TSD Memphis


Greater Metro

Battle-tested Lady Rams reflect new life at Southside Middle

southside 600Southside's Lady Rams basketball team is no stranger to tough battles. After an 0-4 start, this year's season had the look of a battle royal.

At the same time, Southside Middle School as a whole was fighting for something more important than a basketball game – keeping the school from being absorbed by the Achievement School District (ASD). While many sing the praises of the ASD for its commitment to help turn around low-performing schools, that wasn't the tune resonating at Southside from its faculty, student body and community supporters.

The fight to keep Southside from being taken over by the ASD went public, airing on various local news outlets. Armed with a level-five "passing" grade from the state, Southside avoided the ASD net. That seemed to breathe fresh air into the entire school, including the Southside girls basketball team.


Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

kingevents 600Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday – what would have been his 85th – was Wednesday (Jan. 15th), with the federal holiday set to be observed on Monday (Jan. 20th).

Myriad observances and events are planned throughout Greater Memphis. Mayor A C Wharton Jr. is calling on Memphians to "Be the Dream" during a weekend of reflection and service honoring Dr. King's legacy.

Here is a partial list of scheduled events:


A ‘Sigma-sational’ celebration as Phi Beta Sigma turns 100

sigmas 600On Beale St., near what used to be the Bumpus Beale Avenue Grocery, is a historical marker that served as the destination of a march from the DoubleTree Hotel on Union Ave. in Downtown Memphis last Saturday (June 11). The good-spirited marchers shared a fraternal bond with the man the marker honored, Abram Langston Taylor.

A century ago – January 9th, 1914 – at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Taylor became the principal founder of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., along with Leonard F. Morse and Charles I. Brown. Four years earlier, he had conceived the idea at the grocery while talking to a recent Howard graduate about Greek letter fraternities.

That story was briefly recounted as the early Saturday morning marchers respectfully assembled for a wreath-laying ceremony. Theodore J. Lewis Jr. helped put things in context. He's the Southwestern Region Director, Tau Iota Sigma ~ Memphis Alumni Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.


Update: Pending litigation has Dist. 4 election in limbo

updated4 600Seventeen months after newcomer Kevin Woods defeated the Rev. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr. for the Shelby County School Board District 4 position, and five months after a new election was ordered, uncertainty still rules.

On Aug. 2, 2012, Woods was declared the winner by 106 votes. Whalum, the incumbent, wasted no time filing a complaint to contest the election results. He named the Shelby County Election Commission and other parties. His Aug. 22, 2012 complaint alleged that the election was "fraught with error as thousands of voters were disenfranchised".

Whalum and his attorney contend that there is only one solution and that is to "discard the election results and hold a vote." On Aug. 13, 2013, Chancellor Kenny Armstrong reached a decision.


Wilkins says ‘I am’ to 9th District run

wilkins 600With little more than an enthusiastic "Yes," attorney Ricky E. Wilkins confirmed this week that he has picked up a qualifying petition and is planning a campaign to unseat 9th District incumbent Rep. Steve Cohen.

Whispered for several months now, Wilkins' filing is seen by some as the kickoff point for the race.

Deep in a think-tank session when The New Tri-State Defender reached out for comment, Wilkins would only say, "You can report that I have officially picked up my petition and you can be assured that I am planning a full and complete run for the office."



Family tragedy puts spotlight on depression

tragedy 600Family and friends of Joshua Benjamin Nelson "Malekebu" Parks gathered last Saturday (Jan. 4) at First Baptist Church-Broad Street for a memorial service. It was part of the healing process unfolding after a triple shooting that left Parks and the mother of his children dead.

Police ruled the tragedy as a murder-suicide.

Parks, along with the 39-year-old mother of his two youngest children, were found inside a Binghampton apartment. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Parks, 34, died later at a local hospital. The 54-year-old grandmother of Parks' children was found just outside the apartment door in critical condition.


Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

kingevents 600Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday – what would have been his 85th – is next Wednesday (Jan. 15th), with the federal holiday observed on Jan. 20th.

Myriad observances and events are planned throughout Greater Memphis. Mayor A C Wharton Jr. is calling on Memphians to "Be the Dream" during a weekend of reflection and service honoring Dr. King's legacy.

