Monday, June 1, 2015

Information About the Great Golden Gathering - 2015

Word is getting around about the big reunion between all the former African-American high schools later this summer.

People are getting excited about commemorating the 50th anniversary of the closing of the schools, with an historic event called the "Great Golden Gathering - 2015," that remembers the good times and the wonderful educations we and our ancestors received, from the best schools in the region.

The Organizational Committee made up of representatives from the various alumni groups has been been meeting since March 7th, discussing ways to make the Great Golden Gathering a memorable one for both the schools' alumni, their descendants, and their respective communities.  Although there are some organizations that have not been directly involved, nonetheless they are still included because, by default, they are one of the African-American schools.  Pray, the Organizational Committee does not want to leave any alumni associations out, and any schools not contacted yet, are encouraged to please join the Committee.  All opinions and suggestions are welcome.  There are no bad ideas...  all are suggestions to help make the Big Reunion a big success.


Most of the beloved schools closed for integration in 1965 (Swift in 1963, and Douglass-Kingsport 1966), and their combined alumni associations are planning a huge and historic reunion, to reconnect former students who interacted athletically, academically and socially when those schools were the backbone of our communities.  These were African-American schools with fine teachers, who instructed us with loving care.  These schools were the solid rocks of our communities, and by the grace of God, all or most are still standing today.  Many are used as offices, some are community centers much like their roles of yesteryear, some are apartments, but some are empty shells.  Sadly, a few are in fear of the wrecking ball. 


The historic "Great Golden Gathering - 2015" will be Friday August 28, Saturday August 29, and Sunday August 30, 2015.  The location will be the Holiday Inn-Bristol Convention Center, 3005 Linden Drive, Bristol, VA 24202.  The phone number is (276) 466-4100.  We have a special discounted room rate for folks who are spending the night (s).. just mention that you're attending the "Great Golden Gathering - 2015" and you'll get the special room rate.

Plans are for a meet-and-greet session for all the alumni on Friday the 28th.... a picnic with school displays of memorabilia on Saturday afternoon the 29th.... a huge banquet event with speakers on Saturday night the 29th.... and a special church service on Sunday the 30th.  Events on any given day are subject to change and modification. 


The cost to attend is $100 dollars per person, with a $25 dollar non-refundable deposit due by June 15th (this helps us secure the venue, food accomodations, entertainment, etc.), but if you want to pay the whole amount, that would be wonderful and helpful.  The $25 dollar deposit will be deducted from the $100 dollars, leaving only a balance of $75 dollars per person.  Please make your check out to "Great Golden Gathering 2015" and mail it to Great Golden Gathering - 2015, 810 North Hill Drive, Johnson City, TN 37604.  Your name (s) will be placed on the master list, to be checked off on the day of registration.


Our committees are working on the programs for this historic one-of-a-kind event, including souvenir programs and historic commemorative tee-shirts that can be purchased, along with grab-bags full of free items.  We are also looking for corporate sponsorships to handle certain aspects of the event.  The banquet will feature speakers and historic addresses, fitting tributes to the legacies of the finest schools in the region. 


The 50th anniversary of any event is special.  These were African-American schools with fine teachers, who instructed us with care and prepared us for the unknown.. a world struggling to accept us as the intelligent people we are.  Our most important Big Reunion goal is to pass this part of our histories to our young people, to pick up the charge and carry the banners of our schools into the next generation.  Our alumni numbers at all of our our beloved schools is dwindling fast, and we don't have a moment to lose.  The Great Golden Gathering - 2015 may be the last and only time that all of us can be together to celebrate the one thing that binds us all.. our friendships and our common school bonds.


For more information, contact the Organizational Committee at or call (423) 847-5139.

Please put the historic Great Golden Gathering event on your late August calendar.  We may not have another chance at history.

                                               SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA

Bland High School, Big Stone Gap, VA
Douglass High School, Bristol, VA
Slater High School, Bristol, TN
Douglas High School, Elizabethton, TN
Douglass High School, Kingsport, TN
Langston High School, Johnson City, TN
Swift College High School, Rogersville, TN
Arty-Lee High School, Dante, VA
George Clem High School, Greeneville, TN
Morristown College West High School, Morristown, TN
Tanner High School, Newport, TN
Nelson-Merry High School, Jefferson City, TN
Austin High School, Knoxville, Tn
....And all of the associated African-American Elementary Schools in the area, who graduated  students to attend these distinguished High Schools....

