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SouthernSoul September 2015 | Volume 2, No. 8

OUR COMMUNITY Attorney Robert Spence Christ Community Health Services

National Civil Rights Museum


Crossroads in Education

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M O R E TO SEE Where we came from and how far we’ve come. How far we have to go and how we measure the journey. The heights and the depths. The pain and the promise. Then. Now. M O R E TO EXPER I EN C E In the hold of a slave ship. On the bridge in Selma. On the street in Birmingham. In the heart of Jim Crow. On the mind of America. On the move in the world. In the march. In the room. On the balcony. There. Here. M O R E TO L EA R N About who we were and who we hope to be. Collective history and individual awareness. Monumental change and personal transformation. Come in as one. Come out as more. Before. After.


October 22, 2015 Cannon Center • Memphis, Tennessee Michael Eric Dyson, Emcee For tickets, call 901.521.1281

PAUSING TO CELEBRATE. At the 24th Annual Freedom Award, three more who have led us on this hard road will be celebrated. Their stories will be told, good and noble chapters in the larger narrative of civil and human rights. All are women. Another step taken, another milestone reached. Joan Trumpauer Mulholland was a Freedom Rider who desegregated Tougaloo College. Ruby Bridges Hall was the first black child to desegregate the Louisiana school system. Ava DuVernay brought Selma to the screen and the powerful story to new generations.

INSPIRED TO CONTINUE. Because of these three and those before, we have a better understanding of where we’ve been and where we must go. Because of them, we are inspired.

SouthernSoul PUBLISHER/CEO Chris Boyd

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Toni Blount Harvey



Graphic Design Courtney Searcy


PHOTOGRAPHY Jay Adkins Bryant Reddick

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tyrone Chester Kathy Kirk-Johnson Attorney Felisa N. Cox Pepper Lewis Patricia Cross Chalise Macklin John Doyle Alexandra Matlock Erica Horton Myron Mays Danielle Inez Tashanta McCraven Angela M. Jennings Jasmine Reneé McCreight State Representative G.A. Hardaway Southern Soul Magazine™ is a monthly publication of MAAC Media Group, LLC and is distributed in locations throughout the Memphis/Mid-South area. Annual subscriptions are available for $40.00 (twelve issues). Readership: 70,000 ©2015 by MAAC Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved. The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials and does not return unsolicited materials to sender. Photography and images obtained for editorial usage is owned by Southern Soul Magazine™ and may not be released for commercial use such as in advertisements. Reproduction in whole or in part without the publisher’s consent is strictly prohibited. The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the positions or views of the editor or publisher. The publication of any advertisement in this issue does not constitute an endorsement of the advertiser’s products or services by this publication. Southern Soul Magazine™ is a trademark belonging to MAAC Media Group, LLC.

MAAC Media Group, LLC | PO Box 18100 | Memphis, TN 38181 901.366.SOUL (7685) | 4 | Southern Soul l September 2015




John Doyle, a native Memphian, is the Executive Director of both the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum at FedEx Forum ( and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame (memphismusichalloffame. com). A graduate of Rhodes College, he woked in radio promotions and marketing prior to opening his own advertising agency and, then, working as Vice President of Programming for Memphis in May. He and his wife, Lynn, have one son, Bennett, who now also works in Memphis radio.

In 1994, Native Memphian, Myron Mays began broadcasting at WKRA-FM (Holly Springs MS) playing Gospel during the week and R&B on weekends. A year later, Myron landed his first large market radio position at the legendary Gospel station WLOK-AM in Memphis. Over the years, Myron has dominated the airwaves with The Myron Mays Radio Show, delivering a mix of Soul Classics and todays R&B, peppered with entertainment news and his own brand of hilarious commentary. Myron also writes a weekly entertainment column at The New Tri-State Defender, Memphis’ only African American newspaper publication.

KATHY KIRKJOHNSON Kathy Kirk Johnson is an Attorney and Lifestyle Expert with an innate affinity for good food and stylish entertaining. She lives in in Cordova, Tennessee with her husband and two sons. Get more lifestyle tips from her website


and MSNBC. In 2014, she was named to Memphis Flyerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 20<30 for her international client portfolio and local commitment to youth development and female empowerment in business. Find her online at Tweet her @dingmktg.

ANGELA MONIQUE JENNINGS Angela Monique Jennings, a native Memphian, is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and a Masters of Science in Accountancy, both received at Rhodes College. Ms. Jennings began her career in public accounting in the Washington, DC office of Bazilio, Cobb & Associates, one of the largest African-American full-service accounting firms in the nation. In 2007, Ms. Jennings joined the Washington, DC office of Deloitte and Touche, LLP where she holds a management position with the Advisory Regulatory, Forensics, and Compliance practice. Ms. Jennings is an avid traveler, sports enthusiast, and enjoys cooking.

Danielle Inez is the awardwinning Owner, Director of Marketing of ding! Marketing Studio, a Memphis-based marketing management firm for small businesses. The marketing maven has been featured nationally by Black Enterprise Southern Soul l September 2015 | 5


FELISA NASH COX, J.D., MBA CHALISE MACKLIN Chalise Macklin is producer at ABC 24 (Local Memphis Live) and an adjunct professor at Arkansas State University. As a freelance journalist, Ms. Macklin has been published in The Times Newspaper. Prior to joining ABC 24, Macklin was with KAIT8 Jonesboro, AR, Fox 13 and Channel 3 News in Memphis. She received a B.A. from the University of Memphis and a Masters in Communication Studies from Arkansas State University. She is a member of Greater Imani Christian Center.

