaited the audience members in a spirit of fellowship remeniscent of many church gatherings.

All in all, a wonderful, different kind of gathering that Watterson wants to do again, given how well received this first event was.  She wants to involve the women leaders in the churches for the next one.

"Our ministers looked so good in their robes and their dress outfits," she says.  "They're sharp dressers because of their upbringings."

Given the weather reschedulings, "the Lord just makes a way," she proclaimed. "If He wants it done, it just gets done in His Way. The people enjoyed the fellowship and seeing their ministers as people."

"Let them be in the limelight.. let them be seen as people just like everybody else."

Monday, April 13, 2015

Douglass Alumni Board Meeting Scheduled

The Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association will meet Saturday, April 18, 2015, at 1: 00 p.m., at the V. O. Dobbins, SR. complex.

Please plan to attend... we will be discussing the plans for the reunion for this year.

---Douglass Releford, President
    Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association, Inc.