Total Pageviews

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

An All African-American Play at the Barter Theater, Abingdon, VA - Black History Month


    February 17th to March 17th at Barter’s                                 Smith Theatre

Cephus Miles is a hardworking North Carolina farmer who has the whole world in his callused hands—until his love Pattie Mae goes off to college and marries another man.  Hurt and confused, Cephus leaves his country life and answers the siren call of the city, a journey that leads him to discover his true home.  Originally staged by the Negro Ensemble Company, this melodic coming-of-age story gives voice to the unbreakable spirit of every American who has searched for a place to belong.

This production is a part of Barter’s Black Stories Black Voices initiative.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Ronald E. "Ronnie" Lynch Celebration of Life


Ronald Edwin Lynch, 73, of Kingsport, Tennessee, departed this life on Wednesday, January 17, 2024.

Ronald, also known as "Ronnie" or Bubba," was a lifelong resident of Kingsport, TN.  He attended the Douglass High School and graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School.  Ronald continued his education at East Tennessee State University.  He enjoyed traveling and attending sporting events like football, basketball, and tennis.  He was employed by Domtar and retired in 2018.

Ronald was preceded in death by his mother, Clara D. Lynch, and grandparents, Clarence and Mary Frances Lynch.

Bubba will be greatly missed.  To mourn his passing, Bubba leaves his brothers, Jonathan (Lula) Lynch and Donald Lynch, both of Kingsport, and Randy (Linda) Lynch of Atlanta, Georgia;  sisters, Karen L. Wolfe of Kingsport, Connie Hicks of Wesley Chapel, Florida, and Jackie (Terry) Shields of Nashville, Tennessee;  five nephews;  five nieces;  7 great-nieces; many great-nephews; and a host of other wonderful friends.

The Receiving of Friends will be Friday, January 26, 2024 from 1 PM to 2 PM at the Shiloh Baptist Church, 712 East Sevier Avenue in Kingsport.  The Celebration of Life will follow at 2 PM at the church.   Interment will be at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Kingsport.


Friday, January 19, 2024

William Clifford Leeper Celebration of Life


William Clifford "Papaw" Leeper departed this life on Friday, January 12, 2024, at his home. He was born in Church Hill, Tennessee on January 2, 1938.

Over the years, Papaw wore many hats, working in many different trades. He worked at a glass plant, Barley Construction, and Leeper Construction. Through Leeper Concrete, Dad worked on places you may have walked, stood, sat, or drove. His brickwork stretches across Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina. He was also a supervisor at the TVA and Fluor Daniels. For many years, Dad had his own eatery on Eastman Road. He served up Broaster chicken, his specialty, chicken and dumplings, and much more. 

Papaw was an active member of his community. He loved watching the Kingsport Mets and any football games. He served as a deacon at Shiloh Baptist Church and worked with the Manna Meals at Central Baptist. He was known for his peach cobbler and biscuits and gravy. Papaw never met a stranger, and he loved to serve his food and being of service to the community. If you needed a job, he was there for you. If you needed someone to listen, Papaw was there for you. When you asked him not to tell anybody what was said, best believe he didn't share it. We will miss being greeted by Papaw's "Hey young man" or "Baby girl" and his tough handshake crafted from his years of working. 

Clifford was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Lillian Leeper; parents, Albert F. and Myrtle Leeper; brother, James Leeper; and sisters, Estella Leeper and Cecil Leeper.

To cherish his memory, Clifford leaves behind his children, Billy (Edith) Leeper, Reggie Leeper, and Tonia (O'Nile) Johnson; grandchildren, Kris (Tierra) Leeper, Blake Leeper, and Sadie Trammell; great-grandchildren, Thea Leeper and another grandbaby is on the way; best friend, Zeloa Leeper; special son, Robbie Cox; special daughter, Sonya Clark; and several nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

The visitation is Friday, January 19, 2024 from 12 Noon to 1 PM at the Central Baptist Church, 301 Carver Street, Kingsport, TN.   The Celebration of Life will follow at 1 PM at the church on that day.  Interment will be in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Kingsport.

Clark Funeral Chapel and Cremation Service is serving the Leeper family.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

The Snow in Riverview


Remember back in the day when us kids would be waiting for the snow, just so we could get outside and play in it?  How many yards had snowmen in them?  How many snowball fights would we have?  How many cardboard sleds were coming down Clay Hill? 