Felisa N. Cox is a Senior Assistant City Attorney for the City of Memphis Law Division. Prior to joining the City of Memphis, Attorney Cox practiced litigation as an Associate with the Jewel Law Firm and the Wharton Law Firm. She also served as Assistant General Counsel for TN Dept. of Children’s Services and as Assistant County Attorney for Shelby County Government. Attorney Cox currently serves as the Vice President/ President-Elect 2014-15 of the Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association in Memphis, Tennessee. She serves on the Board of the Association of Women Attorneys, and is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association; American Bar Association; National Bar Association; and, the Memphis Bar Association. Attorney Cox is a member of First Baptist Broad Church and enjoys cycling, playing the violin, traveling, and reading.

TASHANTA "TASHA" McCRAVEN Tashanta "Tasha" McCraven has been with MidSouth Food Bank for eight years, working in the Child Hunger Programs department, which includes the Food for Kids BackPack Program, Kids Cafe and School Pantries. She is a participant of Feeding America's Child Hunger Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program. Prior to joining Mid-South Food Bank, Ms. McCraven worked at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis.

JASMINE RENEÉ McCREIGHT Jasmine Reneé McCreight is the daughter of Eric and Renee McCreight, and older sister to Justin McCreight. Since the tender age of two, Jasmine has been singing. While at Snowden Middle School, Jasmine garnered a love for classical music under the leadership of Wendy Baker. At Snowden, she competed in several music showcases and secured positions in the All Southwest TN Choir. Jasmine continued singing in the Central High School Choir under the direction of Gaylon Robinson where she was selected as a member of the All State Chorus. Jasmine is currently a Senior at the University of Memphis majoring in Journalism and a concentration in Public Relations. Her goal is to become a top publicist in the music industry.

6 | Southern Soul l September 2015

ALEXANDRA MATLOCK Alexandra Matlock, native of Medellín, Colombia, is President/Founder of ContigoCreative, a public relations and marketing agency, based in Memphis, specializing in Latino and larger Multicultural markets in Memphis, Nashville, Little Rock and Atlanta.

ERICA HORTON Erica Horton’s interest in journalism began her senior year in high school with the Scripps Howard Foundation-sponsored Teen Appeal newspaper. She wrote for the paper a year, earned a journalism scholarship and decided to attend The University of Memphis (“U of M”) where she later received a bachelor's of journalism from U of M’s College of Communications and Fine Arts. During her four years at U of M, she wrote for the Daily Helmsman contributing more than 300 features, crime, breaking news, profile, event and general assignment stories. While in school, she held several internships including an internship at The Commercial Appeal; the Memphis Tourism Foundation (the non-profit arm of the Memphis Convention and Visitor’s Bureau) and the City of Memphis Office of Youth Services, where she created and hosted (for two summers) a photography competition for middle and high school students. She also interned for the 2013 Excellence in Journalism (“EIJ”) Conference in Anaheim, Calif. hosted by the Society of Professional Journalists. The EIJ news is an annual program and blog that covers the Excellence in Journalism Conference. Horton and ten other students managed the blog, which featured photos, video, blog posts and live social media feeds during the conference.


OUR COMMUNITY september 2015 | volume 2 issue 8

IN the SOUL 47

A LIFE DEDICATED TO EDUCATION Patrice J. Robinson serves her community


MAKING MEMPHIS HISTORY Attorney Robert Spence seeks justice


THE FOREST THROUGH THE TREES An interview with Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey E. Hopson, II



CROSSROADS IN EDUCATION Education reform with TN State Representative G.A. Hardaway, Sr.


FACING THE RISING SUN Terri Freeman gives a tour of the National Civil Rights Museum


A HAVEN OF HOPE Get to know Christ Community Health Services

DR. TRACY HALL Climbing to new heights with the President of Southwest Community College

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 7





SOUL SEEDS The Freedom of Grace

LATIN SOUL A Key to Our Community


LEGAL VIEW The Cost of Not Pursuing Higher Education


HEY MYRON! The Perfect Guy Does Not Exist


SMART BUSINESS 5 Tips to Get the City's Business


MON$Y SMARTZ Get a Head Start on School Loans


CONTENTS September 2015

COMMUNITY Lessons in Child Hunger





JUST SAYING... Reading a Sales Associate's Mind

37 100




FRESHMAN FUN Flumadidle, Funky Fashion



91 SouthernSoul September 2015 | Volume 2, No. 8

ON THE COVER Robert Spence PHOTOGRAPHY by Bryant Reddick

OUR COMMUNITY Attorney Robert Spence Christ Community Health Services

National Civil Rights Museum


Crossroads in Education

EDITOR’S LETTER p.11 • FOOD p.91 • SOUTHERN STYLE p.100 8 | Southern Soul l September 2015

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Events Are there SOUTHERN SOUL experiences we should cover? Let us know! EVENTS@THESOUTHERNSOUL.COM

Soul Talks Let’s talk! Let us hear from you. Send stories, inquiries and comments. SOULTALKS@THESOUTHERNSOUL.COM

Soul Pics See someone with Soul? Or, spot SOUTHERN SOUL somewhere? Send us a pic! PHOTOS@THESOUTHERNSOUL.COM

Hey Myron! Got a relationship question? Email thoughts and questions to: MYRON@THESOUTHERNSOUL.COM



901.366.SOUL (7685)


