Total Pageviews

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Tonia Yolanda Draper remembrance


Tonia Yolanda Draper was born on October 31, 1958 to Kenneth and Louetta Springs Hall.  She attended Kingsport City Schools and graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School in 1978.


She then attended Bill Wampler's Beauty School and throughout the years, maintained a good clientele in in hair and makeup.

Tonia was also a member of the Central Baptist Church and sang in the CBS youth choir (the Central Baptist Singers).

Tonia won several beauty pageants and was a Debutante.  Her unique tenor sound paved the way for her to perform at many events throughout the Tri-Cities and East Tennessee.  While attending the Abundant Church, she sang in the Praise Team and two groups, Chosen Generation and Rapture.

In 1992, Tonia moved her family to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee after being hired to perform in the Passion Play.  She later developed, along with Melissa Harris and Regina Pate, a trio called True Divine.  For 20 years, they blessed the East Tennessee region by performing at many church services, weddings, and shows like the Nativity Pageant.  She had a special love and way with children that led her to a 24-year career as a teacher's assistant for the Sevier County Board of Education.


She was affectionately known as 'Miss Tonia' and 'Momma Tonia' by all her students and colleagues.

Tonia was a avid collector of Angels.  Throughout the years, she received more than 1,000 from her family, friends and students.

Tonia was preceded in death by her father Kenneth Springs, Sr.;  her father who nurtured her, Anderson Rudolph Hall;  brothers, Curtis and Kenneth Wayne Springs;  grandparents, Lester and Janie Springs and John and Louise Stewart;  and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

To mourn her passing, she leaves her mother, Louetta Springs Hall;  son, Odell (Ashley) Draper III;  daughter, Shenaiah (Dwayne) Thomas;  sister, Vanessa Yvette Springs;  EXTRA special siblings, Kenny (Nicole) Springs, Jr., Jamie Springs, and Sherika Nicole Springs;  her beloved grandchildren, Tyreese, Taiya, Leilana, Cailyn, Dallas, Carson, and Brayden;  great-grandchildren Sherry and Anastasia, and a host of very special friends, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.

The Celebration of Life service for Ms. Tonia Draper will be conducted on Friday, July 1, 2022 at 1 PM at the Central Baptist Church, 301 Carver Street in Kingsport, TN.

The family will receive friends from 12 PM until the hour of service.

Interment will follow at the Holston View Cemetery in Weber City, VA.

Professional care of Ms. Tonia Draper and family is entrusted to the Clark Funeral Chapel and Cremation Service, Inc., Kingsport.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Beloved Douglass Teacher to be inducted into Kingsport City Schools Teachers Hall of Fame


The name of the newest  teacher inductee into the Kingsport City Schools Hall of Fame is a familiar one.

"We are really excited that Cora R. Cox will be a member of this year's inductees into the Kingsport City School's Teachers Hall of Fame," says Andy True, the  KCS assistant superintendent for administration in an exclusive interview with the Douglass Website.

"It's incredibly exciting and an honor to recognize Cora Cox to go into the Hall of Fame.  She was certainly an individual that made an incredible impact on our Kingsport community, students and families."

From her biography written by the Douglass Alumni Association, the former Cora Rogers was born in the piney woods of Buena (pronounced BEE-u-nah) Vista outside Camden, Arkansas in 1936.  Even her relatives, especially her late aunt used to say the teaching profession seemed to be in her character even back then.

After graduating Arkansas State College in 1940, she taught in the Camden area for a couple of years, then got a temporary teaching position in Nashville, Tennessee.  While there in 1943, she ran into a man who offered her a permanent grade-school teaching position that she said later, she just could not pass up.  The man was V.O. Dobbins, Senior.  The teaching position was at the all-Black Douglass School in Kingsport, Tennessee, the largest documented African-American school of all the black schools in upper East Tennessee.

A lifelong career of educating young people had was about to blossom.

"She impacted so many people so many ways," True says.  "Early on, she developed a rapport with students and she was able to communicate with them on their level."

Cora Cox (by this time, married to John Cox, himself a former Douglass teacher and coach) began teaching second graders in Douglass' elementary school system.  She was also girls basketball coach for many years.  

