Greater Metro

Minerva J. Johnican: ‘Unbossed and Unbought’

Minerva Johican-300(The political offices – Shelby County Commissioner, Memphis City Council member and Criminal Court Clerk – don't begin to tell the story of Minerva J. Johnican, who died last Friday (March 8) at Methodist University Hospital. She was 74. Former state Rep. Kathryn Bowers shares her unique view of the late Memphis trailblazer.)

Almost 42 years ago (March 24, 1971), the U.S. Congress passed the Twenty-sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, looking to clear obstacles to 18 year olds securing the right to vote. That "right" became official on July 1, 1971 when North Carolina ratified the Amendment. No Amendment had been ratified in a shorter period of time.

In 1970, an amendment to the 1965 Voting Rights Act had paved the way for 18 year olds to vote but it was determined that a Constitutional Amendment was required to apply in state and local elections.


Howard spring break program gets a double dose of Memphis

SB-tour-4-600When Ayanna McFarland graduated from Whitehaven High School in 2011, she left the Bluff City to pursue higher education. It wouldn't be the last time her hometown would see the budding leader. Now a junior English and secondary education major at Howard University in Washington, D.C., McFarland has returned to her Memphis roots for a good cause.

In its 19th year, the Howard University Alternative Spring Break Program (ASB) added Memphis to its eight-city roster, making it the largest spring break tour in the program's history. While in Memphis, Howard scholars split into two groups to tackle four-day mentoring sessions on health and education with approximately 114 Memphis City School students.


AKA’s faithful settle in for ‘ATM’ Regional

aka-2-600With a global point of view in mind, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. members have converged on Memphis for the 81st South Eastern Regional Conference.

The four-day conference – March 14-17 – is projected to attract 3,000-plus sorority members from the 105-year-old international sorority's South Eastern Region – Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi (known as the "ATM.")

Additional guests are expected to pour into the "Bluff City" from various points – nationally and internationally. The conference theme is "Global Leadership Through Timeless Service: Let the Good Times Roll Through Timeless Service."


At Evans Elementary, positive and principal are inseparable

Mitchell Evans-School-1-600On a Friday afternoon inside the cafeteria of Evans Elementary School, a sea of children danced to "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," one of superstar Michael Jackson's biggest hits from the 80s. Though the song itself is twice their ages, they jumped and spun around anyway, showing teachers and parents in attendance their best moves.

Those students were being rewarded for good conduct for the month, and in the middle of it all was their principal, Cynthia Alexander-Mitchell.


Super size? Yes, please, say Mississippi lawmakers

Generic Fastfood-400The same day a judge blocked a ban on the sale of large, sugary drinks in New York City, senators in Mississippi approved, by a 50-1 vote, a bill that would prevent similar efforts in their state.

The legislation is known as the "Anti-Bloomberg" bill because the proposed ban in New York is supported by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"We believe there's enough regulation," said Mississippi state Sen. Tony Smith, the bill's author and a restaurant owner.


Community help needed for sickle cell group home

SC-house-600The Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee is on the verge of opening its first group home and the community's support is needed to push the project to the finishing point.

Located at 35 West Brooks Rd., the next step in the Foundation's expanding outreach effort was brought to my attention by TSD reader Mario Martin. I ran into him while on a supply run at Office Max.

Martin's an entertainment and real estate entrepreneur. After explaining that he had added security systems (Maximum Security) to his products and services line, Martin mentioned that the company had donated a state-of-the-art system to a house for the Sickle Cell Foundation.


Service, salutes and training to mark AKA Regional Conference

aka-600The 81st South Eastern Regional Conference of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. will convene in Memphis March 14-17.

The conference is expected to attract 3,000-plus sorority members from the 105-year-old international sorority's South Eastern Region – Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi (known as the "ATM.")

Additional guests are expected to pour into the "Bluff City" from various points – nationally and internationally. The conference theme is "Global Leadership Through Timeless Service: Let the Good Times Roll Through Timeless Service."


At odds: family & medical examiner; dispute death of Miss. mayoral candidate

marco-mcmillian-500The family of a Mississippi mayoral candidate claim that he died after being "beaten, dragged and burned," but it's an account a medical examiner disputed, saying "I don't know where that is coming from."

On Wednesday, authorities found Marco McMillian's body near a levee between Sherard and Rena Lara, two unincorporated communities about 15 minutes from Clarksdale. The 34-year-old McMillian had been running for mayor of Clarksdale, a city of about 18,000 people in northwestern Mississippi's Delta region.

His body was "set afire," according to his family, who said they twice met with a coroner.


40th Anniversary salute to African American Police Association

AAhist-1-600Since its inception as an official national commemoration nearly half a century ago, African American History Month has become something many of us take for granted.

But if one candle is enough to keep a bonfire going, we happened to stumble upon a small, refreshingly sincere, and humbly very powerful program at the Lambert Church of God In Christ this past Sunday (Feb. 24).

Matchbox size, Lambert is located "two blocks up Park from Airways and then to the right" on Keating Street in Orange Mound.


Police union taking it to the streets

police-1-600The Memphis Police Association will conduct a public awareness protest at Poplar & Highland on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. to bring attention to what union president Michael Williams terms gross mismanagement by mayor AC Wharton Jr.'s administration.

The meet-and-greet encounter is a giant public handshake designed to increase the volume on the union's Wake Up, MEMPHIS! campaign.

"We think there has been a campaign going on to actually discredit the police in this city," said Williams. "We think there are a lot of things that aren't being addressed while running us down."


Cornerstone-Lester rift oozes out of hearing

Cornerstone-1-600Is it leadership, ineffective and insensitive teachers, cultural insensitivity, or all of the above?

All were touted as reasons of concern when a packed house of parents, children, religious leaders, educators and community advocates convened Saturday (Feb. 23) to participate in a legislative hearing chaired by State Rep. G.A. Hardaway Jr., at the Lester Community Center.

Time did not permit all to voice their concerns, but the 3½-hour buzz included testimonies from 12 parents, a current teacher, a former teacher, a minister and a community activist. Their stories reflected concerns about alleged inequities and unfair treatment impacting kindergarten through third graders at Cornerstone Prep Academy's Lester Campus.


New deadline for ‘The Teacher That Changed My Life’ essay contest

Did a teacher affect you so deeply that the course of your life was literally altered by the exchange?

Well, if so, and if you can relay that experience in 500 words or less, you have a shot at coming up a winner in an essay contest dubbed "The Teacher That Changed My Life!"


Juvenile Court settlement to get Town Hall airing Thursday

Henri-Brooks-400A Town Hall meeting is set for Thursday to discuss the recent agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Shelby County Juvenile Court.

The session, which County Commissioner Henri Brooks will host, will be held in the auditorium of the Memphis City Schools Board at 2597 Avery. It is slated for two hours and begins at 5 p.m.

At issue is a $4.5 million to $6.5 million settlement agreement that is a tied to a three-year Department of Justice (DOJ) study. According to the findings, Juvenile Court had shown systemic discrimination in its treatment of African-American children. Other children, the study concluded,