Editor’s Letter

This month, Southern Soul celebrates its one-year anniversary! We cannot celebrate us without celebrating our great community, the places we live, work, and play. So, this month we give you a community champion who is keeping justice in our community. We are not alone celebrating our first year’s accomplishments. We take you inside the magnificent National Civil Rights Museum and introduce you to the President and the newly renovated interactive exhibits. Also celebrating a significant milestone, we highlight Christ Community Health Center now in its 20th year of service. One of my favorite sayings, from one of my favorite books and one of my favorite authors is “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” Dr. Seuss had a way with words. He could twist your sense of humor while lifting your sense of direction. At the core of all his writings was a lesson. Each time I pick up one of his books, I learn something new. Maybe a catch phrase I missed or perhaps a funny I didn’t understand then but totally ‘get it’ now. Learning never ceases. Each day we learn something new, each day we enhance our education. Education keeps us grounded yet lifts us to higher heights. Our community is at a crossroads in education. The bastion that education represented in our culture is waning. Our youth overlook the value of education placing our future at peril. But, all is not lost. Our community is chock full of leaders standing firm and determined to make educating our community, enhancing our workforce, and moving the needle a priority. This month, we chatted with the man leading Tennessee’s largest school system, Dorsey E. Hopson, II and we introduce you to the first African American Female President of Southwest Community College. We salute Patrice Robinson, an education legislative trailblazer and wanting to encompass all aspects of our education issues, we reached to our State Capital and TN State Representative G.A. Hardaway shared the status of the issues before our legislature regarding our community’s education systems.

Toni Blount Harvey Editor-In-Chief

Pastor “Geno” speaks of the education and grace we gained from the Emanuel 9. John Doyle shares how one local radio station was able to bring a city together through its air waves. And Kat, of course, joins in with a tasty healthy back to school menu. All in all, this issue, we are all learning something! I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all who have supported us through this first year. It has been fun, rewarding and an adventure. Special thanks to GiGi, Sherri, Marsha, Mary, Debra, and Aubra. It never could have happened without you! Next month, look for our special edition featuring our community’s medical professionals! Southern Soul l September 2015 | 11

Soul Seeds


Soul Seeds




Rev. Dr. Eugene L. Gibson, Jr.

It was absolutely an amazing moment - thousands were enamored, and nine families were grieving and one man stood at center stage. Just nine days after a lone gunman entered the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston South Carolina, killing eight Bible study attendees and the Senior Minister, the Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney, in a racially fueled act of domestic terrorism. The man on stage . . . President Barack Obama. He stood center stage at the TD Arena on the College of Charleston’s campus and delivered the Eulogy of the felled leader, Reverend Pinckney. The President, a Black man entered the Church to deliver the Eulogy of another Black man, who was the Pastor of a leading Black church in a denomination that was founded on the principles of Social Justice; in a State in which the Confederacy was born. History had to wake up and say “Well I’ll be Doggone” because no one could see such a crash course of power on the horizon. No one anticipated such a convergence, if you will, of opposing sacralized ideologies. Sacralized ideology occurs when a person or a group believes a set of ideals to the point that it informs their

behaviors and eventually becomes so engrained that the ideals become sacred. One such belief for most of us is that, God’s house is a safe place; a place of harmony. That is why it was such a note of discord when a person - after being welcomed into church and sitting there for over an hour, that person, Dylan Roof, could then murder those churchgoers. On the other hand, Saints, if you will, who had also had a sacralized ideology that led them to believe they were safe because of where they were. None of the Saints were aware that a person was among them that had been raised with a totally different set of sacralized ideologies; a person that, because of his mindset, made them unsafe because of the color of their skin rather than who they were. Roof ’s sacralized ideology, stripped to its core, is a set of ideas that this country has subscribed to since its founding; freedom comes through violence and at the loss of someone else’s life. Think about it, for us as a nation, freedom is secured by bullying other nations and using force to police and monitor them should they get out of hand and threaten us (Korea/Vietnam/Iraq/Afghanistan); and we say it’s about ensuring freedom because “they” are full of terror. While freedom for us is personally secured through the Southern Soul l September 2015 | 13

Soul Seeds right to bear arms; Guns guns and more guns…Hee Haw! And in order that I may enjoy freedom and all of the benefits that come with it, I will oppress you and take your freedoms to further solidify my security. German philosopher Nietzsche suggested in On the Genealogy of Morals, that there are two types of moral mindsets: one is the oppressor (master) and the other is the oppressed (slave). Oppressed morality values kindness, humility, and sympathy; while the oppressor morality values pride, strength, and nobility. If one accepts this standard, it possibly explains how an oppressive mindset could walk into a church feeling entitled to terrorize people who have an oppressed morality and treat the man of opposite ideology in any manner only because of the collision of two different mindsets. That is why, at that moment, on June 26, 2015, I was so blown away when our President, a man whose skin and story represents the oppressed, who has the mindset of struggle that produces at its very core humility and kindness for people, stood there to deliver a eulogy. President Obama understood the story of the man in the casket and that of the widow and her two black little girls. While at that same time, his résumé and meteoric rise and ascension to become The Most Powerful Man in the World and is the single person whose heartbeat causes economies around the world to flutter - he also knows the side of the oppressor. So I wondered as I watched the moment unfold; what was is it that the President was going to talk about. I know the Presidency is an office traditionally known to be an oppressive office. However, this is a Black President, one who knows about the power of an All-seeing and an All-knowing God. What would he decide to talk about? Then he spoke. He spoke about the Power and the Freedom of God’s Grace. He spoke of the fact, what we in the Church already know, that the Grace of God is not earned or merited. It is the simply free and benevolent favor of God. As the President closed the Eulogy, an amazing truth was learned, one that ultimately says to all of us. . . No matter who you are; whether fairing well or on welfare, whether pauper or President; whether at the highest goal of any life well lived – we all must understand The Freedom of God’s Grace. §

14 | Southern Soul l September 2015

ABOUT the AUTHOR Husband, Father, Preacher, Pastor, Lecturer, Singer, Music, Clinician, Believer

