Saturday, December 26, 2009





201 WELBOURNE (corner of Millard)


(New Year's Eve)


Thursday, December 3, 2009



Saturday, November 28, 2009

NAACP Freedom Banquet in Johnson City

The Johnson City Washington County NAACP Branch hosted their annual Freedom Fund Banquet at Carver Recreation Center on Saturday November 21.
Over 200 Guest enjoyed an evening of great food, entertainment, and inspiring words from outstanding speakers.

To see the picture slideshow of the event, please click here.

The evening started out with Mr. Will Rhea introducing John Russaw who presided over the event. Rev. Dr. Calvin Crocker gave the invocation, followed by Johnathan Radford with the welcome.

Music selections were professionally done by Melvin and Emma Conley. Johnson City's own Heartbeats brought down the house with their Mowtown Moves.

A prayer for the nation was given by Elder Mark Redd. President Joyce Goines and Vice-President Ralph Davis gave out awards to business and individuals for their dedication to the Community and the NAACP.

The Guest Speaker for the evening was Gloria J. Sweet-Love President Tennessee State Conference (NAACP).

The 2010 Debutantes also made an appearance at the Banquet.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Educator Thomas Harville to be honored in Elizabethton


By John Thompson
Elizabethton Bureau Chief

ELIZABETHTON — Thomas Harville has enjoyed a long list of accomplishments in his 94 years and he will certainly enjoy the honor he receives Saturday night when he is inducted into the Elizabethton/Carter County Educators Hall of Fame.
Throughout his remarkable career, Harville has been a man of faith. He always demonstrated great faith in God, in himself and in his students. That faith allowed him to see remarkable, seemingly impossible accomplishments many times in his long life.

He began his life on the Fourth of July 1915 in Plantersville, Ala., near Selma, the son of a tenant farmer. His parents had no formal education, but Harville said his father wanted him to get an education if possible. That was not always possible. The family moved to Harlan County, Ky., shortly after an incident in which a man chased 11-year-old Thomas and his 14-year-old sister Willie Nell as they were walking their normal 2.5-mile walk home from school one day. Harville thinks the man intended to rape his sister and kill him.

Harville thrived at East Bentham School in Harlan County even though he had to be put in the third grade as an 11-year-old because of the spotty education he had received in Alabama. That turned out to be somewhat of a blessing because the school only went through the 10th grade when he enrolled, but 11th and 12th grades were added during his time there and he became one of the first seven to graduate from the school in 1936. He wanted to continue his education, but his parents had no money during the depths of the Great Depression. Harville said he was going anyway. He told them “I am going by the grace of God. I just believe God’s grace and mercy will get me through.”

After completing his two years at Morristown College, Harville transferred to West Virginia College to complete his bachelor’s degree. His last year was a struggle, because at the beginning of the year his father suffered a stroke in the mines and died. His mother received a $1,000 payment from the coal mine company, but Harville refused to take any of the money, telling his mother to use the money to meet her needs and those of his younger brother. After graduation in 1940, Harville returned to Harlan County, where he was offered a teaching position. He soon began taking graduate courses in the summer, first at the University of Chicago and then at the University of Kentucky.

While taking a course under Dr. Lucille Lurry at Kentucky in 1958, Harville heard her give some advice that would change his life. She told her class that if they were teaching their classes the same way they were taught 25 years ago, they were out of step with the educational process. He took that to heart and when he returned to class at East Benham he told his students what Lurry had said and told them they were going to help him teach a better way. After recovering from the shock, the students came up with the idea to learn by creating a mural on the school wall. The mural would be on “The Exploration of the United States.”

After obtaining permission from the superintendent, the students began to conduct research on the history of each of the 50 states. The students wrote to every state capital, chambers of commerce and libraries throughout the nation. All of the research and planning was done by the students under his direction. Before long, the whole school was involved in the project. It was such a success that the Harlan County superintendent of the schools had the students to explain the method to all the other social studies teachers in the county.

When one of the social studies teachers asked the students how they had benefitted from the method, Harville said one of the boys stood up and said, “one thing about it, when this project began, I had no interest whatsoever in social studies and hardly anything else. But when we’re put on our own and responsible for getting a unit of work together, all of us students found that the teacher meant that we had to do it and we got busy and planned it. This kind of teaching has meant more to me than any I have received.” News of the successful method soon reached T.A. Dugger Jr., the superintendent of the Elizabethton City School System. In 1960, he invited Harville to come to the city’s segregated Douglas School.

Not long after he arrived at Douglas, he saw a serious problem. The fifth and sixth grade students were a year and a half behind the other city school students in English and science. Harville had long endured receiving substandard material and funding, but he would not tolerate his students trailing so far behind. He immediately went to East Tennessee State University and found help in Professor Madison Byar.

Byar encouraged him to spend time reading in the library to find an answer. After spending many hours there, Harville found his answer: team teaching. He told Dugger’s successor as superintendent, J. Howard Bowers, who endorsed the plan. Soon, teachers, students and parents were sold on the plan. Members of the community were also brought in who could provide assistance.

The results became apparent when the state report cards came out. The students in the white schools still had higher scores, but the students at Douglas had shown much greater gains than the whites over the year. The experiment continued to be successful until an unexpected event took place in 1970, the Elizabethton schools were integrated. Harville was asked to become assistant principal at Elizabethton High School, but he decided to accept an invitation from Marjorie Cardwell to become director of in-service at Greene Valley Developmental Center.

While in that position, Harville was asked if he could suggest a way to get some of the residents more involved and disciplined. After praying about it, Harville said he came up with a suggestion to organize a basketball team to compete against the other county schools. It was the first time students from other schools had a chance to interact with Greene Valley. The arrival of the big yellow buses sent a thrill through the campus and the residents would provide warm greetings.

Because of the team, the center had to decide on a team name and mascot. They chose to become the Greene Valley Green Dragons. There were soon cheerleaders cheering, often cheering the opposing team’s goals as well as their own. After the successful year, Harville got a phone call from Elizabethton’s new superintendent, Mack Pierce. He told Harville they were getting ready to open a new high school and they wanted him to be the principal.

He said he was reluctant at first because he was enjoying his frequent trips to Washington, D.C., that came with being in-service director at Greene Valley, but he finally agreed. Once again he found ways to make improvements. He led the effort to develop a student handbook and made changes in curriculum, once again enlisting the help of Dr. Byar. His efforts in improving curriculum led to his appointment as the coordinator of curriculum throughout the school system before his retirement in

Harville has remained busy during his long years of retirement and his latest efforts have been devoted to writing a book about his life and work called “Divine Guidance.” The writing has been finished and he is now searching for a publisher. When asked about the title, Harville paraphrased Psalms 127, “unless God builds it, they labor in vain.” He said that was one of the foundations of his work, along with the belief that “if you give students the opportunity to think for themselves, they will surprise you with what they will accomplish.”