In 1962, she transitioned into a new role as special education teacher at Douglass, teaching children with learning difficulties.  Douglass became the only school in the Kingsport city school system with classes for special education students.

Mrs. Cox was its first and only teacher.

"As a special education teacher, she was surrogate mother to so many students," True says, "she impacted their lives in many different ways."

While still at Douglass, Cora Cox went on to receive her master's degree from ETSU. and when Douglass closed for desegregation in 1966, Cora Cox founded the Head Start program.  Those classes  were held and still are, right inside the former Douglass school.

The culmination of her life's work began with teaching autistic children.  Because of that success, she was twice named Kingsport City Schools Teacher of the Year.  In 1976, she was named Tennessee Teacher of the Year.  The next year, Cora Cox was one of four finalists for National Teacher of the year.

"The bar that Cora Cox set was quality, based on what the student received of it," says True.  "It's kind of like Babe Ruth being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  It's the individual that sets a higher standard for what it means to be an educator."

Mrs. Cox passed away in 1982.  Today, the Cora Cox Academy is an alternative educational opportunity for children.  It is the only school in Kingsport named after a teacher in the school system.

"As we were having our discussions on the selection committee about the many worthy candidates we have," True says, "the one thing that kept coming up about Cora Cox was amazement that she wasn't already in the Hall of Fame.  She gave so much of herself and cared so much for the children and their families.  We just kept going back to that high bar she set for educating, and it's just a pleasure and an honor that she's joining the Hall of Fame this year."

This year's Kingsport City Schools Teachers Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be on Monday, July 25, 2022.  The event begins at 11 AM in the Buck Van Huss Dome on the Dobyns-Bennett High School campus.

All Douglass alumni and interested Riverview neighbors are invited to attend the ceremony.

Juneteenth Celebration 2022 in the V.O. Dobbins ballfield

This is a map of the Dobbins-Douglass Ballfield provided to us by the Juneteenth committee.

Juneteenth Activities in the Riverview Ballfield, Kingsport on Saturday, June 18th & Sunday June 19th


Tri-Cities Juneteenth - Education, History and Senior Event

Juneteenth Sessions - History  Saturday, June 18, 2022:

Juneteenth 1st Session, at the V.O. Dobbins Complex, Wheatley St.,

Kingsport, TN. [Beside Basketball Court]

Location: Riverview Community Room

Time: 7:00 pm – 8:00 p.m.


What Is Juneteenth?

Why Is Juneteenth A National Independence Holiday?

Open to the Public

Light Refreshments

Oratorical Contest

Saturday, June 18, 2022 and Sunday, June 19, 2022:

Oratorical Contest for Youth Organizations for Grades 6 – 8 

[Middle School Students]:

Youth Grades 6th – 8th, Middle School

One Page Typed Speech on “What Juneteenth Means To Me?”

Four youth will present their Speeches on Saturday (2 Speeches)

and Sunday (2 Speeches)

Gift Cards as Prizes to Participants & 4 Winners Presenting

Sponsored by Girls, Inc. , Greater Kingsport Boys & Girls Club,

New Vision Youth, H.O.P.E., Carver Recreation Center, YMCA Kingsport,

YWCA Bristol, Area Churches, etc.


Senior Event

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Special Recognition to the Oldest Living Senior

Citizens [80 & Older] in Kingsport, Bristol [5 Oldest Seniors] &

Johnson City [5 Oldest Seniors]

Honor the Oldest Senior Citizens at the Homecoming Service on

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Appreciation Plaques to the Oldest Senior Citizens of the Tri-Cities

If any Senior Citizen is Missed, we will follow-up and

present them with an Appreciation Plaque at a later date!


Juneteenth National Independence Day

Monday, June 20, 2022

A CommUNITY UNITY PRAYER commemorating the 157th Year

Anniversary of Juneteenth at the V.O. Dobbins Complex Field

Assembly Time: 11:45 a.m.

Prayer Begins at 12: 00 Noon – 12:30 p.m.