Rev. Dr. Eugene L. Gibson, Jr., affectionately called “Pastor Geno,” is Senior Pastor of the Olivet Fellowship Baptist Church. Raised in Chicago, IL, he served as Minister of Music at Mission of Faith Baptist Church in Chicago, under his late father; Rev. Eugene Gibson, Sr. and also at New Faith Baptist Church in Matteson, IL, under Drs. Frank Thomas and Trunell Felder until moving to Memphis to serve as the Men/Outreach Pastor at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church. Dr. Gibson holds a Bachelor of Theology, a Master of Arts in Religion/Urban Ministries, and, a Doctorate of Ministry. Pastor Gibson teaches annually at the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and at Memphis Theological Seminary. Often speaking across the country, he has also been a guest lecturer on Moody Bible Institute’s Radio Bible School and in 2012, inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers of Morehouse College. Dr. Gibson is the author of “Courage Under Fire; Guarding the Romantic Flame From Life’s Fiery Issues,” a collection of inspiring relationship messages. Dr. Gibson and his lovely wife Nicole Danielle have been married for nineteen years and God has blessed them with two beautiful daughters, Trinity Essence and Taylor Emani.

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It is no doubt that strong education is and will remain the key for success in our communities. According to census data, around 80 percent of all English Language Learners in this country are Hispanic. The majority of those students are U.S. born. Many schools throughout the country are implementing strategies to meet the unique needs of Hispanic students. Our city is no exception. Schools are doing a better job in various fields in order to cater to the community’s demographics. Schools have implemented sensitive planning, parental involvement, community outreach, cultural understanding, and appropriate pedagogy. With this collective impact, more Hispanic students are experiencing academic success, plus other students are benefiting from having Spanish speaking friends. So they are learning Spanish as well. It is great to hear that some states have made significant progress in shaping and developing early learning systems. Many states have already begun to address the conditions necessary for promoting early learning and development. States leading the reform report an on-going need for more coordinated and integrated early learning services and programs, and a commitment to accountability and results to ensure that a system with multiple funding streams and settings improves outcomes for all children. Equally important as early systems is the need to continue promoting high quality education for high school kids. While participating in the Leadership Memphis Executive program, I had the opportunity to connect with students from Kingsbury High School. While there, I had the chance to see first-hand the great program that Latino Memphis is conducting for Latino students. By the way,

Latin Soul

Kingsbury High School has the highest population of Latino students in the state of Tennessee. Latino Memphis is a forerunner and leader in developing our local Latino Community. On its website (, they discuss one of their many programs aimed at improving the path to college success stating: Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors): “Latinos are the fastest-growing student population in America, but graduation and college attainment rates for Latino students are among the lowest . . . Abriendo Puertas partners with local high schools and colleges to provide Latino students with comprehensive education services. This program helps students reach above and beyond their educational goals by providing mentoring and offering college-preparatory events to ensure students’ success in post-secondary education . . . In one year, Abriendo Puertas had a hand in helping 91% of its core group of Kingsbury High School seniors graduate High School, and apply for and get accepted to college. Abriendo Puertas will continue working with these students, as well as other Latino college students, to increase retention and graduation rates and promote achievement and career success”. Latino Memphis’s efforts are a positive impact on our students and a beacon of hope for our future. The impact is a key to community success since because Latino youth make up a large part of the future citizens that will contribute to a better community and ultimately, a better nation. §

Legal View



This year, a resurgence of socio-economic issues has been brought to the forefront for the African-American community. Our socio-economic condition is impacted by our ability to obtain suitable employment and appropriate housing. The proliferation of Black defendants within the criminal justice system, historical and continued disenfranchisement within the voting system, and the lingering effects of opportunity inequities have plagued our communities for decades.

The Fight

It has long been my view that the most critical remedy for improving the socio-economic condition for the African-American community is higher education. In 1954, the United States Supreme Court handed down the landmark ruling, Brown v. Board of Education. The Brown case and those following the decision settled the question of whether racially segregated schools were equal. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 provided more protections in a number of areas, including education, by prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender and national origin.

African-Americans are entering into college programs at a rate that is similar to the national average. College Enrollment Fast-forwarding to the 21st century, where do we stand on education today? As a whole, college admissions were down from 66.2% to 65.9% for Fall 2013. This number may sound small, but it is the lowest enrollment in postsecondary education since 2003. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the enrollment rate in 2014 was 68.4 % and the African-American enrollment rate was 70.9 %, which exceeded the national average. Based on the data, it becomes apparent that African-Americans are generally positioning themselves to obtain college degrees. Notably, in 2011, Black Women surpassed all groups by race and gender for college entrance. In fact, in 2011, Black female enrollment was at 9.7 percent, which essentially meant that one out of ten Black females was enrolled in Southern Soul l September 2015 | 19

More Black graduates leave college with greater debt than their white counterparts college. This number compared to 6.1% for White males, 7% for Black males, and 7.1% for White females. Asian females were the second highest at 8.7%.

Success Rate and Graduation Rate Unfortunately, completion rates and affordability is dissimilar. The Black student graduation rate remained low at 42% based on February 2014 reports. The average graduation rate for White students was reported as 62%.

What Do the Numbers Mean? After reviewing the reports and statistics, one could draw a number of conclusions. Based on hard-fought legal battles and civil rights reforms, illegal barriers to educational opportunities have been eliminated for African-American citizens. African-Americans are entering into college programs at a rate that is similar to the national average. The lower graduation rate indicates that significant challenges still remain whether academic, social, or financial, which hinder successful completion efforts. In addition, as is likely reflective of the AfricanAmerican socio-economic reality, more Black graduates leave college with greater debt than their White counterparts. According to the U.S. News and World Report, half of graduating Black students from 2000 through 2014 obtained more than $25,000 in student loan debt compared to 34% of White students. When considering the additional years in college and the possibility of debt after graduation, some might debate whether post-secondary education is cost-effective or whether the costs outweigh the benefits. There is little dispute that individuals with degrees typically enjoy long-term benefits of higher salaries and better employment opportunities compared to individuals without degrees. It is expected that 68% of newly developed jobs between the period of 2010 and 2018 will require a college degree. Clearly, the overall benefits far outweigh the associated costs.