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Price Public School to host its sixth Soul Food Dinner


Menu will include beef brisket, pinto beans, cornbread, slaw, collard greens, cabbage, sweet potato casserole, buttered potatoes, corn, iced tea and a wide assortment of desserts.


ROGERSVILLE — Food is a big part of our heritage, and as Heritage Days begins in Rogersville on Friday, visitors will have an opportunity to experience some good old-fashioned American “soul food.”
For the sixth consecutive year, the Price Public School Community Center (PPSCC) and Swift Museum are hosting a Soul Food Dinner on Friday night as Rogersville’s Heritage Days festival kicks off.
The event will be held at the Price Public School on Hasson Street — which for decades was Rogersville’s segregated African-American school.
Thanks to donations and untold hours of volunteer work, the old school has been reborn as a community center and museum with artifacts from the old Swift College and high school, which had its campus nearby.
PPSCC Director Stella Gudger said this year’s soul food menu will include beef brisket, pinto beans, cornbread, slaw, collard greens, cabbage, sweet potato casserole, buttered potatoes, corn, iced tea and a wide assortment of desserts.
“Nothing is coming out of the can,” Gudger said. “It’s all cooked from scratch with fresh ingredients. I guarantee you, it is a wonderful meal, and hopefully everyone will try to make it.”
The American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Post 231 will do all the cooking.
The price per meal is a taxdeductible donation of $25 per person. Last year, 180 people were served at the Soul Food D i n n e r.
“I like to tell people, you’re not paying for your meal,” Gudger said. “It’s a donation. The meal is a bonus.”
Tickets are being sold in advance at the PPSCC and at U.S. Bank in Rogersville through 2 p.m. Friday, but Gudger said walk-ins are welcome.
There will be four serving shifts beginning at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the PPSCC dining room, and Gudger said carryouts are also available. In fact, Gudger said she’d already received an order from local onduty police officers who will be having soul food carry-outs that night.
All money raised will go toward the PPSCC daily operations, as well as to help fund some projects the community center is currently working on.
The Tennessee Valley Authority has partnered with the community center on its current main project, to upgrade the Swift Museum.
TVA recently donated furniture, architectural plans and $1,000 toward the project, but Gudger said more funding is needed to bring the plans to fruition.
The museum upgrade includes a wall-sized photo of the old Swift College building, which closed in 1965 and was subsequently demolished, as well as a flat-screen TV that will show a video of former Swift students sharing their memories of the historic facility.
TVA is also helping with the development of a fifth-grade curriculum that will eventually be used for school field trips to the museum.
In conjunction with the Soul Food Dinner the PPSCC is also selling commemorative engraved bricks that will be placed at an entrance to the building.
For more information about the Soul Food Dinner or the commemorative brick sale, contact the PPSCC at 921-3888.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bone Marrow Drive in Johnson City Reaches Out to Minorities



JOHNSON CITY — Andrew Dover has been fighting leukemia since April. In order to beat it, he needs a bone marrow transplant, but a bone marrow match has been tough to come by because Dover is black.

“They said it’s a 25 percent chance that I’ll find a match,” Dover said.
Blacks make up just 8 percent of the national marrow registry, but officials with the National Marrow Donor Program are working to change that figure. The Cooperative Appalachian Marrow Program will hold a donor registration drive Saturday at Carver Recreation Center in Johnson City on behalf of Dover, with a goal of reaching as many minority donors as possible.
“We’re still looking for diversity in the registry. If you’re a minority or mixed race, you just don’t have the chance that the Caucasian patients have,” said Linda Hilton, co-coordinator for the Cooperative Appalachian Marrow Program. “We do a drive on behalf of an individual because it does show that there’s a need, even in our own community.”
Individuals who register at Saturday’s event will be entered into the national registry to help any of the 10,000 people who must look for a transplant match outside their own family each year. Because tissue type is inherited genetically, a patient is most likely to find a match within his or her own ethnic group.
Patients like Dover have a hard time finding matches not only because there are so few blacks in the registry, but also because there is much genetic diversity within the black community itself. According to the National Marrow Donor Program, “Those who migrated out of Africa have gone to many places all over the globe. As a result, African-Americans are 50 percent more genetically diverse than those of European-American heritage.”
Myths about bone marrow donation and transplantation are common and frequently keep eligible donors from entering the registry. Some people don’t realize that the only thing required to enter the registry is a cheek swab. “We do cheek swabs to get the DNA testing that we need,” Hilton said. That information is stored in the National Marrow Donor Program Registry until a match is found. The DNA information obtained from potential donors is kept under strict security and is not shared with any other agency, Hilton said. Some people fear that the donation process is painful, but Hilton pointed out that when bone marrow is extracted from the donor’s hip bone, the donor is under general anesthesia and feels no pain. There is often residual soreness in the lower back and hip area afterward, but the donor is usually able to return to work within a week.
All symptoms usually disappear within three weeks, and the healthy bone marrow grows back within four to six weeks. Some people do not enter the registry simply because they don’t think there is actually a need for donors. This could not be further from the truth, Hilton said. Although some patients are able to find bone marrow matches within their own families, 70 percent do not have a family match and must rely on the registry.
Saturday’s bone marrow registry drive is sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. The event will last from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. For more information visit or call (866) 680-0137.

Friday, September 4, 2009

New Zion Faith Center Event - Johnson City



“ LADIES WORKOUT “ Carver Recreation Center

“ Ministering the Word “

2:00 PM REV. E.E. WIDBY SR. work shop on establishing a “ Living Trust. “

3:00 PM SISTER ROSE BLANTON workshop on “ Healthcare “

“ Ministering the Word “

5:45 PM “ DINNER “ served in dining area.

6:45 PM REV. SCOTTIE SEXTON workshop on “ Blood borne pathegenes “

7:45 PM MS. CONNIE BAKER “ Grants for home repair “

St. Paul AME Church Event - Johnson City

Grace Temple Gathering - Johnson City

Monday, August 31, 2009

TVA helping Swift Museum Preserve Memories of Old Rogersville School


‘We want to preserve all this. We don’t want it to be lost.’ — Stella Gudger

ROGERSVILLE — The Tennessee Valley Authority is helping Rogersville’s Swift Museum preserve memories of the city’s segregated Swift College and Price Public School for generations to come.

