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Velma Lois Jones – serving with purpose

velma 600Former educator and Tennessee Education Association president Velma Lois Jones didn’t need another award to convince many who know her that she is a living legacy. Jones took her latest honor with familiar humility.
The Living Legacy Awards are co-sponsored by the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History and Farmer’s Insurance. Ten recipients, including Jones, were honored earlier this year at the Marriot Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. 
The Living Legacy Awards salute African-Americans across the country that work to improve communities, institutions, organizations and family life through education. 

Just energy policies championed by NAACP and partners

JustEnergy 600Fresh on the heels of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s first-ever proposed nationwide limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants, the Memphis Branch NAACP and several community partners recently held a media event to amplify the need for “just energy policies.”
The session at the Benjamin Hooks Main Library followed last month’s government release of its third National Climate Assessment. The assessment, said session organizers, documented “the alarming extent to which climate change already is adversely impacting Tennesseans, underlying the importance to take strong and just action to curb pollution from power plants before the impacts worsen.”

Black Music Month: Celebrating the Soulful ’70s

musicmonth 600What makes the soul, funk and R&B music of the 1970s so unique and powerful? Beyond the fact that it creeps into, nourishes and elevates your mind, body and spirit, it’s the soundtrack of profound change embodying the most prolific and lush period of black cultural expression that we’ve ever experienced. Its beginning was like the clouds parting to bless the universe with radiant musical sunshine.
The penetrating artistic expression was ubiquitous and not simply confined to the radio airwaves. When tuning in to ABC’s detective drama “Baretta” from 1975 to 1978, we were treated to Sammy Davis Jr.’s haunting exhortations to keep our eyes on the sparrow.

Ruby Dee & 20 facts

rubydee 600Ruby Dee passed away at 91, and she was truly a grand dame. She not only graced the large and small screens but the Broadway stage as well.  She was a petite woman with a larger-than-life persona who possessed thespian skills that were honed to a tee. There will never be another Miss Dee, and thankfully, her immense body of work will live on. Therefore, here are 20 tidbits about the great Miss Dee that you may not know about.
1) Ruby Dee’s actual name was Ruby Ann Wallace.  Even though it felt as if Dee was married to the late-brilliant actor Ossie Davis forever, he was actually her second husband. The name “Dee” came from her first husband, blues singer Frankie Dee Brown, whom she married in 1941 and divorced in 1945.
2) Dee was born in Cleveland but considered herself a native New Yorker as she was raised in Harlem.  She lived in the Empire State all her life making New Rochelle her home until she quietly passed away from natural causes.

Juneteenth goes live this weekend

juneteenth 600The Juneteenth Urban Music Festival is set to go live Father’s Day weekend, June 13-15, on the grounds of the historic Robert R. Church Park on “world famous” Beale Street in downtown Memphis.
“We have worked around the clock to bring you some of the best local talent in Memphis and Shelby County,” said Telisa Franklin, Juneteenth’s executive director. 
“Many of them have already achieved national recognition.”