20 | Southern Soul l September 2015

Minimizing Costs for Higher Education Prospective students should pursue scholarships where available, such as the Tennessee Hope Scholarship as well as academic scholarships from their chosen university or college. If the individual is already participating in the work force, inquiries could be made with his/her employer to determine whether they offer an educational program to employees to off-set the cost of higher education. Other resources are also available within Memphis such as the Graduate Memphis program, which assists adults with returning to college. While the national average for degreed individuals is 42%, Memphis lags significantly behind at 23.7%. Thus, programs designed to address the “degree” disparity could greatly improve the economic condition for the city. Although a college degree does not guarantee anyone success, and a lack of a degree from a four year college will not eliminate a person’s ability to achieve success in numerous fields and professions, it is widely accepted and demonstrated that higher levels of education are inextricably connected to higher levels of income for individuals and the communities where they live.

The most critical remedy for improving the socioeconomic condition for the African-American community is higher education. What Can We Do to Help? As an attorney and an advocate for higher education, I urge our African-American professionals and entrepreneurs to continue to initiate and participate in programs designed to expose our youth to real-life successful African-Americans. AfricanAmerican professionals understand that to whom much is given, much is required and we must seize the moment to improve others. Although we find ourselves still facing socio-economic challenges in the 21st century, I believe there to be no better cause nor more effective strategy to improve the long-term economic health in our communities than imparting knowledge and providing assistance with our youth regarding higher education. Source information available upon request. Contact Felisa Cox at §

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The Orpheum Theatre, Memphis 203 S. Main Street, Memphis,TN (901) 525-3000


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Southern Soul l September 2015 | 21



Perfect Guy Does Not Exist by MYRON MAYS

I try not to ever be the bearer of bad news, simply because the messenger usually takes the heat since they are the one delivering the message. Chances are I am not the first one to deliver this bit of news. As a matter of fact, this is probably not gonna be any news you have not already heard. So maybe I’m really only delivering somewhat of a “reminder” instead.

Hey Myron!


“There is no such thing as the Perfect Guy.”

Have you ever gone car shopping and while perusing the lot, you discover what you think is the “perfect” car! While Yes, I said it. The perfect guy does not exist! He’s a fantasy. deep down inside, you know full well you don’t really need He ain’t real…except on TV or maybe inside your head. this particular car. You immediately thought about how Now, please don’t shoot the messenger, just hear me out. hard you worked every day. You thought about how great Popular culture would have us believe that the images we of a person you were. You may have even thought about see on TV and in movies are the way things really are or how great you are at budgeting your money. Then you should be. That’s mostly because the characters we are closed your eyes and just pictured yourself driving up to familiar with are created by a staff of writers that determine your home in this wonderful vehicle and how good you’d who they are. However, we all live in the real world and we look and feel in it! You may have even said to yourself, “I are the only writers of our story. really deserve this car!”

He’s a fantasy. He ain’t real…except on TV or maybe inside your head. But often times we can really get hung up on what we think we deserve. Inside we think we’re a “certain kind of person,” so therefore we think we’re entitled to a “certain kind of thing.” I mean who is the best person to determine what we deserve other than ourselves? Who knows what’s best for us other than ourselves? And while that’s not really a bad thing, we can sometimes unreasonably justify what we want. Take this for instance. 24 | Southern Soul l September 2015

However, after they processed all your paperwork, you discovered that due to your income and credit, you would be stuck with a high interest rate along with a high monthly payment. Then you thought to yourself that this might not be the perfect car after all. It didn’t mean that you were a bad person. It just meant that the status of your credit … well you know the rest. And because you really thought you deserved it, you almost bought it anyway. But, you came to your senses and realized that although you could’ve gotten the “perfect” car, you would have had to get a second job in order to keep it. So I guess my point is, “What we think we deserve, isn’t always what we really need.” Thankfully, you ended up buying the car that met your needs, not the one you really thought you deserved. In other

Hey Myron! words, you didn’t buy the “perfect” car; you bought the car that was “perfect for you.” And as it turned out, the other car ended up being the “perfect car” for someone else. So, back to the original message, “The perfect guy does not exist.” Remember, there is a great chance that the perfect guy for you might not be able to read your mind; have a washboard stomach; say ALL of the right things; be spectacular in bed; cook a 5 course meal; make a truckload of money; pay attention to every little thing that comes out of your mouth; say YES all the time; and, not take so much as a glance at another woman … all at the same time. Yes, I know at times some of your closest friends and associates will appear to have found the perfect guy. Please

do not let this fool you. Trust me, as perfect as her man might seem in public, she is probably at the house pulling out her hair trying to get him to remember to take the garbage to the curb on trash day. Now allow me to deliver just one more bit of bad news before I close. You ready? Ok…

“You’re not perfect either.” But guess what? Nobody is. So it’s ok. Stop wasting your precious time looking for “Mr. Perfect.” “Mr. Perfect for You” is out there waiting! He’s looking for you! Think about it. Take a look at all of the happy couples you know. Neither one is perfect are they? Of course not! They’re just perfect for each other. §

Letters to Myron Just a Friend HEY MYRON, I met this guy at my former job. He pursued me and was very insistent that we would be together one day. I was hesitant to date him because we were co-workers. But after I left that job, I decided to give him the green light. We started spending a lot of time together and talking on the phone. He even started regularly checking in with me even though I never asked him to. Even the people at the other job considered me his girlfriend. He even told me often that he loved me. Early in our relationship, he shared that he had been incarcerated for 13 years and I had no problem with this. So, out of the 9 months or so we dated, I never went to his home. He told me he was living with a friend who was helping him get back on his feet after he was released. Mind you, I never met the friend, so it seemed a little odd to me.