Click the play button above twice, to relive some great memories of snowing in Riverview.  What does it make you remember?  This video is from the Douglass office in the V.O. Dobbins tower.

I had to leave on Monday to get back to Chattanooga before the weather got bad (and it still did... took me 6 hours for a trip that normally takes 3), but before I left, I took a riding tour of the Riverview neighborhood while it was snowing.  That video is hopefully coming soon.


Monday, January 15, 2024



                         The Snow in Riverview on MLK Day

All events scheduled for MLK Day in Kingsport have been CANCELLED.  The snow proved to be too much of a challenge.  Keep watching here for an update on rescheduling the events.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Parade Route Map for the 2024 MLK Day Parade in Kingsport



The parade begins at 12 Noon.  The long street at the bottom of the picture is East Center Street.  The street in red is East Sullivan Street, the new parade route; the circle in red at the lower right is where the parade begins, East Sullivan Street at East Center Street.  The diagonal street at the upper right is Dale Street.  The markings in yellow are the street entrances to Sullivan Street that will be blocked off during the parade.  The green circles indicate places where people can park.. the green circle at the extreme upper left is the City Hall parking lot where the parade ends.  

The only place not visible in this picture is where marchers will assemble at 11:15 AM.  That will be the parking lot at the Preaching Christ Church, 707 East Sullivan Street.  That's at the extreme bottom right of the picture.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Doris Jean Rogers Celebration of Life


Doris Jean Rogers departed this life on Monday, January 8, 2024, at Ballad Holston Valley Hospital Medical Center.

Doris Rogers was born in Rogersville, Tennessee, on March 5, 1956. She worked for the Christian Care Center in Johnson City, Tennessee, for ten years before retiring as an activity director. She was a faithful member of Full Gospel Mission Church in Kingsport, TN. Doris was known for her infectious laughter, unwavering kindness, and unyielding devotion to her family.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Carrie M. Rogers; father, Louis Rogers; brother, Junie Rogers; and three sisters, Carrie Lee Cash, Kathy Collins, and Alfreda Womack.

To cherish her memory, she leaves two daughters, Clarissa Gass and Aiesha Edwards; son-in-law, Brandon Edward; three granddaughters, Courtney Gass, Mia Gass, and Justice Blye; and one grandson, Nathan Blye.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, January 13, 2024 at the Full Gospel Mission Church, 740 East Sevier Avenue, Kingsport, TN.  The visitation will be from 12 PM to 1 PM, and the Celebration of Life will begin at 1 PM at the church. 

Professional care for Ms. Doris Jean Rogers and family is entrusted to Clark Funeral Chapel and Cremation Service, 423-245-4971.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

William Earl Evans remembrance

William Earl Evans, 73, departed this life and went to his heavenly home on Thursday, December 21, 2023 after a 4-year courageous battle with Lung Cancer. 

"William Earl" was born in Kingsport, TN, December 5, 1950 one of seven children of William and Julia Evans.

William attended the Douglass School through 9th grade, and after integration he went to Dobyns Bennett High School.

He served in the United States Army and later obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from East Tennessee State University. 

In the 80’s William moved to Kansas City, Missouri.  He was very well known and respected. As a musical technician, there was none greater.  He served at various churches as the Minister of Music, serving every domination from Baptist. AME, Presbyterian and Pentecostal. Before his passing, he was the Music Director of ministry at Second Baptist Church. 

William worked as a Teacher in the Kansas City, Missouri school district.  He taught middle and high school choral and band classes.  He retired as an elementary music teacher.  After his retirement, he became an Aquatics Director for several Kansas City, Missouri community centers from which he enjoyed a second retirement. 

William was always unapologetically involved in African centered justice organizations and activities.  He studied relentlessly and prided himself on knowing a lot about a lot.  For several years he faithfully gave of his time and financial support to the Black United Front, with whom he traveled to Africa.  He loved ASKACK, a black book club and any organization that promoted youth of color.  He took annual trips all over the United States and various islands with family and friends. 

William loved to swim, read, play in jam sessions, travel and eat.  He did it all from the top of the line.  No amount of money was too much for a good book, a new instrument, a trip or a good 

William was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Ricky, Carl and one sister Kathy Evans. 