Last year the TVA donated $2,000 to the Price Public Community Center and Swift Museum, located in the refurbished Price Public School building on Hasson Street.

Last Thursday, however, TVA volunteers got more hands on, delivering donations of furniture and $1,000 to the center, as well as professional architecture plans for a proposed new design of the museum.

Swift Museum contains artifacts and photos from the old Swift College, which was located on the current grounds of the Hawkins County School central office in Rogersville from 1883-1955. The college later became the segregated Swift High School which closed in 1963, and the building was subsequently demolished.

Vyrone Cravakas, who is TVA’s manager of diversity management based in Knoxville, was among the TVA employees who came to the Swift Museum Thursday to lend a hand.

“Today was a day of service, and basically it’s a shift in focus from in our diversity efforts to get away from corporate contributions and focus more on community involvement,” Cravakas told the Times-News Thursday.

Jeff Bobo —

Several volunteers from the Tennessee Valley Authority visited Rogersville Thursday, August 27, 2009 to help give the Price Public Community Center and Swift Museum a donation of furniture and $1,000. The TVA also donated architectural plans for a redesign of the museum.

Cravakas added that he is very impressed with the museum, which he described as “a testimony to not only the rich history of this area, but also a testament to the pride that the individuals who attended this school still have.”

TVA architects compiled several drawings for the Swift Museum redesign and presented them Thursday to PPCC Director Stella Gudger. The TVA volunteers also carried in donated furniture and set it up in the museum as dictated by the drawings.

There were other aspects of the proposed redesign which will have to be accomplished at a later date including installation of a blown up photograph of the old college building, which will take up an entire wall.

Another wall will receive a large timeline which follows the significant historical events of Swift College as they coincided with significant events in the history of African-Americans.

Although the college closed its doors in 1955, many of its alumni are still living and return often for reunions or just to visit and reminisce. Gudger said another addition to the museum will be a flat screen TV which will play a continuous loop of video testimony from former Swift students about their experiences.

Ultimately Gudger hopes to make the museum an annual field trip destination for Hawkins County fifth-graders.

“We want to give back to the community and we want people to really know our history and our culture,” Gudger said. “We want to preserve all this. We don’t want it to be lost.”

Completion of the overall redesign is contingent on fund raising. Gudger said the PPCC is currently selling commemorative bricks which will be placed on a wall outside the south entrance. For more information about buying a brick contact Gudger at 921-3888.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bland High School Reunion: "I Got My Education, You Got Yours to Get, So You'd Better Walk the Chalk Line"

Gilbert Pride remembers that saying quite well, as he walks among his fellow graduates and alumni of Bland High School in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.

The reunion was held the weekend of August 7th, 8th and 9th, bringing folks back to the coal-mining mountains of Southwest Virginia one more time.

To see pictures of the gathering, click Bland Reunion Picnic.

"At Bland, you had to walk that chalk line," Pride says. "That was just the way they taught..everybody had a goal, and that was to be on the Honor Role. We didn't have the television influence that kids have nowadays. I remember finishing my lessons at 9 PM, and then you went to bed. The home, the school and the church worked together back then, to form a moral fiber. All the adults had to say was I"m gonna tell your mama...I'm gonna tell your daddy. If they had to give you a whipping, you can count on another one when you got home."

James Bland High School opened in 1954, as a combination of Bland, Central High School in Appalachia, and the Appalachia Training School, which both closed. The Bland building now houses the Big Stone Gap Town offices.

"There was a need for a larger black school in the early 50's," says graduate Richard Lomax and chief organizer of the 2009 Bland High School Reunion. "Blacks were scattered all over Wise County, and spent many hours on the roads to and from school. But once we got to Bland, that was it. Our teachers loved us and we loved them. It was wonderful."

Lomax says he had already graduated by the time Bland closed for integration in 1965. "I was worked at Eastman at the time. Integration was something they did not teach you back then, nobody was really ready for it. Some of the Bland teachers were actually kept from teaching, and that was sad. Those teachers had taught all of us 'one-on-one.' If we ever went to another school, well we'd already had chemistry, algebra and all that stuff. We got it in the black schools."

Pride, a native of the coal-mining camp in Stonega, Virginia, graduated from Bland in 1960, and also spent 3 months attending Douglass High School in Kingsport during his freshman year, remembering that "I stayed with Reverend and Mrs. Edge on Lincoln Street." When he went back to Bland, he remembers several teachers very well.

"I always remember Mrs. Murphy, she was our English teacher, and she took an interest in all her students, just an exceptional teacher to learn from," he recalls. "All of the teachers would invite you into their homes, they did special activities for you. Near the end of the school year, there would be parties at their homes."

He says those teachers crossed many bridges, trying to keep the students out of the 'school of hard knocks.' "But some of them were not satisfied until they went to the college of adversity," he says.

"I did get a paddling in school once," Pride remembers. "I got into a fight on the bus, then there was silence. Nobody said anything. You got dismissed off the bus if you said anything after a fight. Somebody did something, and I hauled off and hit 'em, and it was reported to Principal Shorter that I was fighting. He always settled things with three paddle licks in the hand, and that was it. I never fought any more."

Many students remember Principal Shorter as having little patience with students he KNEW were capable of doing better.

"In his mind, if something was simple, then you just missed the concept," Pride says. "In his algebra and geometry classes, I used to get tickled at him when he would say 'now, I gotta watch these girls because they can memorize without understanding.' Well I was a BOY and I couldn't understand a word he was saying. I would go to someone and ask them how to do something, and I'd memorize every word they said. Then, I'd go to the board and explain it, and it would sound so good, and Professor Shorter would smile real big. I had no plausible concept of what was going on, but in HIS mind, it was clear."

"If he only knew."

Emma (Craven) Flannagan, a Central graduate, remembers Professor Shorter well. "He, Professor Ryan and the others inspired us to do well," she says. "Professor Shorter would call the boys 'muleheads,' but not the girls. He called them that, because they wouldn't behave."

"He would always get real frustrated with the boys," remembers Pride. "He'd call out 'mulehead, mulehead, what's wrong with you?' Another schoolwide form of discipline was having to write something on the chalkboard 50 or 100 times. Sometimes, he'd make you write something just to repetitive, because he knew if you wrote it that many times, you'd always remember it. I wasn't an 'A' student, but he and the other teachers always made learning a challenge."

Athletic competions always brought out the school and community spirit. Bland High School was part of the Tri-State Athletic Conference.

"All our competitors were tough, but our biggest competitor was Langston High School in Johnson City," Pride remembers. "They always had a good football team, and I remember playing them once for the Tri-State Conference title. We got a touchdown that put us ahead of them and somehow or other, the refs said we had an ineligible man in the backfield and they took the touchdown away from us. Although we didn't like anybody in the conference, Langston was our arch-enemy."