Hoping for at least 157 People to PRAY TOGETHER

Juneneeth in Kingsport

This story courtesy the Kingsport Times-News

KINGSPORT — In 2021, Kingsport had two Juneteenth gatherings, but this year the community is coming together to have one.

It will be held this Saturday in the Riverview community.

The theme of this year’s annual Tri-Cities Juneteenth Festival is Celebrating United as a CommUNITY, according to a news release from Vanessa Bennett of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.

Sponsors of the 2022 Tri-Cities Juneteenth Festival include Eastman, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Christ Fellowship, Sync Space, First Horizon, Ballad Health, HOPE, Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union, KHRA and Move to Kingsport.

The 2021 Tri-Cities Juneteenth was held at Memorial Park, across Fort Henry Drive from Dobyns-Bennett High School, while another Juneteenth event was held at Riverview.

The 2022 Tri-Cities Juneteenth Festival is set for 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the V.O. Dobbins Community Center in Riverview and includes an afternoon of kids’ activities and games, history sessions, food trucks and local vendors, as well as a full night of concerts featuring local and regional musicians and entertainers.

From 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tobias Tisdale will perform, followed by TJ Darnell from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Ismael Nehemiah from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tyrique Shahmir from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Florence and the Feeling from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and L.T.D. from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

“Juneteenth is the commemoration of the day in June 1865 when the news of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln finally reached slaves in Texas,” the press release states. “This year’s theme celebrates Unity as a CommUNITY, recognizing that Juneteenth is about freedom for every person.”

Tri-Cities Juneteenth Chair- woman Keira Majeed enlisted the Kingsport Chamber for help in planning this year’s event.

“In 2021, our enthusiasm got the best of us when African Americans in the Tri-Cities region held two Juneteenth events on the same day in Kingsport,” Majeed said. “I felt strongly that had to change this year. We needed to come together as one, which is why I asked my brothers and sisters from the Leadership Kingsport Class of 2022 if they would lend a hand to create a single, more impactful and far-reaching cultural experience that would go down in history as one of the best yet for our region.

”Our goal is to bring people together to celebrate the emancipation and liberation of our ancestors, to provide historical education about the Juneteenth holiday, and to highlight both African culture and the unique Affrilachian community that makes our region special.”

“Our goal is to bring people together to celebrate the emancipation and liberation of our ancestors, to provide historical education about the Juneteenth holiday, and to highlight both African culture and the unique Affrilachian community that makes our region special.”

Bennett, executive director of operations and talent development at the Kingsport Chamber, said the event became a Community Impact Project for this year’s Leadership Kingsport Class at Majeed’s request.

“And as a result, her fellow classmates rallied around the idea and have devoted not only time and resources to see the event continue to grow this year but also passion, historical expertise and incredible teamwork to ensure every member of the community feels included and welcome to participate.”

Tanya Foreman, education initiatives manager at Eastman and a member of the Juneteenth planning team, said the celebration is open to all.

“People of every color, culture and background in our community have come together to plan this event. With one week to go before the actual event, we’ve already achieved so much,” Foreman said.

“When we all work together, we have a better understanding of our ancestors, our nation’s history, and how all of us are where we are today. We’re also better humans, better neighbors and better advocates for one another,” she said.

Foreman also serves as Eastman’s chair of Connect, a global resource group dedicated to removing barriers to success for Eastman’s African American and black employees and being a force for good in the communities where Eastman operates.

“A lot of people don’t realize that it took nearly three years for the enslaved people in Texas to learn of their freedom because we didn’t learn that when we were in school. We often look at the date of the Emancipation Proclamation as the end of slavery, but in reality, Juneteenth marks the end of slavery,” Bennett said. “We are honored to be part of this special event, and I’m appreciative for the collaborative support of our community to celebrate and acknowledge a date that is so significant for so many of us.”

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Mrs. Jeanetta Sensabaugh remembrance


Mrs. Jeanetta Sensabaugh, 90, departed this life and went peacefully home on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 at the Ballad Health Medical Center in Kingsport, TN after an extended illness.

She was born on February 3, 1932 to Luther and Marie Thompson.  She was affectionately know as "Grandmother" to her family and friends.

Jeanetta graduated from Douglass High School in Riverview.  She was a member of the Central Baptist Church and was a faithful servant until her health prevented her from continuing.

