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Your source of information for where to go and what to do each weekend in the Greater Memphis area.


Draw The Line 4Peace Vigil
9pm | Peabody at Bellevue

* Narnia
7:30pm | Hattiloo Theatre

* Zoo Boo
5:30pm-9:30pm | Memphis Zoo

‘Overcomers’ – a story of survivors

Domestic Violence

Tajuana Clark fought as much as she could to stop the onslaught of verbal, psychological and physical abuse for nearly half of her 8½ years of marriage. After reaching the breaking point, she bolted with her six children and ended up homeless on the streets of Memphis.

More than 11 years of marriage also ended for Dione Pruitt, who was subjected to her husband’s cruelty of verbal, psychological and physical abuse. She vamoosed with her five children, risking it all. With nowhere to turn and no one to turn to, sleeping in the car was her only recourse.

  • Written by Wiley Henry
  • Hits: 245

Four-year-old model Jevin Crochrell – too cute to lose


He is currently signed with five agencies, including an agreement with the Donna Groff Agency this past January. Parent Magazine featured him on its cover after winning the cutest kid award. He reaped the Child Model of the Year Award, Finale Award and Comedian Award en route to winning the Actors Model Talent for Christ competition in Orlando, Fla., where he beat out 900 contestants. That’s 899 Nos and 1 Yes!

Continuously busy for showcases, photo shoots and plays, he’s also been the weather kid for Action News 5. In October, Parent Magazine had him back on the cover, this time dressed as pirate pitching Halloween costumes.

  • Written by Kelvin Cowans
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Counting down to the 2014 Block Party and Picnic for Peace

Block Party

“Social Responsibility” will be the focus of the 2014 Block Party and Picnic for Peace, which is set for Oct. 24-26th.

“Coming on the heels of such serious incidents as the mob attacks and domestic violence tragedies in our city, we feel it’s the right thing to do in focusing this year’s event on social responsibility,” said State Rep. Antonio Parkinson, Block Party founder and organizer.

Kroger and BRIDGES USA partner to support youth leadership

The Kroger Delta Division and Bridges USA have embarked on a three-year partnership that includes a $50,000 donation to help promote youth leadership.
The partnership was announced last week at the Kroger location at the corner of Poplar and Highland. It comes about a month after a group of young people attacked three people, including Kroger employees, on the parking lot of the Kroger store in the Poplar Plaza Shopping Center. About two weeks later, another group of young people attacked a car with a woman and her young daughter inside.


Your source of information for where to go and what to do each weekend in the Greater Memphis area.

Memphis Grizzles vs. Atlanta Hawks

FedExForum | 7:00 p.m.

University of Memphis Tigers Football vs. University of Houston

Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium | 6:00 p.m.

The Epitome of Soul Awards Honoring Stevie Wonder

The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts | 8:00 P.M.

LEGACY: McCann Leronius Reid

Former Tri-State Defender editor was a ‘movement’ man

by Wiley Henry

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When the clarion was sounded during the civil rights movement for freedom and justice, a young journalist and photographer answered the call – McCann Leronius Reid. He would capture the movement and its aftermath through the lens of his camera and during his stint as editor of the Tri-State Defender.   

Reid embedded himself in the movement during some of its most pivotal moments and recalled his experiences long after it had ended. After serving more than a dozen years at the newspaper, he continued sounding off as a contributing writer well into the 1980s on issues germane to African Americans.

The sound of Reid’s voice, however, would eventually fade, and his film camera, now a relic of the past, would no longer capture the spirit of a people determined to break down barriers and overcome racism and injustices.

Reid died Sept. 20 at the Memphis VA Medical Center. He was 90. Relatives, friends and admirers bid him farewell on Sept. 29th during his funeral at Longview Heights Seventh-Day Adventist Church, where he was a member.

Reid had been in ill health at a private nursing home receiving special care, his wife, Cora Reid, said. She’d hoped to move him to Nashville with her to live with their daughter, Angela Kim Reid-Thompson, director of rehabilitation at Nashville Community Care and Rehabilitation at Bordeaux.

Though Reid could not join his wife and daughter, the two hold fond memories of a husband and father who lived life to the fullest and left behind an invaluable legacy and an indelible impression on those he’d encountered.

“I wasn’t too much aware of what was going on at that time until years later,” said Cora Reid, a retired Memphis City Schools teacher. “Then I realized how important of a person my husband was in the civil rights movement.”

What she remembers most was that her husband was away from home a lot, somewhere recording history as a journalist and photographer. “It didn’t dawn on me…but he contributed a lot to the civil rights movement,” she said. “[But] I don’t know whether I felt the danger until years later.”

Reid happened to be in the right places and at the right time as an eyewitness to history, she said. He met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when they were students at Boston University. Dr. King would go on to lead a “movement” and Reid would become an active participant and eventually document it. 

For example, as a journalist, Reid put pen to paper and created a narrative detailing the African-American struggle. As a photographer, he captured the heart and soul of those in the trenches and others on the front line for justice. Then he transfixed it all for posterity.

Reid participated in a number of marches and documented his experiences, including the march that drew Dr. King to Memphis to demand better working conditions for the city’s sanitation workers.  

“My father had a lot of integrity,” Reid-Thompson said. “The way he lived was in support and alignment with nonviolence. His writing was a statement, his voice. He allowed his pen to be the power.”

Reid-Thompson also remembers her father as a quiet, gentle man with a wit humor. “He was very unassuming, but a renaissance man,” she noted.

