As Memphians head to the National Civil Rights Museum for grand reopening activities on Friday and Saturday, they can be assured that the renovation represents true diversity, with a conscious effort having been to reflect a high-degree of minority participation in the $28 million project.
That's the sentiment of museum officials and from a number of those selected to participate in the facelift of the museum, which opened in 1991.
To begin with, several minorities participated in the 24-member National Scholar Review Committee. The committee was responsible for the interpretive plan development and review of the exhibits content.
(Just as a neighborhood should not be judged by the actions of a few bad apples, neither should law enforcement agencies. In partnership with the new Community Police Relations Project, The New Tri-State Defender's "Good Blue" column spotlights law enforcement officers who do it right. This week's focus is on Major Anthony W. Rudolph of the Memphis Police Department.)
During an event with security at its most heightened point, this week's Good Blue officer was cool as the other side of the pillow.
It was the NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Championship at the FedExForum and nearby Beale Street was in full swing. Basketball fans packed Handy Park before the championship game between Florida University and Dayton University. Children ran in all four directions.
They met in the 1980's at Melrose High School, star-crossed sweethearts who lost touch after graduation. A 10-year class reunion, marriage in 1994, a thriving family barbeque business in Memphis – 20 years later, America gets to come "Back Home With the Neelys."
"We know our home folk in Memphis will really get a kick out of this third book," said Patrick Neely, one half of the superstar cooking couple in their own Food Network Show.
"Gina and I tell stories about our grandparents, stories we can all relate to. Along with our recipes are the stories we can remember growing up, memories on my grandfather's back porch over there in Orange Mound. Those are our roots. Those are our beginnings, and we want to always remember them."
The 19th Annual Sisterhood Outreach Summit & Showcase sponsored by Grace Magazine and typically held in June has been postponed.
"We regret any disappointment created by the postponement of the Sisterhood Showcase," said Christina Stevison, owner and publisher of Grace Magazine, in a released statement.
"The Showcase has a rich legacy and reputation for being one of the Mid-South's favorite events. Unfortunately, due to litigation filed against former employees Toni Harvey, the magazine's former editor-in-chief, and Chris Boyd, former operations director, Grace Magazine will not be able to produce a Showcase in June 2014.
Throughout April, the City of Memphis will host a 30 Day Car-Free Challenge encouraging residents to park their cars at home and get around the city using any number of alternative transportation options.
Any Memphis resident can register to take part in the challenge, for any amount of time. Commitments to being car-free can range from one day to 30 days, depending on an individual's ability and resources. Prize drawings will be made each week from the pool of residents registered in the challenge.
"We know that an increasing number of residents are choosing to live in Memphis and get to the store, to work, to school, and to other places without a car." said Mayor A C Wharton Jr.
Thousands of educators across Memphis and Shelby County were honored Sunday at the annual Celebration of Teachers. The event, coordinated by Shepherding the Next Generation – a national group of pastors and ministry leaders advocating for improvements in education – was held to pay tribute to and congratulate teachers for their hard work.
Teachers in more than 100 local churches were celebrated as part of the countywide event. During morning and afternoon worship service, participating pastors preached on the value of the teaching profession, and presented teachers with special gifts to express appreciation for their commitment to positively impact the lives of children.
"It feels really great to know that we are appreciated and valued outside of the classroom," said Brenda Taylor, fourth grade teacher at Ross Elementary and member of New Shelby Missionary Baptist Church (Collierville).
"I love teaching, and having the added support from my pastor and church members is a reminder that what teachers do really matters – not just to students and parents, but to the entire community."
Victor Hugo so eloquently stated, "All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come." Although I am sure he had no thoughts of the Memphis Black Expo at the time, there are no more appropriate words to describe this annual Memphis event that has become an anticipated tradition.
The Memphis Black Expo (MBX), the vision of Memphian Viara Boyd, is a celebration of culture, music/arts, business and food – all those things that uniquely represent black American culture, specifically black Memphis. In a city that has not always had the most positive self-image and happens to be 70 percent African American, events such as the MBX, intended to foster greater awareness, connectivity and positivity, serve as a catalyst for positive change. It is clearly about uplift and growth and who can be mad about that.
Boyd and her team accomplished all those things this past weekend, producing a synergy of events Friday through Sunday that generated a feel good vibe and shined a bright light on some of Memphis' and even the country's best!