Jeanetta was a family woman and helped family members or friends who were in need.  She was always willing to go the extra mile for family and friends.  She loved children and was most happiest when children were in her home.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband Hoover Sensabaugh; sisters Virginia Noakes, Elizabeth Thompson, Lucille Watterson, and Sarah Kincaid; brother Luther "June" Thompson and grandchildren Jamaar Sensabaugh and Stella Bond.

Left to cherish her memory are her children Carolyn Bond, Kathy (Wilford) Gaines, Jacqueline Sensabaugh, Kim (Becky) Sensabaugh, and Travis (Kerri) Sensabaugh; grandchildren Jermaine (Melinda) Bond, Jason (Beth) Bond, Teddy (Alys) Gaines, Whitney (Chris) Sensabaugh, Dustin Gaines, and Coty (Dominique) Sensabaugh; 15 great-granchildren; four sisters-in-law, Lily Ruth Mabry, Helen Bland,  Martha Redford, Margaret Johnson, and a host of nieces and nephews.

Jeanetta was loved by all who knew her, and she will be greatly missed by family and friends alike.

Services for Mrs. Jeanetta Sensabaugh will be conducted on Monday, June 20, 2022 at 1 PM at the Central Baptist Church, 301 Carver Street, Kingsport,  Minister Billy Pearson officiating.

The family will receive friends from 12 PM until the hour of service.

Burial will follow at the Oak Hill Cemetery.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Edward Franklin "Sweetman" Long remembrance


Edward Franklin “Sweetman” Long unexpectedly departed from this world’s toils and labors on May 17, 2022.

Edward was born in Kingsport, TN, on November 14, 1971, to Virginia Dianne Long and William Lewis.  In early childhood, he moved to Flint, MI, and received his education through the Flint Public School System. 

He had a love for music and movies. After living several years in Michigan, he returned to Kingsport and resided there until his untimely death.

He is preceded in death by an infant son; brother, William Demar Lewis; his doting maternal grandmother, Violet Davis, who gave him the nickname “Sweetman” since he was such a sweet baby; maternal grandfather, James Hale; paternal grandparents; and his uncle, William David Hale.

To cherish his memories, he leaves his wife, Kara Long; son, Dawson Long; mother, Virginia Dianne Long; father, William Lewis; sisters, Timula (Charles) Hale, Annette Long, and Tammy Adams; brother, Erwin Lewis; and a host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Edward "Sweetman" Long was laid to rest on Thursday, May 26, 2022 at 1 PM at the Clark Funeral Chapel, Kingsport, who was in charge of arrangements and care for the family.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Carolyn Flack Goodwin remembrance


Carolyn Flack Goodwin answered the call to be transported to her Heavenly home on Friday June 3, 2022 after an extended illness.

She was a native of Kingsport and attended Douglass High School, then nursing school in Greenville, South Carolina where she received her LPN.  In 1974, she and her friend Barbra Greene had the opportunity to be part of the first crew of nurses and doctors at the new Indian Path Hospital, open with only two floors in operation at the time, under the director of Dr. Monte Phillips.   

She loved being a nurse, but with the arrival of the joy of her life Reynaldo, she left the hospital and became a school nurse at the Abraham Lincoln Elementary School where her son attended.  She continued her nursing career until her decline in health in 2001.

She was very active in, and loved her community.  In 1978, she help found the Douglass Alumni Association, now the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association, Inc. and remained on its inaugural board as a member until 2013.  It brought her joy to see her classmates who had moved away come back to Kingsport and gather in the old Douglass school yard, young and old.  

She was also a member of the Daughters of the Elks Dunbar Temple Number 344 for over more than 48 years.  In 1980, she received the key to the city of Kingsport from Vice-Mayor Richard Watterson for her faithful contributions of service.

She and one of her best friends Mary Jane Carnes arranged reunions, taking cruises every two years from 1982 to 1993 to several islands.  Carolyn loved attending Joyful Stitchers at her church with friends Gladys Gambrell, Raylene Miller and Judy Phillips.  