To cherish his memory, he leaves behind his wife, Cynthia Evans, 3 step children, Victorie Kelley, Tondaling (Floyd) Thomas, Vonzell Kelley, Jr. and 6 grandchildren, Darius Hollwell, Akila Hollwell, Vonzell Kelley III, Dajha Kelley, Nia Abdullah, and Jalila Abdullah; one sister, Gail Evans-Harris (John), Kingsport, TN, two brothers, Dale Evans(Marie), Norfolk, VA and John Evans, Kingsport, TN, his Uncle Jack and Aunt Betsy Pierce, Kingsport, TN, as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and a whole city of music loving family and friends in both Kansas City and Kingsport, TN.

It was his faith, wisdom, determination and fierce warrior spirit that those who knew him will miss the most. 

Vaya Con Dios William – translated: Go with God!!!!! 

Visitation for William Earl Evans will be Friday, January 12, 2024 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM at the Central Baptist Church, 301 Carver Street, Kingsport, TN.  The Celebration of Life Services will begin at 3 PM at the church.  Interment will be in the Historic Pierce Chapel AME Church cemetery, 1810 Seaver Road, Kingsport (Sullivan Gardens), TN.

Care of the William Earl Evans family has been entrusted to Clark Funeral Chapel and Cremation Service, Kingsport, TN.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

MLK Day Events in Kingsport for 2024


This month, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have celebrated his 95th birthday.  On Monday, January 15th, the city of Kingsport will come together to celebrate his legacy of equality, nonviolence and justice and it all begins with the annual MLK Day parade downtown.

This year, the parade route is different.  Instead of a parade on four-lane East Center Street, the decision was made to move to a more secure street.  The parade will begin promptly at 12 Noon at the intersection of East Sullivan Street and East Center Street, then continue on the two-lane Sullivan Street, through the Cherokee Street intersection, ending in the new Kingsport city hall parking lot at the Church Circle.  The Sullivan Street parade route walk time will now be about 15 to 17 minutes, and it's about a thousand feet shorter than the Center Street route that ended at the old city hall building.

"East Sullivan Street is a much safer platform," says parade organizer Bishop Ronnie Collins with the Tennessee Virginia Fellowship Against Racism.  "Based on safety and security, many traditional parade routes around the country are changing because of incidents of vehicles hitting pedestrians.  On Center Street, we were always walking along with cars and trucks going by.  Luckily, none were going very fast, but since Center Street could not be closed down completely except in an emergency and for the safety of participants, it was thought best to move the parade to Sullivan Street, which is a more secure street."

Parade participants are asked to assemble at 11:15 AM in the parking lot of the Preaching Christ Church, 707 East Sullivan Street, Kingsport.  The parade continues the ongoing message of past parades.  "That message is 'the answer to racism is the Love of Christ,'" says Bishop Collins.  "This year's theme is 'Show Love More in 2024.'  The object is to continue to work together for love, harmony and collaboration during this election year in our community and country."

Charles Maxwell of American Tours and Charters will furnish a free ride for those parade participants who need to get from the end of the parade to the luncheon that follows.  Speaking of that, the day's activities continue at 1 PM with the annual MLK New Vision Youth Group/South Central Community Unity Luncheon in the Riverview Community Room.  It's located on Wheatley Street beside the pickle ball courts.  

Featured at the event will be guest speaker Rev. Robert T. Smith, retired pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, Virginia, along with Mercedes Hill performing praise dances.  A box lunch from Center Street Grill and SmokeHouse will be served, consisting of barbeque, baked beans, slaw, dessert and drinks.  

The luncheon is sponsored by the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the New Vision Youth, South Central Kingsport Development, Inc., the Omega Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association, Inc., Kingsport Parks and Recreation, Texas Roadhouse and Charles Maxwell/American Tours and Charters, Inc.  

The day's events conclude at 6 PM with the annual MLK Candlelight Vigil at the Shiloh Baptist Church, 712 East Sevier Avenue, sponsored by the New Vision Youth, South Central Kingsport Community Development and the church.  The guest speaker is 16-year old Tybre Faw of Johnson City, named last year as National Student Ambassador for the '400 Years of African-American History' Commission.  "Justice and equality," Tybre says, "are still the goals to be achieved. The only way to reach those goals is to love each other and use our voices when we see injustice, not just when it affects us personally, but when it affects any one of us."  