"If we could beat Langston, we could beat anybody."

"Some of those competitions were fierce," remembers Lomax, "Among our teams were Douglass in Bristol, Slater in Bristol, Douglass in Kingsport, Langston in Johnson City, Clem in Greeneville, Douglas in Elizabethton, Rosenwald in Kentucky. Anybody in the Tri-State Conference could have played the white teams in Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky and beaten them. Badly. That's why they never would let us play 'em. It would have been something to have the black team embarrass the white team."

When Bland High School closed, its athletic program suffered the same indignation that many of its Tri-State Conference brethern did. Some of its athletic trophies somehow disappeared into the sunset.

"Our trophies went to the Girl Scout House here in Big Stone Gap," says Lomax, "and the Headstart kids got ahold of them. They played with them, shared them with other kids, and some of them got broken up and tossed out. Over the years, we have been able to salvage many of them, and we hope to display them again someday."

Bland High School has been celebrating reunions with its graduates and Central-Appalachia Training graduates, since 1973. "One reunion in 1981, we had 452 alumni present," says Lomax. "That year, we had to take our stage down and make tables from it, we had so many people.

"This year, it is hard for me," Pride tearfully recalls, "because I lost one of my best friends and didn't even know it until I got here. If I had just gotten on the Internet, maybe I would have found out before. But just getting back here with these people, is worth it. They're my family and I love them. These reunions are important because of the friendships they renew."

"It's the heart.. the love," he says. "We're all at the age where we've got grandchildren, and we're swapping pictures. This is my golden anniversary, since I graduated 49 years ago. Others, even further back than that."

The sense of urgency in continuing the get-togethers every two years, is echoed by all of the other Bland alumni.

"It's heavenly coming back to these mountains," says Mrs. Flannagan. "A few months after graduation, I left, married and moved to Pennsylvania. But just to come back and see friends, family and these mountains, just makes you appreciate the kind of close life that you had, the kind that makes friends part of your family."

"I'd like to keep these reunions going," Lomax says, "although many people left the mountains years ago because there were no jobs. Those jobs are slowly coming back, and I'd like to have the alumni come on back home to live someday."

"If I win the lottery, the first thing I'm gonna do is bring 'em all back home."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bland High School 2009 Reunion!




7 - 8 PM: Registration, Holiday Inn, Norton, VA (551 Highway 58 East)

Business Session Immediately After Registration
Singing of the School Songs
Karoke Competition
9 PM - 1 PM: DJ and Music


11 AM: School Reunion Picnic, Bullitt Park, corner of West 3rd Street and Wyandotte,
Big Stone Gap (hot dogs, chips, etc.)

Individual Homes for Dinner

9 PM - 1 PM: Reunion Dance, Holiday Inn, Norton,THEME: "Harlem Nights"
Dance Contest. Best Dressed Contest


Memorial Service, First Baptist Church, 108 Wood Ave E, Big Stone Gap.
(KFC hosts the meal for reunioners at the church)


Monday, June 29, 2009

Swift Junior College-High School Reunion

The 2009 Swift Reunion Pictures are posted here. Please click below on the events and once there, just click on the pictures themselves to enlarge them:

Swift Business Meeting

Swift's Bus Trip to Historic Jonesborough

Swift Reunion Picnic

Swift Reunion Banquet

Stories from the Swift Reunion Celebration will be posted here in the next few days.

Area Black Athletes Flash Back

Phil Hoard


Bill Lane is a Times-News sports writer. E-mail him at

Born: Aug. 22, 1946 Where: Kingsport High Schools/College:
Swift, Church Hill/East Tennessee State University


Any concerns Phil Hoard had about breaking the color barrier at Church Hill in 1963 when integration brought changes to the high school level were eased by the friendly reception he got from students. He was the Panthers’ first black athlete.

“It was just a formality,’’ Hoard said. “Everybody was very nice. I always figured the Lord had a thing for me to be a go-between. The cheerleaders greeted me wanting to know which sport I played.’’ His reply: “Baseball, basketball and football.’’ The bus route to Swift in Rogersville from Hoard’s home in Hawkins County’s Rotherwood community was 35 miles long. The transfer to Church Hill cut his travel to 10 miles. Hoard, a 6-foot, 180-pound guard, averaged 33 points a game as a sophomore basketball player at Swift, going against the likes of Johnson City Langston standouts Kenny Hamilton and Johnny Russaw. This came on the heels of his 17 per game clip as a freshman. His shooting range was 22 to 25 feet. He blazed in 54 points in a game against Dante, Va., and twice hit 45 against Newport Tanner. Five times he scored more than 30.
“We didn’t win many games, but we could run with anybody,’’ Hoard said. “Our team was comparatively small, averaging just 5-11 in height.’’
His scoring was reduced considerably at Church Hill, which had a more deliberate offense. But Hoard was a nice fit with teammates Carl Seaver, Roger Montgomery, Bobby Tranbarger, Bill Christian, Onzie Woods, David Morton, Jerry Stubblefield, Jerry Lifford, Larry Thurman and Johnny Adams.
Hoard sat on the bench a lot in the first 11 games before coach Oran Blackburn decided it was time for him to play. The Panthers lost their first seven contests, won the next seven and finished with a respectable record.
The team scoring was more balanced than it had been at Swift. Hoard, also a dominant rebounder, averaged 12 points as a junior and 13 as a senior.
“Coach Blackburn took me under his wing and was a father figure to me,’’ Hoard said. “He’d go out of his way to give me a ride home when I needed one after practice.’’
He rates Sullivan’s John Shelton, Lynn View’s Tom Roach and Ketron’s Dale Burns as the best players he faced.
Hoard was a utility player on the football squad. “Coach (Jay) Salley and I had an understanding that my playing time would be limited,’’ he said. “I came in as a junior and there were players who’d been there a while.’’
He kicked off and played sparingly at fullback, offensive end and linebacker.
“I was assigned to carry the ball in a thirdand-1 situation against Ketron,’’ he said. “I received bite marks on my leg and lost some blood. I didn’t get the first down.’’
Football was nothing new to Hoard. He had been a backfield starter on the Swift varsity as an eighth-grader.
“We played in a league where some of the opponents’ players were 23 or 24 years old,’’ he said. “Our program was dropped in November 1960 after a Jefferson City player died as the result of an injury suffered playing against us. They tried to start the program back up in 1962 but never got it off the ground. Nobody had the will to play again.’’
Baseball turned out to be his best sport. Hoard had been a terror in the youth leagues, sometimes pitching doubleheaders. At age 14, he appeared in three games on the same day during a tournament at Morristown, winning two and saving another. Spectators came from miles around to see Hoard, referred to as “the pitcher from the country,’’ throw the ball.
Blackburn was Church Hill’s baseball coach as well. He played Hoard at eight different positions. In a 22-7 win over Rogersville, Hoard drove in eight runs despite a disputed call on a home run that was ruled foul.
Pitching was his forte. Accurate radar guns were still a thing of the future but it was estimated that his fastball occasionally reached 90 mph.
Hoard twice outdueled Sullivan’s Alvin Sells, who became a No. 2 draft choice of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Church Hill won those games 4-1 and 4-3. Hoard’s win-loss records were 7-3 and 7-3, with earned run averages of 2.10 and 2.05 and eight strikeouts per game.
“One batter who gave me plenty of trouble was Lynn View’s Roy Waye,’’ Hoard said. “He hit one ball that I don’t think they ever found.’’
Morehead State offered him an academic scholarship but Hoard walked on to play basketball and baseball at ETSU. He managed to shoot a few rounds with Hamilton, Russaw, Tommy Woods and Bill Wilson before his plans changed abruptly. He received a broken ankle and a hand injury in pickup games at Kingsport’s Douglass gym.
“I thought I would have a career,’’ he said, “but sometimes it doesn’t happen.’’
He did get to play on a championship team at the Air Force base in Tucson, Ariz. During a 10-month tour of duty in Vietnam, Hoard was exposed to Agent Orange and still has health issues because of it.