Friday, April 13, 2012

Men Who Fired Fireworks at Blacks in Chattanooga Sentenced

A white trio who made an early-morning raid with high-powered fireworks at a predominantly-black housing development was ordered Thursday to serve jail time and perform 300 hours of community service. Federal Judge Curtis Collier sentenced James D. Smiley, 27, and Kyle Montgomery, 22, to 12 months. Colton Partin, who got a break for giving the FBI details about the July 9, 2011, foray, was sentenced to six months of house arrest. The 22-year-old Partin is on probation for 18 months. The sentencing range was 12-18 months. The range for Partin was cut to 4-12 months because prosecutor Chris Poole said he came forward and gave details of the raid. He said as the three were leaving jail they agreed that it was "one for all and all for one," but he said Partin decided to tell exactly what happened. He said Partin stated that it was true they were targeting black citizens after a drinking bout that started around 1 p.m. the previous day. They were also ordered to pay $27.47 to Angela Williams, who said she was on the porch at the East Lake Courts with three other black persons, when a white pickup truck drove up at 3:30 a.m. The amount was for medication she bought afterward. Ms. Williams said the first time the truck passed by the individuals were smiling "and we were smiling with them." But she said the next time they shouted racial epithets and on still another pass they fired mortar-type fireworks that sent up a large amount of smoke and shattered the first pane of a double-pane window. An off-duty police officer stopped the truck a short time after the incident. The trio earlier entered guilty pleas to conspiracy to commit civil rights intimidation. All three defendants issued apologies to the black community. Smiley turned to address Ms. Williams directly. She responded that she accepted the apologies. She said at first, "It put almost hatred in my heart." But she said she had a religious conversion and was baptized after the incident. She said she would be praying for the three defendants. Ms. Williams, who said she still has anxiety attacks due to the incident, said she has five grandchildren "and I teach them that we're all God's children and are equal in his sight." Among those in the audience were minister Paul McDaniel and a number of black citizens who were allowed to sit in the jury box because other seats in the courtroom were taken. A representative of the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., who deals with hate crimes called for maximum punishment. She said the attack "was based solely on the color of the skin" of the victims and "was done in a particularly violent way." She also asked that they be ordered to undergo racial sensitivity training and substance abuse treatment and that Smiley pay a fine since his net worth was listed at over $9,000. Smiley had been a Hamilton County EMT for over two years at the time of the incident, and Montgomery was a mental health specialist working with children who also wanted to be an EMT. Smiley was involved in a prior incident where he drove across the centerline and a person in the vehicle he struck was killed. Prosecutor Poole had told the judge, "The community is watching this case. The message should be that if you commit (a hate crime) you are going to get punished." Judge Collier said he did not see the incident as "a stupid prank" as some who wrote letters to him did. He said it was much more serious and could have hurt or killed someone. He said the East Lake Court residents should have been able to sit out on their porches or sleep in their beds without being attacked or have the N word shouted at them.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tickets on sale for NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet


NET News Service

JOHNSON CITY — Tickets are on sale for the annual Johnson City/Washington County NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet coming up April 22 at The Charles downtown.

Roger C. Woods III, team chaplain for University of Tennessee athletics, will be the guest speaker at the annual benefit dinner, which provides funding for local NAACP branch activities year round.

Branch Vice President Ralph Davis said the banquet will be held on a Sunday for the first time this year, and organizers hope Woods’ appearance will help draw a good crowd of branch members and others in the community who wish to attend.

During his more than 20 years in youth ministry, Woods’ goal has been to “encourage, enrich and empower” young people. At UT he works with coaches Pat Summitt, Cuonzo Martin and Derek Dooley, the UT Athletic Department and the university’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes to accomplish that goal among the student athletes.

Outside the university, Woods has served with the Knoxville area’s Pillar of the Community Awards Committee, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Intercollegiate Fine Arts Society, Winning Circle, Juvenile Advocates for DeKalb County, and other nonprofit organizations. He has also served with ministries led by Israel Houghton, Charles and Taylor, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Tyler Perry, Shun Pace Rhodes, Ann Nesby, Byron Cage, Donnie McClurkin and former All-Pro NFL receiver Danny Buggs.