"His work was bigger than civil rights; his mission field was wider than America," Wharton said. "His message was broader than one for minorities alone. He belonged to all of us, and for this weekend we will celebrate this universal, enduring legacy."


Help keep kids warm!

coats 600Extreme cold and school cancellations exposed a major need in the Memphis community: coats for schoolchildren.

Action News 5 is partnering with the YWCA Greater Memphis and its Common Ground program to collect new coats for Memphis schoolchildren.

New coats can be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the YWCA's main office at 766 South Highland Avenue on Thursday and Friday this week. (The drive began Wednesday.)


Radio milestones for me and ‘Bev’

Myron-Mays-160Twenty years ago this week, I opened the microphone and spoke for the first time on the radio! It's kinda hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I literally have been in broadcasting half my life.

This week also marks the sixth year that I have been a part of 1035 WRBO, as well as my run here as a columnist with The New Tri State Defender. Funny, my mother used to tell me often that I never stuck with anything. I just never found anything that I was willing to stick with.

That is until I discovered radio.


LOC alumni to salute sanitation strikers at King Prayer Breakfast

herenton 600The LeMoyne-Owen College's Memphis Alumni Chapter pays homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the 23rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast on Monday, Jan. 20.

The tribute begins at 8 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Memphis Airport Conference Center. This year's breakfast is dedicated to the LOC students who organized and participated in sit-ins during the civil rights movement and to the sanitation workers and other supporters who participated in the pivotal 1968 Sanitation Workers Strike.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Willie W. Herenton, a member of the LeMoyne-Owen College class of 1963, the first African-American selected superintendent of Memphis City Schools and the first elected as mayor of Memphis.


MLGW, Neighborhood Christian Center to donate space heaters, blankets

coldweather 600MLGW is teaming up with the Neighborhood Christian Center to assist qualified low-income seniors and physically challenged residents of Shelby County through the Power of Warmth Program. The program provides space heaters and electric blankets to eligible MLGW customers.

The Neighborhood Christian Center will be accepting applications and screening eligible households for heaters or blankets at 785 Jackson Ave. on Tuesday (Jan. 7) through Wednesday (Jan. 8) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To qualify for the Power of Warmth Program, applicants must be a resident of Shelby County as well as disabled and/or a low-income senior, age 60 or older.



Memphis Black Arts Alliance suspends operations

school 600The headline read, "NOTICE To Students, Supporters Partners & General Public" and it was dated Jan. 1, 2014. In the brief electronic message that followed, one could sense the pain being experienced by the sender, Bennetta "Bennie" Nelson West, executive director/founder of the Memphis Black Arts Alliance, Inc. – FireHouse Community Arts Center and Academy

"Due to personal and organizational issues, the Memphis Black Arts Alliance, Inc. – FireHouse Community Arts Center and Academy will suspend operations, effective today until March 31, 2014," the message read. "In the interim, with guidance from key stakeholders, we will assess the future of MBAA."

West's reference to personal issues relates to a chilling Facebook entry posted to her site on Dec. 22. In part, the post read, "Dear Facebook Friends – I sadly report that my son, Joshua Benjamin Malekbu Parks[,] was responsible for his death, the death of the mother of two of his five children and critical injuries to the children's grandmother on Wednesday, Decemb...er 18th."



Happy Kwanzaa!

kwanzaa1 600Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits of the harvest," is celebrated from Dec. 26th to Jan., 1st annually, with the purpose of honoring, acknowledging and saluting African-American heritage.

Created by Dr. Ron Karenga, the holiday was first observed from Dec. 26, 1966 to Jan. 1, 1967. An emphasis is put on the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa (Nguzo Saba) – Umoja (oo-MOE-jah), Kujichagulia (koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-ah), Ujima (oo-JEE-mah), Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah), Nia (nee-AH), Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) and Imani (ee-MAH-nee).

As Kwanzaa has aged, the celebration has grown, with a number of ceremonies and events now offered throughout Greater Memphis. Two groups – Memphis Kwanzaa International and Mid-South Kwanzaa Incorporated – provide seven days of events.