Hoard, who completed an apprenticeship in maintenance at Eastman Chemical Co., retired at age 54 after 32 years of service. He is married to the former Linda Lyons of Church Hill. They have three grown children — Lynda, Sherman and Walter. Sherman played on a state-ranked basketball team at Dobyns-Bennett. Walter is serving in the military. The Hoards’ have five grandchildren. Phil is a cousin of former Tennessee High and University of Kentucky basketball star Derrick Hord, whose last name is spelled differe n t l y.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

WWII Veterans from Johnson City Share Grim Memories

NET News Service

JOHNSON CITY — War is much more than notable battles mentioned in history books.
Of course, war has tales of terror, loss, carnage, destruction and other terrible things that happen in the heat of epic battles. But war also takes supplies. Bullets, bombs, parts, gasoline, food and other material must be sent to the front and then doled out as needed. Soldiers serve this function while also facing the enemy in any combat zone today as in the past.

Allen Harris, 89, and Hugh Collie, 85, both of Johnson City, were such soldiers in World War II. Harris was a mess sergeant in the South Pacific. Collie was a buck sergeant with the Red Ball Express in Europe.
“I remember it was a terrible war,” Harris said.
His first experience in the war was in a medical sanitation company, or graves registration. When he arrived at a staging point on an island in the Pacific, he was ordered to unload wounded and dead soldiers being shipped out of the war zone. Some soldiers were blind, others had only one arm or no arms. Harris unloaded soldiers that were burned and missing legs and other parts.
“And that was pretty gruesome for a young fellow,” Harris said. “You know, unloading dead bodies and seeing all of the wounded in every shape you could possibly think of.”
Another lasting impression Harris got from WWII was the smell of death that hung constantly in the battlefield. “That was the main thing you had to get used to,” he said. “And I always associate that smell with war, because once we got out in the field and you’d run across bodies that had been there for a time and they were in different stages of decomposition... I don’t have any kind of pleasant memories of the war to recite.”
The Japanese were terrifying fighters and uncanny masters at camouflage, Harris said. He had to develop a sixth sense to be able to know when an enemy was nearby.
Harris was a mess sergeant. As such he was in charge of feeding the men he was attached to. To do that he had to protect his rations from Japanese attack. He said he would have to arrange the food dump so it appeared as though it was insignificant, placing no guards near it because Japanese soldiers would sneak close enough to lob grenades into the camp. One of their main targets was the food supply.
Even though he was in charge of the food, he did not get out of combat operations. He was part of a group that would patrol the perimeter of camp. Most of the time he was assigned to night patrol because of his duties as a cook. He said the Japanese would set traps for American soldiers.
“You couldn’t tell the earth had been disturbed,” Harris said. “You’re walking through those little fine leaves, you couldn’t tell. And suddenly they step into that trap cover and down they’d go. And they’d have these sharpened spikes that would spit you like you would put a chicken on a rotisserie.”
He saw this happen several times.
Harris said the only way he came back from the war was by the grace of God. Collie, his friend and neighbor, shares the same sentiment about his war experience in Europe.
Hugh Collie got drafted in 1942 and went into the Army in 1943 after graduating from Langston High School. He went to Europe and served as a truck driver in the 3415th Quartermaster Company.
“We hauled gas for what they called the Red Ball,” he said. “We hauled gas for (Gen. George) Patton. You don’t hear too much about the Red Ball, but if it hadn’t been for the Red Ball, Patton would have run out of fuel, too, just like the Germans did.”
He was a buck sergeant in charge of 24 men driving trucks. They hauled everything needed to wage war.
“It was dangerous because a lot of times airplanes would come by and strafe our column,” Collie said.
Most of the time Collie would use the back roads that were more out of sight. At night he would sleep in cemeteries for safety.
He left Europe after Germany fell to prepare for an invasion of Japan, but Japan surrendered after atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So he was shipped back to France and got attached to a graves registration.
“We had to go out and pick up bodies,” he said. “And a lot of them had been out two or three months and you’d go to pick them up and the flesh would come from their bones. We had gloves and things on, but it was awful.”
Collie and Harris both think that war is not worth waging. Their experiences showed them what a terrible effect combat has on hum a n i t y.
“I don’t think it benefits anybody... even the winner in the long run,” Collie said.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Upcoming Marriage Class


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pennington Church in Property Dispute With Former Conference

The conference says it owns the property because of a trust clause signed by the church’s trustees in the 1940s.



JONESVILLE — Members of Well’s Chapel Church in Pennington Gap say they are fighting to keep what is rightfully theirs.
At a hearing last Wednesday in Lee County Circuit Court, the Well’s Chapel Board of Trustees filed a complaint to keep the church’s former governing conference — the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in America — from selling its house of worship.

David Grace —
Shown is Well’s Chapel Church in Pennington Gap.