So I later did a little digging and discovered that a marriage license had been issued in his name just days before I gave him my number and the friend he was living with was actually his wife. I also discovered that she was pregnant at the time and the child should be about 3 months old now. This means that the entire time he was pursuing me, he was about to get married and was an expectant father! I’m beyond pissed! Should I confront him or just forget about it and him and just block him out of my life all together? –38HOT & MAD HEY 38HOT & MAD, Wow, I think you’d make a great FBI agent. I’m just saying. But anyway, I know you wanna call him up and really dig into this guy don’t you? But guess what? It’s not even worth the phone call. Although it’ll probably make you feel better to get it off your

chest, when you’re done, he is still somebody’s husband. And he is gonna go home to his wife and live happily ever after, probably not giving you another thought ever again. So…what would you gain? This might not even be the first or last time he does something like this. All the while, his new wife is totally unaware of his shenanigans…or is she? Who knows? Yes, you should forget about it and rid yourself of this guy and his drama altogether. Knowing what you know at this point, the best thing you can do is cut your losses and move on. You thought he was a great guy and you discovered he wasn’t what he presented himself to be. And although I know you want answers, there’s really nothing he can say that you don’t already know. He lied and the only thing you can do with a lie is prop it up with another one…or two.

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 25

between Nick and my partner’s cousin. I heard him mention that “he needed more time” and that “I’d soon be out of the picture”. I could not believe what I was hearing. I haven’t said anything to my partner about it yet. I’m not sure if he would even take it seriously. Should I say something or wait for him to figure it out? –SITTING DUCK HEY SITTING DUCK, This proves that regardless of what type of relationship you’re in, you’re still not immune to any kind of drama. After hearing this conversation take place in your house, you should not wait for your partner to figure this out. He needs to know about it. Especially since you actually heard the conversation taking place and knew exactly who he was talking to.

Myron Mays

Photography by BRYANT REDDICK

"...the best thing you can do is cut your losses and move on." Conspiracy Theory HEY MYRON, I’m an out of the closet gay man that’s in love. My partner and I have been together for almost seven years. My family adores him and approves of our relationship. I’m not quite sure why, but my partner’s family on the other hand does not, especially his cousin. It has nothing to do with us being a same sex couple. It’s actually personal. My partner has a best friend named Nick, who the cousin really thinks highly of. Nick is bi-sexual and who is considered the “life of the party.” I like 26 | Southern Soul l September 2015

Nick and do not believe he and my partner has ever messed around, but Nick does tend to be a little touchy-feely after a few drinks. At a recent family function, I overheard his cousin make some slick messy comments to Nick about our relationship. I pretended I didn’t hear it, but I did bring this to my partner’s attention, but he just thinks I’m being a prude and that nothing is going on. One night after we all hung out, Nick spent the night at our house because he was too drunk to drive home. I woke up early the next morning and overheard a phone conversation

I mean, this is supposedly his “best” friend and he is conspiring with his family member to under mind his relationship. These are two people he is supposed to be able to trust. Even if the cousin feels that he/she is right and is doing what is “best” for the cousin, it should not be done without his knowledge. However, the mere fact that it is going on behind his back proves that intentions aren’t good. Bottom line, they are sabotaging his relationship to get the outcome that they want. Which means that they are really only looking out for their “own” interest… maybe more so Nick’s interest. Whether you say nothing while knowing that this is happening or you bring it to your partner’s attention and he still does not take it seriously, you still bare part of the responsibility for the outcome. My question is…which outcome do you wanna be responsible for? §

Retire…from work.

Reignite…your life.

Investing. With a plan. PAMELA PITTS

Financial Advisor 6060 Poplar Ave Suite 450 Memphis, TN 38119 O: (901)827-8901 Waddell & Reed, Inc. 12522 (06/11)

Member SIPC

tips To Get The City’s Business



In July, my marketing firm celebrated six years of serving over 30 clients in three countries and a dozen US states. I’m now in the midst of one of the most exciting phases of my journey: a collaboration with the City Of Memphis. Serving my fellow residents and supporting my City’s government seemed like a distant dream for a small business like ding! mktg. I’m happy to report that the process was painless and the experience has been infinitely rewarding.


The City routinely needs caterers, photographers, designers, and writers. Let’s start with the obvious: most small business owners will never do business with the government. Usually, it’s by design (you cater to a different audience) or by preference (you don’t have an interest in City work). For other small business owners, the intimidating unknowns of government contracting might cause you to steer clear. The latter is what kept me away.

Luckily, contracting with the City of Memphis has become simpler and more transparent than ever. As the City’s administration makes a commitment to diversify its pool of contractors, this is the best time to unveil the mystery and debunk the myths. Check out these five tips for doing business with the City.


Offer Your Services

Duh, right? It’s amazing how many small business owners assume that the City doesn’t have a need for their services. The City regularly calls on caterers, photographers, designers, and writers. Though construction and other technical projects get the high dollar contracts, smaller scale projects have their place in City government, too. These opportunities take place throughout the year, often have a simpler procurement process, and are easy for businesses of all sizes to fulfill. “Each time we have to cater a lunch or produce an informational video, we have to hire a vendor to perform those services,” offered Contract Compliance Manager Mary

30 | Southern Soul l September 2015

Bright during a recent meeting. “We spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on these contracts every year. Usually, the departments select their preferred vendor independently – by referral or from a pool of former suppliers.” That brings us to the next tip.