Audrey McGhee, the former publisher of the TSD, also remembers Reid as being “quiet and unassuming.” What she remembers most, however, was that he was dedicated and devoted to his job and “always on top of things.”

Though Reid had left the newspaper before McGhee’s tenure as publisher, he’d followed a succession of editors, such as Lewis O. Swingler and Alex Wilson, who challenged the status quo by using the press to affect change.

Reid’s voice was succinct, deliberate, and he used it to get his point across. He also voiced his concerns about segregated conditions. And when restaurants were desegregating, he and William “Bill” Little, TSD’s sports writer, decided they’d test the law by making an entrance.

Not willing to bend under the weight of racism and discrimination, Reid filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that the Memphis Press Scimitar and The Commercial Appeal refused to hire him because of his race and religion.

Reid eventually found employment at the Employment Opportunity Commission, where he served as editor of the E.E.O.C.’s union paper. He continued to ply his skills as a journalist and later spent his golden years with his family.

Cora Reid said she doesn’t have a lot of her husband’s work, but “I do have some of his most important photos.”

  • Written by By Wiley Henry
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From Memphis to Ferguson: Devin James – The whole story

by Tony Jones

Special to The New Tri-State Defender

Memphis-born public relations professional Devin James has steadied himself after getting wobbled as part of a public relations team assisting the city of Ferguson, Mo. with its public response following the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Michael Brown Jr.

James and his company, the Devin James Group, were working out of the spotlight until a St. Louis newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, detailed James’ reckless homicide conviction resulting from a shooting in 2004. He served three months in prison and 10 years probation.

 The newspaper followed up with a scathing editorial, presaging an Internet and media explosion excoriating James. Ferguson Mayor James Knowles was well aware of James’ past. He told St. Louis’ KMOV Channel 4 that he felt it would provide an additional connection “to counter criticism that city officials are out of touch with people who may have a criminal record but are trying to turn their lives around.

“My background was never an issue to anybody. It has no reflection on my ability to do public relations or be a strategic counsel for government entities,” James said during an interview with The New Tri-State Defender.

James was hired as a minority subcontractor by the St. Louis-based communications firm Elasticity, which was contracted by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. Katy Jamboretz, vice president, Marketing & Communications, for the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, says the organization has asked Elasticity to release James from his subcontractor role, due to a lack of transparency.

“While we admire his personal growth from difficult circumstances and commend him for his high quality work in Ferguson, it was the lack of information about his background that prompted us to make this move,” Jamboretz said in a written release. “Mr. James failed to inform us of his prior conviction. He also did not reveal this information to Elasticity when he was hired as a subcontractor. As of today, we are developing new vendor due diligence policies which we believe will prevent similar incidents in the future.”

James said his company has always been forthright with all of its government clients.

“We told the partnership (when his firm was initially hired). We told the partnership and they thought it was a good idea when they recommended that we work with Ferguson. So every headline that you’ve read has been inaccurate.”

James has at least one public official, Tennessee State Rep. Barbara Cooper, strongly on his side. James’ family turned to Cooper for assistance after his conviction and subsequent prison term.

“What happened to Devin was ten years ago, if not longer. And I know because I helped him through it,” said Cooper. “What they’re trying to do to him is so unfair and typical, though it really comes as no surprise. Why don’t they tell the truth for a change? Yes, he was a felon; was. Look what he has become since. That’s the real story.”

A July 2014 article in the St. Louis American speaks to what James has become, reporting that he was class president of the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business Minority Business Executive Program.

Let him speak for himself.

“My firm was under contract with the St. Louis Economic Partnership for a brand assessment of North County, where Ferguson is located. About two days after we completed the assessment, Michael Brown was shot and killed and the Partnership decided that they needed to do something to protect the investments in the region,” said James.

“Contrary to what a lot of people think, we were not actually tasked to do PR (public relations). Our initial assignment was to assist the P.R. firm retained, Common Ground public relations.”

Putting the Ferguson area into context, James said, “It wasn’t a secret that the area lacked the investment that the non-African American areas had received. The highest ranking executive in the county is African American and has acknowledged that they had not done a good job in investing in the African American community.”

His core duty began as part of the team seeking ways to spur more economic investment in the African-American community. That involved discussion about topics that are issues in many other cities: How to challenge patterns of poverty and determining corporate responsibility.

 “Like any other typical American city,” said James, including Memphis in the mix. “I have been doing business there (in Ferguson) for six years and never got a prime contract.”

Then the shooting occurred.

 “The first thing that jumped out to me was that there was so much division between the city, the state and the county. When something large like this happens in a small town like Ferguson they’re not equipped to handle something like this,” said James.

 “My first concern was where were the resources to help them. The police chief immediately called the county in take over the investigation. The first couple of days it was amazing to me how little support they received. To me it was almost like they had left them out to burn. I think a lack of leadership from the state to the county level added to the confusion. It was chaotic. We’re talking three or four days after the shooting and there was no clear plan.”

James said it is not his intention to criticize the initial PR firm that was hired.

“I just think something like this was outside their wheelhouse. The cultural sensitivity piece was missing. Nobody had really dealt with any kind of race related, international conversations. Of course in Memphis we’ve dealt with that kind of conversation for years so I understood what kind of conversations that needed to be had. As I was engaging the stakeholders I was concerned that no one understood the severity of the situation.”

By email, James detailed his responsibility following the shooting.

  • Written by Special to the New Tri-State Defender by Tony Jones
  • Hits: 504