One of her proudest accomplishments was baking pound cakes with homemade caramel icing and sharing them with family and friends.  She loved making you laugh in the blink of an eye.  Her humorous personality would leave you laughing for days.

Carolyn loved the piano and played it from childhood until her teenage years.  She truly loved her life and family and enjoyed supplying family gatherings with enough food to feed an army.  Carolyn had many friends and loved her best friends from early childhood and Riverview neighborhood Barbra Bristol, Janet Banks, and Betty Jo King.  They were like sisters that ran the streets of the community.

Carolyn leaves behind to mourn her loss her son Renaldo Aki Goodwin;  her beautiful hearts, her grandchildren Jordan Renana (Justin) Carter, Makyiah Marli Goodwin, and Zabian Alilyn Goodwin;  great-granddaughter Blair Carter;  brothers Walter Flack and James Donald "Donnie" Flack;  sister Denise Dumas;  special friend Dallas Watterson;  special acquaintance James Bristol, and a host of nieces and nephews.

Services for Ms. Carolyn Flack Goodwin will be conducted on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 at 12 Noon at the Shiloh Baptist Church.  The family will receive from 11 AM until the hour of service.   Interment will follow at the VA National Cemetery Mt. Home TN.

 Professional service and care of Mrs. Carolyn Goodwin and family are entrusted to Clark Funeral Chapel and Cremation Service Inc. (423) 245-4971

Thursday, June 9, 2022

The Ebonys are coming to Bristol!


For the Douglass-Slater Reunion but all schools' alumni, and also alumni of the Great Golden Gathering are invited!

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Local Juneteenth Celebration at Emory & Henry College


Emory and Henry College features Inaugural                          Juneteenth Freedom Festival

  11:00am - 4:00pm at the Van Dyke Center

         The Gospel Sensations will be performing Saturday, June 18 at 3 p.m.

Free Family-Friendly Activities on Campus

Emory & Henry College will host an inaugural Juneteenth freedom festival on campus for the greater community of Southwest Va. and Northeast Tenn. including live music and local food trucks on Saturday, June 18, starting at 11 a.m. on its Emory, Va. campus off I-81 at exit 26.

Juneteenth is a celebration of the freedom of enslaved people in the United States at the end of the Civil War. The College’s celebration of Juneteenth will be led by the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging on campus. 

The celebration will be held in front of Van Dyke Center near the Duck Pond and will include a variety of food trucks. The event opens at 11 a.m. with performances starting at 12 p.m. including spoken word poetry, singing, dancing and a spoken history of Juneteenth to celebrate freedom. At 3 p.m. the renowned Greensboro, N.C. gospel group The Gospel Sensations will perform a concert until 4 p.m.

In addition to the performances, the Juneteenth freedom festival will feature family activities including two inflatables, alpacas from Dreamland in Meadowview, Va., and arts and crafts. The festival will also include art for sale and various vendors. The festival is free and for all ages, organized by Emory & Henry and partnered with Middle Fork Records, the Appalachian Peace Education Center and the Mt. Pleasant Preservation Society & Museum for planning, logistics and outreach.

“Our hope is that our community will come together to celebrate Juneteenth and learn its history and the significance of this new federal holiday,” said John Holloway, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging.

For more information about the festival and Emory & Henry’s Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging, please copy and paste or call Emily Bishop, DEI&B Program Specialist at (276) 944-6948. Registration is not necessary, and the event will take place rain or shine.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Douglass Alumni Board meeting postponed

The meeting of the Board of Directors of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association for this coming Saturday, June 11, 2022 is being postponed.

The meeting will be rescheduled for a later date.

A reminder that regularly scheduled meetings of the Douglass alumni board are held on the second Saturday of every month in the V.O. Dobbins, Sr. tower in Kingsport.

Again, no meeting this coming Saturday.


Saturday, June 4, 2022

Carolyn Flack Goodwin announcement

Carolyn Flack Goodwin of Kingsport departed this life on Friday June 3, 2022. 

Arrangements are incomplete. 

Professional service and care of Mrs. Carolyn Goodwin and family are entrusted to Clark Funeral Chapel and Cremation Service Inc., Kingsport (423) 245-4971.