“I just feel so excited and so hopeful about the opportunity to partner with others to present the Episcopal Church to those who would not have otherwise considered be- coming a part of this denomination.” – Bishop-elect Phoebe Roaf (Photo: Cindy McMillion)
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Episcopal bishop breaks race, gender barriers

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Phoebe Roaf’s life-changing direction culminated when Bishop Elect Phoebe Roaf became the first female and the first African American elected to lead the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee. Her Consecration Service was Saturday, May 4th, at Hope Church. […read more]

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Actor Ted Lange praised the 40-year legacy of Blues City Cultural Center (BCCC) and reminded the crowd of just how many other such entities were no longer in existence.
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‘Love Boat’ link helps Blues City Cultural Center turn 40

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Our true mission is art for a better way of life,” said Joyce Cox, Blues City Cultural Center (BCCC) board chair. “When we see the character of women come alive as they are creating the dolls, and we see the effect our work has on the lives of homeless people and women, we know that they are given a little ray of hope. We need some help. Catch the vision. Believe in what we see and what we do.” […read more]

Terri Carmichael Jackson, the executive director of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association.
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Terri Carmichael Jackson: Mom of NBA star is a sports powerhouse in her own right

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “I always say that if you’re in a boardroom or a meeting and you’re the only girl at the table, celebrate that moment; but then realize that you have a responsibility to make sure that never happens again,” Terri Carmichael Jackson, the executive director of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association, told The New Tri-State Defender during an interview before the annual Tribute Luncheon hosted by the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. […read more]

FedEx, which spent $9.5 billion with minority suppliers across the U.S. in 2018, is seeking to expand local minority supplier contracts since Memphis is home to FedEx headquarters and the expanding FedEx Logistics operation.
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FedEx partnership aims to grow 75 black businesses

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The capacity-building plan is the result of an alliance between FedEx, Regions Bank, City of Memphis and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a national driver of urban economic prosperity. ICIC began its Memphis work in 2014 with Regions Bank providing capital coaching. In 2015, the partnership expanded to include FedEx. […read more]

Heeding a call to feed “the last, the least and the lost,” Gray (third from right) delivered dozens of meals to people with no place to call home. (Courtesy photos)
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Homeiletics in Service: Retired pastor serves a different ‘congregation’ on Easter – Memphis’ homeless

NNPA NEWSWIRE — During Holy Week, I was excited about the choices I had to worship in celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus the Christ. For the first time in my ministry, I did not have a waiting congregation to hear of the victory of Resurrection Morning. I retired from pastoring in 2018 and now I am free to worship wherever the Holy Spirit leads me. […read more]

The lawsuit further claims violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the farmers’ civil rights, and a federal law for packaging, labeling and the transporting of certified seeds. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)
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Mediation a ‘no go’ for ‘Black Farmers’ and Stine Seed Co.

NNPA NEWSWIRE — U.S. District Judge John T. Fowlkes Jr. set the March 15 deadline for mediation. BFAA filed a lawsuit last year against billion-dollar, seed-breeding giant Stine, alleging that the company systematically engaged in racial discrimination by selling African-American farmers fake soybean seed as a pattern of behavior. Stine rejects the discrimination assertion. […read more]

Barbara Love is the local organizer for the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo – but she's better known as "Miss Kitty," pictured here in a TSD file photo with her horse Silver.
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Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo provides rare glimpse at African American cowboys, cowgirls

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The main event – playfully named “The Greatest Show on Dirt” — is the rodeo itself. Thousands of spectators gather to watch black cowboys and cowgirls compete in eight major rodeo events. Among them (abbreviations intact): Bare Back Ridin’, Bull Doggin’, Calf Ropin’, Steer Undecoratin’, Barrel Racin’, Kid’s Calf Scramblin’, Relay Racin’, and Bull Ridin’. “Nobody ever leaves disappointed,” said Barbara “Miss Kitty” Love. […read more]