Connect With Decision Makers

Along with knowing Mary Bright, it helps to get to know the department heads and directors who you’d like to serve. Many maintain a list of available service providers who deliver high-quality products and professional service.


those looking to work with the City, the MMBC Continuum facilitates the M/WBE certification process for those who qualify. The City hosts occasional workshops, seminars, and meetings. These are the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself and services, as well as gain insight into upcoming opportunities for your business to serve the City. Similar to how you market your services to individuals or businesses in the private sector, you should construct a clear elevator pitch that summarizes how you can best meet the needs of City government.


Register Your Business

Minority and woman-owned businesses should become familiar with the Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum, or the MMBC Continuum for short. This organization serves small business owners in multiple ways. Perhaps most importantly to

Though a bit tedious and daunting for some, the 90-day certification process is a rewarding one. Certification confirms your minority status, which is then acknowledged during the bidding process for large contracts.


Manage Your Reputation

City government chooses whom to do business with in the same way that your everyday customer decides. They look at your ability to perform their needs efficiently, the cost to do business with you, and your track record. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important that you offer professional communication, timely service, and quality performance to each and every customer you meet. A customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bad experience can lead to poor reviews online or other negative information that reaches key decision makers.

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 31


City government chooses whom to do business with in the same way that your everyday customer decides. Additionally, invest in a consistent brand, updated website, and quality social media content. If you don’t have the time or expertise to manage these things, your investment might be in the form of a hired brand or public relations manager. In today’s digital age, you can count on any potential customer to Google your name and business. Make sure you know what they will find.


Seek MORE Help

The Memphis Office Of Resources & Enterprise (MORE) was developed in 2012 by Mayor A C Wharton as an agency to connect minority and woman-owned businesses with pertinent resources for their business’s development. Director Alandas Dobbins and her staff serve as connectors

32 | Southern Soul l September 2015

for entrepreneurs in all stages of business ownership. Through MORE’s online Resource Guide, businesses can access over two dozen local sources for mentorship, funding, and education. MORE also maintains a calendar of events that includes networking opportunities, free or low-cost workshops, and industry conferences to move your business forward. Dobbins works closely with businesses that attend these events to connect them with mentors and business opportunities. Learn more at Note: The City Of Memphis and Memphis Office Of Resources & Enterprise were in no way involved with the development this article. Like all SMARTbusiness articles, statements represent my experiences, research, and interpretation only. §










Promotes safe neighborhoods Supports reasonable taxes for city services Encourages a balanced approach to funding our communities Supports economic development to include living wages Paid for by Friends to Elect Patrice Robinson, Mark Walls, Treasurer

To volunteer, call 901.262.9952




Summer is coming to an end, first day of school is just around the corner and you have finally arrived at your senior year in high school. By now, you have narrowed your choices of colleges and you are ready to start completing college applications, academic scholarship applications and applying for federal financial aid. The most important step in applying for federal financial aid is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or better known as FAFSA. No matter your perceived or actual financial status, applying for FAFSA is key in helping you on your college path to success. Often we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t understand the importance of completing FAFSA and when we grab the concept, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s often too late to receive the full benefit of FAFSA. I was fortunate when preparing for college. I had a taskmaster mentor that drilled the importance of FAFSA. So, here are a few tips to help you unravel the FAFSA mystery.

34 | Southern Soul l September 2015


Why should I complete the FAFSA?

If you plan to enroll in any University, College or Career School, you should complete the FAFSA. The FAFSA is a tool for the federal government, specifically the U.S. Department of Education, as well as the school for which you have chosen to apply, to help determine your eligibility and/or need for needs-based scholarships or grants. Additionally, it also helps determine your eligibility for work-study programs and federal student loans.

early as allowed, which is January 1st of the same year in which you intend to enroll or re-enroll. This timing allows schools to start looking at your financial aid needs around the same time they are making (early) admissions decisions. Additionally, the federal aid allotted to students enrolling in the upcoming year is at its maximum at the start of the year, possibly increasing the potential for you to receive a larger piece of the pot. Now you may ask – what if I or my parents (or equivalent) have not completed our federal tax filings by January 1? There is no need to have completed the prior year’s federal tax filing at this time. You just need to have the reasonable estimates of income and expenses and intend to file them by the required April 15th tax-filing deadline. FAFSA does not always require federal income tax filing verification, however, you want to make sure that in the event you are asked, you can present the filings as requested without delay. It is important to note that certain states and specific universities have filing deadlines that are different than the June 30th submission deadline. As you research your selected University’s admission application requirements, please take the time to understand the financial aid application deadline as well. FAFSA should be completed for all schools by the earliest required date for any one University. However, if you follow the rule to complete your application on or about January 1st, you will never run the risk of missing any application deadline.

"applying for the FAFSA is absolutely free."

How do I complete the FAFSA?

As it states in the name, applying for the FAFSA is absolutely free. Applications can be completed 1) online – which is the most recommended option because it offers speed, convenience, and accuracy – 2) by PDF via mail or 3) by requesting a paper FAFSA by phone. Before starting your application, you should gather all key financial information about yourself, or if you are a dependent, about those that are the head of your household. Key information includes, full names, birthdays, addresses, sources of income including investments and alimony, and potentially, Federal tax filings for the prior calendar year. You only have to complete one FAFSA. Within that application, you should list every institution to which you have applied or intend to apply. If things change along the way, it is ok, as you may go back and make edits. However, it is advised that you have a good idea of which universities you plan to submit applications prior to the initial submission.

"you should complete the FAFSA application as early as allowed"

When should I complete the FAFSA?

Generally speaking, the FAFSA deadline, no matter what University or location, is due by June 30 of the summer prior to the start of the school fiscal year. However, as a rule of thumb, you should complete the FAFSA application as

Where do I find the FAFSA application?

