Glynn Johns Reed devoted much of her life to community service. She made pathways straight for some, motivated and empowered others, birthed a festival, and created a business magazine that entrepreneurs would use to promote their products and concepts.
In the process of helping others to achieve their goals in business and recognizing the importance of celebrating African-American history, Reed shaped her own legacy as the founder of the Juneteenth Freedom & Heritage Festival in Memphis and the Black Pages Magazine in New Orleans.
The pioneer businesswoman and entrepreneur established a network of business owners and entrepreneurs from Memphis to New Orleans. She continued to network and create opportunities for others until a debilitating illness slowed her down. Reed died Sunday, July 6th at her home in Memphis in the Raleigh community. She was 66.
Reed accepted her role as a standard-bearer after graduating from Douglass High School in 1966. She would go on to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Tennessee State University in 1971 during the era when Jim Crow laws were the acceptable status quo. It was during this time in her life that she sought to make a difference.
In New Orleans, where Reed had lived, she launched the Message Board Telephone Answering Service, started publishing the Black Pages to promote black businesses, taught aspiring models at the Barbizon School of Modeling and managed the agency as well, performed in over 50 television commercials and movies, signed on as a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild, and was the first black concierge hired at the Hyatt Regency Hotel next to the Super Dome.
Two years after moving back to Memphis in 1991, Reed founded the Juneteenth Freedom & Heritage Festival in historic Douglass Park in the North Memphis community. She also taught inner-city preteens, teens and young adults the importance of etiquette and social grace at her own Ms. Glynn’s Charm and Finishing School.
“For me, it was about blackness,” Reed once explained to a reporter for a story. She ended the interview with her favorite quote from author Stephen Hunt:
“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.”
Funeral arrangements are incomplete.