For Dave Matthews, keeping his Poor Man’s Store running in ZIP code 38126 for 40-plus years largely has been about being there for young people. (Courtesy photo)
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Rooted in 38126: Owner of Poor Man’s store rich with friends and neighbors

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “The Poor Man’s Store was built in 1947,” said Matthews. “I kept the original name of the store, and it became ‘Matthews Poor Man’s Store.’ I could have lived anywhere I wanted, but I chose to stay in this community. I felt it was God’s purpose for me to stay and do whatever I could to be a blessing to young people and their families.” […read more]

Doris Hill (third from left) teaches a message of empowerment born out of adversity. “If you want to live, we have to act like we want to live. We can’t sit around waiting to die. Live every minute that the Lord gives you breath,\" she said. (Courtesy photo)
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Amid adversity, Doris Hill says, ‘act like we want to live’

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Mark Twain said the two most important days in a person’s life is the day they were born, and the day they figure out why,” Doris Hill told those gathered for an event hosted by Pink With A Purpose, a non-profit offering support and resources for cancer patients.. “I am so grateful that a year before my husband was tragically killed, I figured out my ‘Why.’ The Lord wanted me to plant the seeds that became the ESPN Academy, our after-school program for students on all grade levels.” […read more]

Dr. Willie W. Herenton was the first African American elected mayor of Memphis in 1991, serving until 2009. (Photo: Karanja A. Ajanaku)
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Yes, Dr. Willie W. Herenton is serious about wanting to be mayor of Memphis again

NNPA NEWSWIRE — It’s been almost a year since Willie W. Herenton, who has been elected Memphis mayor five times, declared that he wanted back in. Since then, incumbent Jim Strickland has formally launched his reelection bid. And last week, District 7 Commissioner Tami Sawyer staked her mayoral claim, one that would make her the first woman to serve, if she navigated a path to victory. Lesser-known announced candidates include Pam Moses and Lemichael Wilson. […read more]

“I believe that we are in a situation with our city where we can’t wait for change,” said Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer, now an announced candidate for mayor. (TSD File Photo: Lee Eric Smith)
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With confidence and ‘courage,’ Tami Sawyer declares candidacy for Memphis mayor

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “I am running now because when I see our city and I see our people and I look at the conversations that we are having at high levels of leadership, it doesn’t incorporate what is next for the impoverished, people of color, women, every person that is not considered in our vision for Memphis,” said Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer, director of diversity and cultural competence for Teach for America in Memphis. […read more]

Charlottesville, Va. City Councilman Dr. Wes Bellamy and Lea Webb talk to attendees during one of the last sessions at the "Black Millennials Unbossed & Unapologetic Summit” at the National Civil Rights Museum. (All photos: Karanja A. Ajanaku)
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Millennials must answer ‘How will you lead?’

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Dr. Wes Bellamy, the Tennessee Regional Black Millennial Convention’s “Black Millennials Unbossed & Unapologetic Summit” keynote speaker, was thrust into the spotlight in 2017 when he led efforts to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a city park. A deadly encounter involving white supremacist protesters and counter-protesters ensued, with three people killed and more than 30 injured. […read more]

On Oct. 3, 1974 amid rallies, negotiations and petitions, a Memphis police officer fatally shot 15-year-old Edward Garner, a fleeing suspect. Ironically, the patrolman, Elton Hymon, was African American. I talked with him recently as I sought to put his story into the context of the times.
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TAKING NOTE! Elton Hymon: An unsung hero

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “…On March 27, 1985, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, the officer may not use deadly force to prevent escape unless the officer has probable cause to believe the suspect poses a threat of death to the officer and others. The use of deadly force without probable cause was held to constitute an unreasonable seizure. Asked what made the difference in the Tennessee vs. Garner case, Bailey said, ‘officer Hymon told the truth.’”
[…read more]

