Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have turned 53 on Jan. 15, 1982. It was a Friday and on that day the founders of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center (MSPJC) opened its doors.
This Saturday, a gala event at First Congregational Church in the Cooper-Younger community will mark the organization's 32nd anniversary.
"'Living the Legacy of Nonviolence' is our celebration of resistance," said Jacob Flowers, MSPJC executive director. "We stand on the shoulders of great men and women that we honor and appreciate. The broad canon of work we've accomplished is because of the lessons we learned from those who went before us: nonviolent social change is permanent change."
Southside's Lady Rams basketball team is no stranger to tough battles. After an 0-4 start, this year's season had the look of a battle royal.
At the same time, Southside Middle School as a whole was fighting for something more important than a basketball game – keeping the school from being absorbed by the Achievement School District (ASD). While many sing the praises of the ASD for its commitment to help turn around low-performing schools, that wasn't the tune resonating at Southside from its faculty, student body and community supporters.
The fight to keep Southside from being taken over by the ASD went public, airing on various local news outlets. Armed with a level-five "passing" grade from the state, Southside avoided the ASD net. That seemed to breathe fresh air into the entire school, including the Southside girls basketball team.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday – what would have been his 85th – was Wednesday (Jan. 15th), with the federal holiday set to be observed on Monday (Jan. 20th).
Myriad observances and events are planned throughout Greater Memphis. Mayor A C Wharton Jr. is calling on Memphians to "Be the Dream" during a weekend of reflection and service honoring Dr. King's legacy.
Here is a partial list of scheduled events:
On Beale St., near what used to be the Bumpus Beale Avenue Grocery, is a historical marker that served as the destination of a march from the DoubleTree Hotel on Union Ave. in Downtown Memphis last Saturday (June 11). The good-spirited marchers shared a fraternal bond with the man the marker honored, Abram Langston Taylor.
A century ago – January 9th, 1914 – at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Taylor became the principal founder of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., along with Leonard F. Morse and Charles I. Brown. Four years earlier, he had conceived the idea at the grocery while talking to a recent Howard graduate about Greek letter fraternities.
That story was briefly recounted as the early Saturday morning marchers respectfully assembled for a wreath-laying ceremony. Theodore J. Lewis Jr. helped put things in context. He's the Southwestern Region Director, Tau Iota Sigma ~ Memphis Alumni Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Seventeen months after newcomer Kevin Woods defeated the Rev. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr. for the Shelby County School Board District 4 position, and five months after a new election was ordered, uncertainty still rules.
On Aug. 2, 2012, Woods was declared the winner by 106 votes. Whalum, the incumbent, wasted no time filing a complaint to contest the election results. He named the Shelby County Election Commission and other parties. His Aug. 22, 2012 complaint alleged that the election was "fraught with error as thousands of voters were disenfranchised".
Whalum and his attorney contend that there is only one solution and that is to "discard the election results and hold a vote." On Aug. 13, 2013, Chancellor Kenny Armstrong reached a decision.
With little more than an enthusiastic "Yes," attorney Ricky E. Wilkins confirmed this week that he has picked up a qualifying petition and is planning a campaign to unseat 9th District incumbent Rep. Steve Cohen.
Whispered for several months now, Wilkins' filing is seen by some as the kickoff point for the race.
Deep in a think-tank session when The New Tri-State Defender reached out for comment, Wilkins would only say, "You can report that I have officially picked up my petition and you can be assured that I am planning a full and complete run for the office."
Family and friends of Joshua Benjamin Nelson "Malekebu" Parks gathered last Saturday (Jan. 4) at First Baptist Church-Broad Street for a memorial service. It was part of the healing process unfolding after a triple shooting that left Parks and the mother of his children dead.
Police ruled the tragedy as a murder-suicide.
Parks, along with the 39-year-old mother of his two youngest children, were found inside a Binghampton apartment. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Parks, 34, died later at a local hospital. The 54-year-old grandmother of Parks' children was found just outside the apartment door in critical condition.