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Greater Metro

Sweetie Pie’s‘Ms. Robbie’ delivers the personal touch

by Brittney Gathen

Special to The New Tri-State Defender

St. Louis soul food restaurant owner Robbie “Ms. Robbie” Montgomery is seeking Memphians’ support for her latest business venture – a Beale Street location for her St. Louis-based Sweetie Pie’s restaurant.

Montgomery brought her palpable energy to Beale Street recently (Sept. 25th) as she checked on the progress of the Sweetie Pie’s set to open soon at 349 Beale St. It was clear that she is excited about joining the Memphis community via her their restaurant.

“It’s an honor to be in Memphis on Beale Street,” Montgomery said. “I’m meeting a lot of challenges. I’ve got a lot of restaurants here I’ve got to compete with, but I’m hoping my food is just as good.”

For Montgomery, opening and operating the new restaurant is going to be a true family affair that will require the support of the Memphis community.

“This is a family operation, and we can’t do it without each other. It takes all of us to make this work, and (it’s going to take) the city of Memphis,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery decided to open up a Memphis location after being offered the opportunity to move to Beale Street.

“I thought it was a great opportunity to bring my food down here. When I come to Memphis, I always enjoy it, and I’m glad to be a part of it,” she said.

Montgomery said her son, Tim Norman, would be very active in overseeing the restaurant’s new location.

 “Tim will be 200 percent involved because he’s going to move down here,” said Montgomery. “I’m just going to come and make sure he’s doing what he’s supposed to do.”

Montgomery said her sisters would also come down to check on the establishment.

The former “Ikette”(a backup singer for Ike and Tina Turner) and star of the Oprah Winfrey Network reality series “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” learned how to cook her mother’s classic soul food dishes by working alongside her in their St. Louis kitchen. After a lung condition ended her singing career in 1979, she returned to St. Louis from California and worked as a dialysis technician. She would soon trade a health care career for a career in the culinary field. In 1996, with help from her son, Sweetie Pie’s was born.

Montgomery is pleased with the reaction she’s already getting from the Memphis community.

“I want to thank Memphis for opening their arms to me,” she told The New Tri-State Defender during an impromptu interview on Beale Street.

“It seems like everybody’s waiting on me, and I can hardly wait to get here. So, stay hungry and wait on me!”

Authors –and their works – speak to ASALH mission

ASALH

Toussaint Louverture, Nathaniel Turner, Sengbe Pieh, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman are familiar iconic symbols of heroism whose struggle in the United States, Africa and the Caribbean helped to change the status quo of their day: racism and slavery.

Celeste-Marie Bernier, the Dorothy K. Hohenberg Chair of Excellence in Art History at the University of Memphis, traces the lives and histories of these six men and women in her book, “Characters of Blood: Black Heroism in the Transatlantic Imagination.”

  • Written by Wiley Henry
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What’s up with Memphis youth?

Violence

Another weekend with a frightfully dangerous incident powered by unruly youths has area residents amping up the call for a crackdown on the perpetrators of such law-breaking behavior.

A 46-year-old mother and her 9-year-old daughter were swept up in an eruption of out-of-control youths following a football game at Central High School last Friday night (Sept. 26th). Sharon Mourning and her daughter were trapped in their car as dozens of youths jumped on, kicked and stomped the vehicle.

  • Written by Tony Jones
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Freedom Award honorees – a trio of barrier breakers who advanced freedom

Awards

“Breaking Barriers, Advancing Freedom” will be the theme that links Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Robert (Bob) Parris Moses and Frank E. Robinson on Dec. 2nd and forever link them to Memphis and the National Civil Rights Museum.

With Beverly Robertson, the museum’s high-energy (and retiring) president doing the honor, the three were announced as the 2014 Freedom Award honorees on Tuesday. This year’s presentation will be Dec. 2nd at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, with the traditional Gala Dinner later at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

Are ‘dysfunctional relationships media invention or state of crisis?

Drumar

There are a plethora of books, online sources and more seeking to provide relationship insight and assistance. Pennsylvania certified psychologist, school principal and author Dr. Umar Johnson made an effort to be another resource last week (Sept. 18th).

The University of Memphis chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Student Event Allocation Committee sponsored an event titled “Dysfunctional Relationships: Media Invention or State of Crisis.” Johnson spoke on the topic, “Black Male-Female Relationships: The Clash of Pain Bodies,” discussing such subtopics as reasons for failure.

From homelessness to leadership: “People’s mayor’ to share her story

Peoples Mayor

Dr. Evelyn Wynn-Dixon will make her first trip to Memphis this week to share her story of persevering through poverty and homelessness to become the mayor of Riverdale, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta.

She will serve as the keynote speaker at The RISE Foundation’s second annual gala, An Evening of Change, which be held Saturday (Sept. 27th) beginning at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Memphis.

Memphian transforms Mondays from mundane to ‘Melodic’

SJ

Monday is a word that few love to hear. It signals the beginning of another week of work or studies; more “we-time” and less “me-time;” more stress and more mess… for most of us. However, a local Memphis poet, author, and musician is seeking (and successfully so) to transform our usual outlook on Mondays into anything but bleak. Her name is Shana Jay.

Drawing upon her inner-creativity, Shana began writing at the age of seven. She discovered great comfort and joy in the process after she began to keep a journal of her emotional-thoughts following her mother’s divorce.

African-American residents join movement out of Memphis

Memphis

Numbers from the last four decennial censuses depict the major demographic changes that have been occurring in Memphis and the surrounding area.

The outward movement of white residents has drawn major attention over the decades. However, little attention has been given to numbers that show that in the last decade in particular a significant number of African-American residents have joined the outward movement.