Faw was a mentor of the late civil rights pioneer and Georgia congressman John Lewis, who was severely beaten along with dozens of civil rights marchers as he led them across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in 1965.  "Today, Congressman Lewis would say that we have turned a blind eye to what is right.  We need a country that has morals and character and every generation must do its part.  Congressman Lewis called standing up and speaking out 'good trouble.'  We have got to stand up for what is right and loving each other is part of that process."  

Faw is a sophomore at Science Hill High School and was also recently named the National Chair for the 'Let Me Read You Your Rights' campaign and the National Youth Advisor for the John R. Lewis Legacy Institute.  He aspires to graduate high school and college, and then be involved in bringing about change in some capacity on the local, state and/or national level.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service.  To honor Kingsport civic and municipal organizations including first responders and government leaders, candles will be lit by representatives of those groups to further pledge their commitment every day to serve the Kingsport community.

MLK Day Events in the Tri-Cities for 2024





Thursday, January 11, 6:00 pm, “Black in Appalachia”. Speaker: William Isom II, Director of PBS Project, Black in Appalachia. Location: St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 124 East Main Street, Abingdon

Saturday, January 13, 37th Annual Abingdon MLK Celebration and March

1:30 pm - March begins at Charles Wesley UMC, 322 East Main Street, Abingdon

2:00 pm – MLK Celebration at Abingdon UMC, 101 East Main Street, Abingdon

Monday, January 15, 6:00 pm Folk singers, Sparky and Rhonda Rucker perform. Location: SWVA Cultural Center,1 Heartwood Circle, Abingdon, VA

Tuesday, January 16, 4:00 pm Folk singers, Sparky and Rhonda Rucker perform.Location: McGlothlin Center for the Arts, Emory and Henry College


Monday, January 15, 9:30 am E&H MLK Day Convocation featuring Keynote Speaker

Ms. Bettie Mae Fikes: The Voice of Selma. Location: McGlothlin Center for the Arts, Emory and Henry College

Monday, January 15, 7:00 pm Jazz/Blues music night. Location: McGlothlin Center for the Arts, Emory and Henry College

January 16-21 - E&H Dreams: An MLK Art Installation by Sabrina Durling-Jones (time TBD). Location: Blackbox Theatre, McGlothlin Center for the Arts, Emory and Henry College


Monday, January 15, 6th Annual Bristol MLK Celebration

12:30 pm - Youth program with activities at Bristol YWCA, 106 State Street, Bristol, TN

1:30 pm - March to Bristol Sign begins at Bristol YWCA

2:00 pm – MLK Program at First Baptist Church, 1 Sedgefield Street, Bristol, VA,

featuring Speaker: Tybre Faw, 15-year old Science Hill High School

Student Activist, Author and National Youth Representative for 1619 Project


MLK Day of Service at the Carver Recreation Center in Johnson City from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm

Please join the Mary V. Jordan Multicultural Center and students for the Day of Service at Carver Recreation Center on January 15, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Collaborating with local schools, community centers, leaders, and agencies, join the "Beloved Community: Persevering in Love" activities, community services, Unity Walk, storytelling, and celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday.


MLK Legacy Program at the ETSU Alumni Plaza Carilion at 11:30 am. Rain location at Burgin Dossett 2nd Floor lobby.

Please join the Mary V. Jordan Multicultural Center on January 16, to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a prominent leader in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and global icon. We invite you to reflect on King’s efforts in developing the “Beloved Community.”


“King’s Beloved Community” at ETSU D.P. Culp East TN Room 272 at 6:00 pm

Please join the Mary V. Jordan Multicultural Center on January 16, at 6 p.m. for an event commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a prominent leader in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and global icon. We invite you to reflect on King’s efforts in developing the Beloved Community.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Board Meeting this Saturday


The Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association Board of Directors will have its first meeting of the New Year and the new term, this coming Saturday, January 13, 2024.

The meeting will be at a special time, 11:00 AM, in the Eastman Board Room, 2nd floor, of the V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Complex tower, 301 Louis Street.

The meeting should last about an hour.