Because of the complaint, the hearing was continued and rescheduled for May 26.
The two parties were originally in court because of a petition, filed by the A.M.E. Zion Church in early April, to advertise the sale of Well’s Chapel Church of Pennington Gap.
The conference says it owns the property because of a trust clause signed by the church’s trustees in the 1940s.
Sandra Mitchell, a 44-year member of Well’s Chapel who is on the church’s board of trustees, said the congregation believes it is the rightful owner of the property, regardless of what the A.M.E. Zion Church claims.
“We’re fighting to keep the church because we feel like it belongs to us,” Mitchell said. “Everything that’s been done and all the work that’s been done on it, it’s been done by us. The conference hasn’t done it. We’ve asked them to help us, but we’ve never received anything.”
A hierarchical religious organization, the A.M.E. Zion Church contends its Book of Discipline contains a trust clause stating that local churches and congregations that own property do not own it for themselves, but for the conference instead.
In addition to claiming ownership, the petition, which was filed by a trustee appointed by the Mid-Atlantic II Episcopal District, contends that Well’s Chapel accepted pastors appointed by the conference and used its “names, customs and polity” in such a way “as to be known to the community as part of that denomination” prior to its split from the organization.
Calls to the Mid-Atlantic II district, which oversees the A.M.E. Zion Church’s East Tennessee and Virginia Conference, were not immediately returned.

David Grace —
Pastor Charles Robinson, front, poses with members of the Well’s Chapel Church in Pennington Gap. From left, are: Sandra Mitchell, Jill Carson, Ron Carson, Shirley Taylor, Roy Carson and Raily Taylor. Church members believe they are the owners of the property.

Jill Carson, who is also on the Well’s Chapel Board of Trustees, said one of the main reasons the church — which has roughly 20 active members — split from the conference was money.
“In 2003 we decided we had to drop out of the conference because we couldn’t afford to remain in it,” she said. “The church has been here since 1940. It needed a roof, it needed repairs, but we could not continue to pay those huge annual assessments, pay the pastor and do what we needed to do to maintain it. So, it was with much prayer, and discussion, that we came to our decision.”
The complaint to quit title, filed by attorney Joe Wolfe on behalf of the Well’s Chapel board, objects to the sale and says that the property was originally conveyed through a constructive trust to the “A.M.E. Zion Church of Pennington Gap, Va.” for local use.
It further asks the court to determine the actual ownership of the property through a jury trial and questions the legality of the conference-appointed trustee tasked with handling the sale, asking for trustees that “hold the property for the benefit of the local congregation of Pennington Gap as stated in the deed” to be appointed instead.
The complaint goes on to state that the A.M.E. Zion Church failed to provide monetary assistance of any type since Well’s Chapel joined in 1901 and lists numerous expenses the congregation paid.
It also contests some of the claims in the petition, stating that Well’s Chapel was associated with the A.M.E. Zion Church in name only and that a Book of Discipline was never provided and the congregation was never advised it was subjected to it.
In addition, the complaint claims the conference did not have “clean hands” in its dealings with the congregation because it had allegedly appointed a pastor with a prior felony conviction.
Although a decision won’t be reached until the end of May at the earliest, Carson said losing the church would not only impact the members of the congregation, but the community as well.
“This is family, it’s family property that has been passed down from generation to generation,” Carson said. “There are two black churches in this community, one is a Baptist church and one is this one, and it’s real important, no matter how we look at it.
“To take that away would be huge. It would have a tremendous adverse impact on our community. And the contributions that this small black community has made to this church are tremendous.”
Until the case is settled though, Mitchell said members of the Well’s Chapel congregation will rely on their faith and hope for the best.
“I’ve been in it all of my life, and it doesn’t look now like it did then because of all of the renovations and improvements, but it’s still the same place and same values,” Mitchell said. “We want to keep it, but I know God’s in charge of every decision and however he wants it, that’s how it’s going to be.”

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friends Mourn Death Of Longtime Virginia High Basketball Coach, Ballard Lee


By Allen Gregory
Sports Writer / Bristol Herald Courier
Published: April 30, 2009

Gentle giant. Role model. Pioneer. Those were just some of the terms used to describe Ballard Lee.
The former long-time Virginia High boys basketball coach and star King College athlete died late Wednesday night at age 64. The exact cause of death has not been determined.

Jim Norton, who served as assistant coach to Lee at VHS, said he was deeply saddened when he heard the news Thursday morning while on a trip to Alabama.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Norton said. “Ballard was a great coach and an even better person. He was like a brother to me, and I will miss him.”

Lee, who retired from coaching in 1990, earned respect throughout the Mountain Empire as an athlete, coach and mentor.
After starring in football and basketball at now defunct Douglass High School, the tall, muscular Lee was recruited to play defensive end at Tennessee State University in Nashville, but ended up serving a 13-month tour in Vietnam with the Marines.

“Ballard was around 6-foot-6 and 220-pounds, and I remember him having those huge forearms when he returned from Vietnam,” Norton recalled.

Lee became just the second African-American basketball player in King College history. According to former King teammate and longtime Tennessee High basketball coach Dale Burns, Lee was an instant force in the old Volunteer State Athletic Conference from 1969-71.

“King was very fortunate to have an athlete of Ballard’s caliber,” said Burns, who played alongside Lee at King for two years. “Ballard was such a dominant player in the paint. He was the top rebounder in the conference and a great outlet passer on the fastbreak.”

Lee, who played for coach Al Nida, earned a place into the King College Athletics Hall of Fame for his basketball skills.

In 1972, Lee was named boys basketball coach at Virginia High where he enjoyed a long and successful run with the Bearcats with players such as Darryal Wilson, Mike Pender and Kevin Jessee.
Burns, now the athletic director at King College, estimates that he coached against Lee for 15 years in high school.

“Ballard was a highly respected coach, and we had some really good battles,” Burns said. “We always liked to refer to Ballard as the mayor of Bristol, Virginia.
“Ballard was a real treasure. This is just a tough day for everybody.”

Terry Caldwell coached swimming, golf and tennis when Lee was at Virginia High. Caldwell now serves as the Director of Personnel and Support Services for Bristol, Va., Public Schools.

“I’m broken-hearted right now,” said Caldwell, who has worked in education for 32 years. “Ballard was one of the best basketball coaches Virginia High ever had, but he was much more than a coach.”
Caldwell said Lee’s reach at VHS extended far beyond the basketball court.

“Ballard was the go-to guy for many people in our school and community,” Caldwell said. “He was a great family person, an advocate for kids and a wonderful friend.”

After retiring from teaching in 2004, Lee spent several years working with youth at the Jacobs Creek Job Corps in Bristol, Tenn.

Lee was interviewed in 2006 by the Bristol Herald Courier shortly after the release of the motion picture “Glory Road.” The Walt Disney Pictures production focused on the exploits on the 1966 Texas Western basketball team which upset Kentucky for the NCAA men’s basketball championship with an all-African American starting lineup.