On April 22, Woods will join the local NAACP branch for a dinner of honey roasted ham and turkey and cornbread dressing catered by Taste Budz, beginning at 6 p.m. at The Charles at 308 E. Main St. Entertainment for the evening will be provided by saxophonist Danny Williams, who represented the local NAACP branch in the national NAACP ACT-So program.

The program also will include the announcement of the winners of this year’s Johnson City/ Washington County NAACP Branch Awards. The awards are presented annually to a local community member or group in recognition of their work for civil rights or for community, and to a local business for their work with the NAACP.

The chapter’s annual Souvenir Journal featuring local, state and national NAACP news will be available for purchase at the dinner.

Davis emphasized the public is invited to banquet, saying, “It’s something we believe will be entertaining and informative, and we want everybody to come out.”

Tickets are $40 and may be purchased by calling Davis at 426-2851 or Chapter President Joyce Goines at 943-6059.

The Johnson City/Washington County NAACP Branch has been active since 1975 and includes about 150 members. The chapter meets on the third Monday of every month at Carver Park Recreation Center at 322 W. Watauga Ave. beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Virginia Intermont Blood Drive Chaired by Charlene Hodge's Daughter

R to L: Alicia "Nikki" Stewart, Tori Starnes, Courtney Madden, John Carbone, David Power and AD Chris Holt

On Tuesday, members of the VI's Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) held their second blood drive of the year in the Cobra Den.

The blood drive is a partnership between the American Red Cross and the Virginia Intermont College SAAC.

The committee is comprised of a representative from each athletic team in the department and chaired by Alicia "Nikki" Stewart.

Virginia Intermont sponsors at least 2 blood drives each school year. The student athletes on the committee take on the responsibility of recruiting donors and volunteers as well as staffing the drive on the day of the drive. They influence their teammates and fellow student athletes to get involved as well by not only staffing the blood drive, but also participate as donors.

"The committee members are passionate being about to be a part of such an important cause," said Stewart. "They have really taken ownership of the blood drive and take pride in its success."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gentle Reminder about Website Pictures

A gentle reminder that all of the pictures on your Douglass website are licensed by the website administrator.

Please see the note about that in the left-hand column.

The pictures are for your private use only, and cannot be copied and used in a public setting or on another website, without express permission from the Sons and Daughters of Douglass website administrator.

Permission is grantable, as long as credit is given to the Sons and Daughters of Douglass website.

The reason we do this, is so that our pictures will not be found on questionable websites for unscrupulous purposes. The licensing is as legal as a copyright, and only includes the pictures taken by the website photographer, and historical photos in the possession of the administrator. The Douglass website owns the pictures it takes, and permission to use them in a public setting, has to be given before they are used, with credit given back to where they originated.

The licensing DOES NOT include pictures that come from social media like Facebook.

The licensing of pictures does not include photos from the Kingsport Times-News, which has its own copyright on its pictures, of which, we have the paper's permission to reprint their pictures and stories.

Violations will be.... well, let's just say, they will be addressed promptly.

Please contack the administrator at if you have any questions.

Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 Black History Month Events in Kingsport

Negro History Week began in 1926, launched by Carter G. Woodson, an early scholar of African-American history. Now, nearly 90 years later as Black History month, it has become a monthlong event, celebrated each February, to recognize the accomplishments and culture of African-Americans and promote awareness of black history.

Below are some events set to take place in Kingsport and the region to commemorate this very important part of our nation’s history.

• FROM NOW UNTIL FEBRUARY 29TH: Black History Month Art Exhibits, Kingsport Renaissance Center, Atrium, 2nd Floor, Center Street, Kingsport. Event free of charge. Display featuring African-American Professionals and Business Owners from Riverview. Also, artwork displays, featuring William Menya, Ethnic Art by Mark Anthony, and others.

• THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9TH: The Cultural Arts Division of Kingsport’s Parks and Recreation Department will present jazz singer Connye Florance in concert at 7 p.m., Feb. 9 at the Kingsport Renaissance Center. Tickets for “Colors of Jazz” are $12. The concert is sponsored by the Cultural Arts Division of Kingsport Parks and Recreation, Leisure Services for the city of Kingsport and Engage Kingsport. For more information or to order tickets to the concert, call (423) 392-8417 or visit

• TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14TH: Pro-Art Association, Mountain Empire Community College in Big Stone Gap, Va., and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise in Wise, Va., will host two concerts by jazz vocalist L’Tanya Mari on Feb. 14. The first concert will be held at 12:15 p.m. in Phillips-Taylor Hall of MECC’s Goodloe Center. The second performance will be an evening concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Chapel of All Faiths at UVA-Wise. Admission is free to both programs. For more information, call (276) 376-4520 visit

• FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17TH: City of Kingsport Parks and Rec Division of Community Services, in partnership with Riverview Boys & Girls Club and Riverview Residents Association presents Annual Soul Food Gathering, Friday, Feb. 17th, 4 PM to 5:30 PM, Riverview Community Center, 301 Louis Street, Kingsport. The event is free of charge. Come enjoy foods from past and present: homemade mac & cheese, collard greens, fried cracklin' bread, deer meat and rabbit, neck bones and potatoes, soup beans, chicken, sweeet potatoes and casseroles and more, with drinks and desserts. For more information, contact Johnnie Mae Swagerty, 429-7553 or Jessica, Riverview Boys & Girls Club, 392-2517. Everyone welcome. MM, MM Good, Fun, food & fellowship!

• SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18TH: "Come Get on the Bus" with New Vision Youth and Kingsport Parks & Rec, Community Services Division, Saturday, Feb. 18th, from 12 to 2 PM. Bus to Rogersville to tour the Swift-Price Museum. Pack lunch and Swift-Price will provide drinks. Everyone welcome, all ages. The event is free of charge. Contact Johnnie Mae Swagerty 429-7553 or Chassie Smiley-Freeman, 224-2420.

• SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19TH: New Vision Youth presents its annual Black History Program, Sunday, Feb. 19th, 4PM, St. Mark United Methodist Church, 929 Maple Street, Kingsport. Enmtertainment by various choirs, soloists & praise teams. Theme: Honoring Women of Color. Asking all women of color to attend, and be recognized. Contact Johnnie Mae Swagerty, 429-7553 to nominate a local woman of color. Everyone welcome!

• MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20TH: Help Our Potential Evolve (H.O.P.E.) will host workshops from noon to 6 p.m., Feb. 20 at the Kingsport Renaissance Center, 1200 E. Center St. Workshops to be offered include drumming, hosted by Rick Hick and Jenny Roger; an art class, hosted by Mark Anthony; African cuisine, hosted by Jerri Harrison; and face painting with the Boys and Girls Club. A Michael Jackson Wii Competition will provide first-place winners in different age groups with $100 Visa gift cards; second-place winners will receive $50 Visa gift cards. Workshops will be available for all ages, children and adults. For more information, email Stella Robinette at

• THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23RD: In honor of Black History Month, East Tennessee State University’s Mary B. Martin School of the Arts will host Jeff Obafemi Carr at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 23 at the V.A. Memorial Theatre stage in Johnson City. Carr’s one-man play, “How Blak Kin Eye Bee?” will feature Carr portraying a full cast of seven true-to-life characters who take audiences on a funny, touching and thought-provoking journey of discovering what it means to be African-American in today’s world. The 90-minute play features music, multimedia and audience participation. Tickets are $5 for students; $15 for seniors; and $20 for general admission. For more information, or to order tickets, call (423) 439-8587 or e-mail

Voices of Praise, Maryville College
• SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25TH: South Central Kingsport Community Development, Inc. presents 2012 COMMUNITY UNITY DAY, 5PM, at the Nancy Pridemore Little Theater, Dobyns-Bennett High School, 1200 Legion Drive, Kingsport. The event is free of charge. Entertainment: VOP (Voices of Praise) from Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee; TCB (Tri-Cities Blessed); Full Gospel Mission Church #2 Choir and Praise Dancers from Greeneville;
Kingsley United Methodist Church from Kingsport; Soloist Will McClintock; Hayden Thompson from the Bethel A.M.E. Zion Church, Kingsport performing a Gospel Mime; and Eddie Knight of Greeneville, reciting the poem "Two Halves."