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Boss Ugly Bob to many, he was just ‘Boss’ to me

BossUgly-Farrakhan-600Robert Karriem, formerly Robert Catron, gained notoriety as Boss Ugly Bob. "Boss," as I called him, was my father-in-law and earlier this month he was awarded a historical marker from the State of Tennessee at his last place of business at 726 East McLemore near Mississippi Blvd.

This long overdue gesture of recognition (on Oct. 5th) for one of Memphis most successful businessmen and African-American millionaires was a personal inspiration.

Boss Ugly Bob lived a storied life. He was a DJ on WLOK in the sixties. As a musician, he played with Bobby 'Blue' Bland, Roscoe Gordon, and B.B. King with "The Beale Streeters." A pillar of his community and family man, he stayed married to Claudette Colbert for over 50 years.

Judge Joe Brown to keynote Men of Excellence Gala

Judge Joe Brown-600Twenty years ago, with great anticipation and as president of the Black Student Association at Rhodes College, I hosted Judge Joe Brown as a speaker at one of our signature campus events.

Now, as president and publisher of The New Tri-State Defender, I've invited an equally dynamic and more seasoned Judge Joe Brown to deliver what I am confident will be an inspiring message of challenge to our 2013 Men of Excellence. I am elated that he has accepted the invitation.

I know that Judge Brown truly understands my vision to mobilize and put into action the collective talent represented in this year's Men of Excellence class. He knows the value of meshing that talent with the immense wealth of talent represented by the distinguished body of four previous years of inductees.

Ford Targets HBCU Students in Community Competition


by Michelle Matthews-Alexander

Are you a student attending a Historically Black College and University who’s interested in giving back to both your community and your university? If so, Ford is inviting you to enter the Ford Community Challenge Competition for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The competition, which was developed in partnership with Ford Motor Company and the Ford Motor Company Fund will award up to $75,000 in scholarships, university and community grants to the first-place student team and its project.

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Hunt-Phelan Home tapped as Campus for Caring anchor in sickle cell battle

SickleCell-campus-600With an eye toward a Campus for Caring, The Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee is moving to purchase the historic Hunt-Phelan home and redevelop adjacent real estate.

In the U.S., sickle-cell disease is most prevalent among African-Americans and Hispanics. It strikes one in 375 African-American children. Patients can suffer debilitating pain, swelling, infections, stroke and life-threatening organ damage, which can lead to a shorter life.

The nonprofit envisions a dramatic expansion to serve more people at home and abroad. Foundation representatives are meeting with donors as part of a $2 million campaign to finance the phased-in development of its Campus for Caring during the next few years.


Craigmont High students on a road to self-discovery

roadtrip-nation-600Every high school student has passions and interests that are unique to them. However, many young people have trouble connecting what they are naturally interested in – whether it is playing video games, reading mystery novels, or catching bugs in their back yard – to a potential career down the road.

With that challenge in mind, Roadtrip Nation – with the support of AT&T and the AT&T Foundation – is set to produce a mobile-friendly curriculum that helps high school students connect their studies to career pathways. The goal is to help students connect the dots between their personal interests and real world opportunities.

Earlier this year, Roadtrip Nation received $1 million from AT&T and the AT&T Foundation to produce a mobile-friendly curriculum that helps students at risk of dropping out of high school connect their studies and interests to real-world opportunities. With this new funding, Roadtrip Nation will extend its program offerings to 10,000 students in six states, including Tennessee.

War hero’s salute includes new home

Dortrie-Jones-600Dortrie A. Jones Jr. lives in West Memphis, was born in Memphis, wounded in Baghdad, Iraq and is about to make a major move to Orlando, Fla.

Last Saturday at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium – during a break between the first and second quarters of the football game between the University of Memphis and SMU – Jones was acknowledged as a war hero. The recognition comes with a brand new house in Orlando.

Jones and his wife, Katrina, have three children: Jasmine Craig, 12, Christian Jones, 7, and Dante Jones, 5. He is the recipient of support from the Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF), a San Antonio-base non-profit organization that helps combat wounded veterans who are transitioning out of the military.

Briefs & Things: FFUN rolls out its annual picnic Oct. 27

Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives (FFUN) will host its 4th Annual Multicultural Unity and Peace Family & Community Picnic on Sunday (Oct. 27) in Audubon Park at the corner of Park and Goodlett from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

October is National Crime Prevention Month and National Anti-Bullying Month. The community and family picnic is FFUN's prevention, awareness and education initiative.

"We want to bring the community together in peace and unity; encouraging youth to appreciate and respect cultural, physical and socioeconomic differences," said Stevie Moore, president and founder of FFUN.

The New Tri-State Defender gets new ownership

Bernal Smith II-600For the first time in its storied 62-year history, the Tri-State Defender will be both locally owned and operated.

Following an extended period of discussion and negotiations, Real Times Media, Inc. (RTM) has agreed to sell the assets of Tri-State Defender, Inc. (TSD) to BEST Media Properties, Inc., a Tennessee Corporation established by current TSD President and Publisher, Bernal E. Smith II.

Smith structured the new company – including the establishment of a local investment group that will comprise its board of directors – to accelerate the historic publication's move forward into the digital and multi-media age.