“Race relations in the Bristol area weren’t always the best when I was growing up, but it was better than what I saw traveling around the deep South,” said Lee. “Black athletes are now accepted, and there’s not as a much pressure on them to be the best just to earn a spot on the team.”

Norton said that Lee made a positive impression on everyone he touched.

“I don’t know if you could find a better role model than Ballard,” Norton said. “He was as good as they come.”

Current Virginia High baseball coach Mark Daniels said he cited the selfless example of Lee in a speech to his team on Thursday. Daniels played baseball and football at VHS when Lee was still coaching the Bearcats.

“It’s been a somber day for Virginia High School, that’s for sure,” Daniels said. “So many coaches over the years have relied on the friendship and wisdom of Coach Lee. He certainly had a big impact on my life.”

Funeral services for Lee will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon at Lee Street Baptist Church in Bristol, Va. A visitation is scheduled from 2-3 p.m.|(276) 645-2544

Monday, April 20, 2009


Monday, March 9, 2009


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Morehouse Summer Program - Atlanta

MOREHOUSE SUMMER PROGRAM - 10th & 11th Grade You may know someone . . . Please pass on this opportunity for our young men. . . .

Any Brothers or Sisters who have Sons, Nephews or younger brothers please read....

Morehouse Summer Program @ Morehouse College in Atlanta , GA - will be offering a Summer Institute (Project Identity) for African-American
males entering the 10th and 11th grades.

Three weeks at Morehouse - June 7 - 28
Creative Writing -
SAT Prep -
Debate -
Pre-Calculus -
Leadership development -
Enrichment activities -

$400 fee (includes meals, housing and activities).

Home >
PROJECT IDENTITY is a federally funded program designed to stimulate interest in college attendance and the awareness of college entrance requirements for African-American and other minority males attending middle school. The Project aims to help to develop and sustain the capacity of middle schools to prepare these young boys for high school and post-secondary education. By providing a network of support, particularly for the adults who influence middle school students, specifically, their counselors and families, Project Identity strives to channel and direct more minority males to higher education. Project Identity will give special attention to boys from backgrounds and communities that historically have not encouraged large numbers to pursue, enroll and succeed in post-secondary education.
The vision of Project Identity is to expose middle school male students to the best academic resources and cultural activities so that learning becomes a source of inspiration to not only pursue the college option but to do so with enthusiasm and vigor. By assisting both parents and school counselors, Project Identity will create a learning environment for participants that extends beyond the classroom.

FOR MORE INFO GO TO: Morehouse Summer Program

Briggette K. Woodard

Sunday, March 1, 2009

2009 Honoring Living History Banquet Pictures

Below is the link to view pictures from the "Honoring Living History" Breakfast Banquet, held this past Saturday in Johnson City, in honor of Bishop Aaron H. Redd, Sr.

2009 Honoring Living History

Thursday, February 26, 2009



Monday March 2, 2009

Viking Hall

Bristol, TN

The nation’s top ranked high school basketball team (Oak Hill Academy) AND the nation’s top ranked prep school team (Patterson School) in an outstanding BASKETBALL tripleheader. Over 50 future NCAA Division I players will be on display. Michael Beasley(Miami Heat), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), Rajon Rondo(Boston Celtics, Josh Smith(Atlanta Hawks), Tywon Lawson(UNC). Nolan Smith (Duke), Jordan Hill(Arizona), Brandon Jennings(Italy), Brandon Rush(Indiana Pacers), Shawne Williams(Houston Rockets, K.C. Rivers (Clemson), Sam Young(Pitt), Jeff Allen(VT), Joe Alexander(Milwaukee Bucks) and Courtney Fortson(Ark) have all played in past events.

5:30 Charis Prep (Wilson, NC) vs. Varitas Christian(Fletcher, NC)

7:00 Oak Hill Academy(Mouth of Wilson,VA) vs. Covenant Christian (Marietta, GA)

8:30 Slam Dunk Contest

8:45 Patterson School(Lenoir, NC) vs. Heat Academy (Martinsville, VA)

Advance tickets available by calling Viking Hall Box Office. Limited VIP Reserved Box Seats, sideline and baseline General Admission tickets available.

Black History Month Community Celebration

A Black History Month community celebration, recognizing individuals who have made a significant impact to the social, political and spiritual life of the Tri-Cities, will begin at 10 a.m. at the Millennium Centre, Johnson City. Bishop Aaron Redd Sr., former pastor of Grace Temple Church and current bishop of the 23rd Diocese of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, will be guest of honor. Tickets are $10 and are available at the Millennium Centre.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Kingsport Little Miss Vision "Youth In Praise" Program

Little Miss Vision Pageant
P.O.Box 7582
Kingsport, TN 37664

February 13th 2009

To Ministers and Youth Directors:

Little Miss Vision Pageant Committee is having 1st annual “Youth in Praise” program. We are asking if you will send your Youth Choir, Praise Dance Team or Youth to participate in our program. Please let us know by March 5th 2009.

If you can’t participate please send your Youth to be with us.

Program will be at Central Baptist Church, Kingsport, Tennessee, Sunday March 15th at 4:00pm. Please let us hear from you by March 5th 2009. Please call Lillian Leeper-Chairperson 423-357-6690 or Carolyn Faulkerson 423-246-1591.

Yours in Christ,
Lillian Leeper - Chairperson

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Black History at ETSU


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mrs. Amelia Rogers Passing

BIG STONE GAP, Va. — Mrs. Amelia B. Morris Rogers, 98, entered into eternal peace on Wednesday (Jan. 21, 2009) at the home of her niece, Sylvia Simpson Hutchinson.
Born to Edgar and Sophia Beatty Morris on May 22, 1910 in Jonesville, Va., she lived most of her life in Big Stone Gap, Va. The fifth of six children, she was preceded in death by sisters, Charity M. Martin, Mary M. Talford and Florence M. Simpson; and brothers, George L. Morris and Charles E. Morris, in addition to her husband, Elbert Rogers.