For many, the W.C. Handy Home & Museum had become synonymous with Elaine Turner and Heritage Tours, the operators since 1995. Now that tie has been severed. (Photos: Karanja A. Ajanaku)
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Heritage Tours told to vacate ‘Handy House’ after 24 years

THE NEW TRI-STATE-DEFENDER — Situated on the east end of the Beale Street Entertainment District, the house is where a young William Christopher Handy lived at the turn of the century. A letter from the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) informed Turner that the operating services of Heritage Tours would not be part of the Handy home’s future. Heritage had been the operator for 24 years. […read more]

Today, we’re going back to 1968 — before Dr. King was murdered, before his “Mountaintop” speech, before the sanitation strike that brought him to Memphis.
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VIDEO: TSDtv — History: Hidden in Plain Sight: The Tragedy That Launched the 1968 Sanitation Strike

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The names of Echol Cole and Robert Walker are not as widely known as Rosa Parks, James Meredith or any others — and that’s because they weren’t civil rights activists. They were just two men working a very crappy job to provide for their families. It was a garbage truck malfunction that took their lives and galvanized their peers to strike. It’s fascinating how much history turns on such seemingly random occurrences. […read more]

Description: Pastor Henry Lavender gives DeAndre Bramlett, who broke into Lavender’s church, something Bramlett said he’d never had – a birthday cake. (Photo: Dr. Sybil C. Mitchell)
Community

A tale of love and redemption: ‘Spiritual parents’ throw surprise party for man who broke into their church

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “I appreciate DeAndre because he broke a cycle in his life,” said Pastor Henry Lavender. “Now, he has his own son to raise. The cycle is broken. Jesus makes it possible for DeAndre to live free. His son can be free. The logo of our church has the Jewish symbol in it. That is on purpose. It means Israel shall live. We do have victory when we forgive and love one another.” […read more]

Beale Street is too important to the history of African Americans to be trivialized in a movie title.
Black History

If Beale Street could talk, it would tell Memphis to ‘copyright me’

NNPA NEWSWIRE — I will never forget the colorful characters of Beale Street: Men wearing coordinated suits, shoes and hats, with processed hair; curvaceous women walking with advertising gaits and long eye lashes; impromptu street concerts by bands and musicians; “barkers” pleading for customers to enter their stores and shops; shoe shine boys with their mobile shine parlors and the bustling crowds. […read more]

The Hattiloo will commemorate the African-American experience in “Lest We Forget,” an eight-month-long commemoration, from January to August. Each month, an interactive event is planned to reflect “the Black Experience” in America.
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LEST WE FORGET: Hatilloo Theatre commemorating 400 years of Africans in America with monthly interactive events

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Artists in the ’70s and ’80s like Curtis Mayfield wrote about and sang about the centuries we have spent in this country – our advances and setbacks, our triumphs and defeats, times of rejoicing and our times of struggle,” said Ekundayo Bandele, founder of the Hattiloo Technical Theatre Center. […read more]

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FISHER: 2019 is the Year of Legitimate Discontent – let’s get to work!

THE NEW TRI-STATE DEFENDER — The fruit of structural racism is the standardizing of white mediocrity and the suppression of black creative excellence. And we deserve full, equitable, inclusion into the society we have helped to shape, build and sustain. Until that goal is achieved, we must obtain and maintain a maladjustment to the injustice that continues to be normalized. […read more]

Elected City Court Judge On December 10, 1990, Earnestine Hunt Dorse (left) was sworn in by Judge Bernice Donald, who now serves on the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. (Courtesy photo)
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Retirement signals new phase for Judge Dorse

THE NEW TRI-STATE DEFENDER — Dorse graduated Cum Laude from Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University), becoming the first in her family to receive a college degree. She was an exchange student at Dag Hammarskjold College in Columbia, Md., and studied agencies of the United Nations in five foreign countries: Switzerland (Geneva); Austria (Vienna); France (Paris); Sweden (Malmo); and Germany (Luxembourg). […read more]