The April 4th Foundation will hold its 14th annual fundraising banquet on Friday, April 4th at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Peabody Hotel.
The banquet supports the foundation's youth component of the "Footsteps" Program, which teaches students about the civil rights era through direct interaction with civil rights icons and visitation of historic places. The mission of the foundation is to "Tell the story...pass it on" and in the process detail the sacrifices and successes.
The Rev. Johnson Saulsberry Jr., founder of the April 4th Foundation, said the banquet has become "everything we wanted it to be, but there's always room for growth. We look for that growth through the young people that we have in our youth program to help us grow into a bigger and better organization in the future."
A first floor suite in the historic 14-story Shrine Building at the corner of Front Street and Monroe Avenue is ground zero for The Law Offices of Ricky E. Wilkins. The architecture is exquisite and furnished with the trappings of success. But Wilkins is willing to trade much of it for a fulltime seat in Congress.
"I'm a lifelong Memphian who was raised in South Memphis. I want to give back to the community any way I can," he said. "I've been practicing law for 23 years and volunteered my time, talent and resources because I care about the community. So running for Congress is a natural extension of giving back."
Wilkins is challenging U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen for the right to represent Tennessee's Ninth Congressional District, an area entirely contained in Shelby County and includes the city of Memphis and portions of Collierville and Germantown.
The National Civil Rights Museum gets much more than a facelift with its $28 million renovation.
That certainty was on display Wednesday as The New Tri-State Defender took advantage of a preview tour. Care has been taken to maintain the integrity of the museum, which opened in 1991. And while 100 percent of the original content still is there, technology has moved in, with multiple, virtually interactive and touch-screen displays.
The changeover has been underway since last November and the sounds of continued work spoke to the museum's evolution as members of the media got a sneak-peek tour. The doors of the unique museum are set to reopen at 11 a.m. on April 5th. The wish list for the reopening scenario includes a visit by President Barack Obama, who has not yet said whether he will accept the extended invitation.
Teen girls won't be pretty in pink this year just for the fun of it. Many have signed up to duke it out with breast cancer as "Pink Ambassadors" for the Sisters Network, a national organization of African-American breast cancer survivors.
"We are just so excited about launching this new initiative with teen girls," said Carolyn Whitney, president of the Memphis chapter. "Out of the 40 national affiliates of the Sisters Network, Memphis was chosen as one of two pilot cities to kick off this new program with teens. The other pilot project is in Houston."
From Whitney's vantage point, "Teens 4 Pink" couldn't have begun in any other American city but Memphis for one simple but tragic reason.
Mayor A C Wharton Jr. has teamed with several local hospitals and community partners to launch a musical message encouraging citizens to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace by the March 31st deadline.
"Music resonates with the people of our city in a way that is difficult to explain. That's why this idea of slipping a critical message into the melody of a song was a pretty safe bet from our perspective," said Wharton.
The song at the center of the campaign is "The Marketplace," a rewrite of the 1979 soul classic "Come Go with Me" made famous by Teddy Pendergrass. It showcases Memphis vocalist and keyboardist, Will Graves. T. O. Crivens, who is featured as the lead guitarist, produced the regarding.
Fresh off a trip down south to Austin, Texas, 29-year-old rapper George Purnell, aka Go Phigga, of Bottom Coast Ent/Numb3rs Committee, was still in rare form as we began our interview. Turned up and passionate about music and the mark he plans to make on it, he left no stones unturned when speaking about his experiences, influences and perceptions of the music business.
"I've dropped 3 albums already – "4ever Motivated," "M.S.O.M.1" and "M.S.O.M.1.5" – but most recently I just finished performing this past weekend at the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) Music, Art and Film Festival in Austin, Texas," said Go Phigga, clearly excited about the annual Spring Break festival that he recognizes as one of the biggest in the music game.
"I have performed at this event for like the last three or four years and I truly enjoy it and the fans because every year is different. The fans really get a chance to see you up close and personal and take pictures with you and ask you about your music. Then also there are countless mega-artists there. Like this year you had artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Slim Thugg, Bun B., Face Mobb, Big Sean, Future, Tech 9, Nas, etc. So yes, it was really nice."
African-American young men – several of them – took home a few life lessons after attending The Black Man Can Institute at the Juvenile Intervention & Faith-based Followup (JIFF) last Saturday (March 15th).
The Institute was a one-day series of workshops that focused on different ways to uplift, empower and inspire young men of color.
"We have a vision to bring the Institute to every city in America and be a catalyst for change in the life of a young man," said Brandon Frame, the Institute's founder. "In partnering with R.L. Thompson and Community Service, Inc., we had the amazing opportunity to complete that purpose."