After graduating from high school at Swift Memorial Junior College in Rogersville, she made her living as a seamstress and in family domestic services. She met and married Elbert Rogers and, in the latter years of their lives, they resided in Bristol, Tenn. After the death of her husband, she returned to Big Stone Gap where she made her home until her death.
“Aunt Amelia” was a quiet woman who would help anyone she could and met life’s challenges with strength, fortitude and faith. She was a member of Mount Herman Presbyterian Church and of the Bristol, Va. Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star.
Mrs. Rogers are her nieces, Mrs. Sylvia S. Hutchinson (Edward R. Hutchinson, Sr.), Dr. Miriam DeLois M. Fuller, Jefferson City, Mo., Mrs. Angela M. Crockett (Russell Crockett), Philadelphia, Pa., Ms. Crystal Morris, Miami, Fla. and Mrs. Marva M. Connor, Brooklyn, N.Y.; nephews, Dr. Charles E. Morris, Jr. (Dr. Jeanne B. Morris), Normal, Ill., and Dr. Joel M. Morris (Betty S. Morris), Adelphia, Md. In addition, there is a host of grand-nieces and grand-nephews and their children.
The family wishes to express their deep appreciation for the loving care that “Aunt Amelia” received from the nurses and staff of Total Home Care Hospice, Heritage Hall Nursing Home, special cousins and friends.
The family will receive friends at Holding Funeral Home in Big Stone Gap on Monday from 1 to 3 p.m.
Aunt Amelia’s going home celebration will be conducted at 3 p.m. Monday in the funeral home chapel with the Rev. Mark Harkness of Acworth, Ga.
Interment will follow in Oakview Cemetery in Big Stone Gap.
Memorials may be sent to Mount Herman Presbyterian Church, c/o Mrs. Juanita Dinkins, 618 Powell Avenue, Big Stone Gap, Va. 24219.
Condolences may be sent to

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

•Winter weather Can’t Dim Glow From Candlelight March in Wise




WISE — On the eve of a historic presidential inauguration, a cold nose and frigid toes were merely part of the party in Wise on Monday.
Temperatures dipped toward the low end of the teens while snow flurries kissed exposed cheeks. Smiles and laughter danced to candlelight up Main Street as about 75 celebrants of Martin Luther King Jr. Day marched as well for Tuesday’s inauguration of Presidentelect Barack Obama.
“I’ve just been excited about it, just like the rest of America and the rest of the world,” said Sandra Jones, coordinator of Black History Month at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, sponsor of the 13th annual MLK Day observance and candlelight march.

David Grace —

“Martin Luther King’s dream has come to pass. Now, there are still things that need done. But the election of Barack Obama speaks volumes for America and for the world,” she said.
Jones has participated in all 13 MLK Day observances in Wise, and coordinated the last 11 events that begin with an all-comers dinner at the First Church of God, followed by the annual candlelight march to further activities at Wise Baptist Church a few blocks away. She said her brother, the late Junius Jones, who marched with Dr. King in the 1960s, would have loved what is happening in America today.
“Shoot, he would be wild,” she said. “And if possible, he would have been right in the midst (of Obama’s inauguration).”
Peggy Goulet of Big Stone Gap moved to the area in 2005 and hasn’t missed a UVa-Wise sponsored King candlelight march in Wise since.
“Oh, man. This being the first year to inaugurate a black president is a wonderful celebration of what Martin Luther King fought for and believed in,” she said. “So tonight is very special with Martin Luther King’s birthday and the inauguration together. I must say we have a lot of work to do, but by the grace of God we will arrive there at the same place. That’s what we’re working for.”
Wise Primary School fourthgrader Kristen Brickey, 9, of Wise was talking the other day with her grandmother, Pat Bevins of Wise, about Abe Lincoln, “and then we just started talking about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks and Barack Obama,” she said.
“You don’t think kids are listening,” said Bevins. “And then you find out, oh they are, all right. That’s why we’re here tonight, living history.”

Pastor Ronnie W. Collins of Kingsport, general overseer of the regional, state and district directors of protocol and international overseer of special services and program participants for the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International, was featured speaker for Monday’s program. Obama’s election and MLK Day observances seem almost ordained from on high, he said.
“We look at it as Martin Luther King’s dream now manifested. It’s something I, myself, did not think would happen in my lifetime — a black president,” Collins said. “It has come to pass as Dr. King said, that we would judge one another by the content of character rather than color of skin. And that’s exactly what happened in this election. This is just fantastic. It’s a great time, and a great day.”
Rachel Bailey, also a 9-year-old Wise Primary fourth-grader, said what she has learned about King “is that it makes me feel really good that black people took a chance to be free. What he did took until now but gave (Obama) a chance to be president.”
Rachel’s grandparents, Kathryn and John Kennedy of Wise, took her to Washington, D.C., two years ago, and she stood in the exact spot where King gave his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech.
“It was really amazing,” she said. “I can’t believe I could actually stand in a famous place. I actually dreamed of doing that.”
Other youngsters participating in Monday’s events were 6-yearold Noah Lawson and his brother and sister, 4-year-old twins Kaleb and Kayley.
“This is the first year for the twins. I’ve had Noah here before, though,” said their mother, Jessica Lawson of Wise. “With the inauguration, this is a major historical event this year. I just got certified as a teacher in Virginia, and I think it is important for our children to learn our history and why things happen.”
Jones said the local MLK Day observance has been a success for 13 straight years, but none quite so meaningful as this one.
“I think it’s grown tremendously,” she said. “There is a oneness, not just in this community but we have people come from Tennessee and Kentucky. Oh, and there is oneness all over America, all over the world tonight. Who cannot but believe that, and know that it’s true?”

Johnson City Residents Turn Out For Own Inaugural Ball

• JOHNSON CITY — Inaugural parties in Washington surely could not exceed the level of excitement inside a Johnson City party hall Tuesday night as about 650 locals gathered to celebrate what many consider the most historic moment in America. The Celebration of Hope and Change, sponsored by local Democrats, opened the doors at 6 p.m. at The Russo Orleans on Sunset Drive and was the only known organized presidential inauguration party for miles around, coordinators said. Attendees included people of all ages and political involvement. Friends Dee Hupp, Kathy Ayers and Delanna Reed said they wanted to attend the celebration because it represents such a monumental time in history. “This is the second best thing we could do,” Hupp said. “I couldn’t go to Washington. ... It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate this with so many people who are excited and happy to be unified again.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hawkins County Martin Luther King Day-Inauguration Day Events

January 19, 2009

11:45 AM, 5th Annual Memorial March from the Hawkins County Courthouse, Rogersville, Tennessee to the Russell Chapel AME Church on Hasson Street.

12:30 PM Memorial Service begins, featuring the "Martin Luther King Anthem" written and sung by Marie Lyons Robinson.
Celebration sponsored by the Ministerial Alliance

January 20, 2009
The Allendale Mansion, 444 West Stone Drive, Kingsport
6 PM - 7 PM Light refreshments
7 PM - 8 PM Dinner
8:30 PM - Eddie the DJ (Eddie Cox)
Celebration hosted by Tony & Carolyn Harris

Sunday, January 4, 2009