The FAFSA application can be found on the website for Federal Financial Aid at https://fafsa. or a request for application (or for more information) can be made by calling 1-800- 4FED-AID. §

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 35



Hunger Action Month brings attention to the reality of food insecurity and hunger.

Here, in the Mid-South, more than 418,000 people are not sure if they will have enough food to eat today. Visit to find out how you can help.

239 South Dudley, Memphis, TN 38104 901-527-0841 â&#x20AC;˘

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 37 FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION: 901.849.7714


WDIA Radio Uniting Cultures Through the Airwaves



I’ve got to admit… this has been fun… writing retroSOUL each month. Challenging, yes… but fun. Sometimes I’m challenged by deadlines, and I can’t seem to convince the editor and publisher just to wait on me (Does it really matter if the August issue comes out in October? It’s too hot to read in August, anyway.). However I do get “gentle reminders”

retroSOUL Speaking of Rock ‘n’ Soul… a fun story. I first contacted the Southern Soul editor and publisher last Fall. The magazine appeared on the stand at Kroger in Poplar Plaza (free plug… grocery discount, please), and it was really slick. I asked for a meeting, because I wanted to pitch Rock ‘n’ Soul to the editor for a possible story, maybe even a cover story (remember, I’m a marketing guy… we love free plugs… possible marketing insult number two).

Nat Williams Handy Park

"WDIA-AM brought a city together..."

via email. Plus, retroSOUL has been a great educational experience for me, too (and hopefully so for some of you). It’s been mentioned a time or two that I’m closely associated with the great Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum… and now the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, too. So, many people think I write these 1,000 – 1,500 word columns (that’s assigned by the previously mentioned editor) straight from my vast knowledge. To be honest, I actually came from a marketing background (a career not necessarily known for “vast knowledge” … sorry, Editor, I might have just alienated the marketing industry readers). So I have to study about these musicians each month, which not only helps me complete the column (though not always on time) but it also helps to make me sharper in my job at Rock ‘n’ Soul!

40 | Southern Soul l September 2015

In Memphis, unless you have Stax in your name, a lot of tourists assume you’re just another Elvis museum. Through the exhibit developed by The Smithsonian Institution, Rock ‘n’ Soul also tells how black music in Memphis changed the world (and created rock ‘n’ roll and Elvis!). A funny thing happened toward the end of our meeting. The editor and publisher asked if I would consider writing a monthly music column (see, they thought I was a real museum guy… but being a marketing guy instead, I still saw the opportunity to drop the occasional mention of Rock ‘n’ Soul, like I’ve already done six times so far in this one article!). But, sitting across the desk from them, before I agreed, I had to ask, “You do know that I am white?” They assured me that was obvious (and if you’ve looked at the “Contributors” photos at the front of this magazine, you’d agree that I could possibly pass for the whitest-looking person ever). It reminded me, however, about something for which our city should be hugely proud – something I’m reminded of every time I stroll through the galleries at Rock ‘n’ Soul. The music of this great city brings us together. It has for decades. Doesn’t matter whether we’re listening to Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” or The Rolling Stones’ “Jumping Jack Flash”… when we jam, whether we’re black or white… we just jam, regardless of color. However, one small disclaimer, please. Have you witnessed when a sold out audience of 18,000 folks at a Grizzlies game chants “Whoop That Trick” in victory? Would somebody please explain that to my Caucasian brethren? Some things are just wrong.

retroSOUL And this phenomena of jamming together, whether black or white (or Asian or Latino… didn’t mean to exclude) isn’t anything new. This unity wasn’t just recently created by Grizzlies management intent upon getting white guys in button-downs to wave towels and chant Al Kapone lyrics. Stax has been doing it for half a century… look at The MarKeys, The Bar-Kays, The Memphis Horns, Booker T. and the MG’s. Even more world changing… and unifying… look at WDIA Radio. Over the past nine months, I’ve already had the opportunity to write about Rufus Thomas and B.B. King, both musical legends who had direct ties to what should be considered the most significant radio station in the world. While ever diligent in always protecting the interests and well-being of its African-American core audience, WDIA-AM brought a city together. Rufus Thomas was quoted as saying, “I was a disc jockey at WDIA, and white teenagers used to listen to me all the time… when their parents wouldn’t let them listen.” Then why do you think that WHBQ-AM broke format and allowed a rambunctious Dewey Phillips to play black music during his popular evening time slot, and eventually introduce Elvis to the airwaves? Because radio… and music… and WDIA… allowed Memphians to forget about whether they were black or white, and just listen to great music. In 1947, owners Dick Ferguson and John Pepper launched WDIA from a studio on Union Avenue. They played a mix of pop, country, western and light classical. The format didn’t do so well, and by 1948 the station was on the verge of bankruptcy. I can’t understand why – I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I have craved a great Gene Autry tune followed by Beethoven. But, then, I’m white… just like Ferguson and Pepper… and it would be another 57 years before “Whoop That Trick” would be released. The two men then did something desperate in a strictly segregated Southern society. They forgot about color, and went with music. They hired the first black radio announcer in Memphis. Little did they know about the untapped power of the underserved African-

Nat Williams and Isaac Hayes, 1975 American community, or the world-changing potential of African-American music. Nathanial Dowd Gaston Williams was actually born on Beale Street. Almost 41 years later, to the day, at 4:00 pm, he began broadcasting his very first Tan-Town Jamboree on WDIA. “Well, yes-siree, it’s Nat Dee on the Jamboree, coming at thee on seventy-three (on the dial), WDIA. Now, whatchubet.” That was always followed by his trademark full-bellied laugh and then ninety minutes of rhythm and blues. Nat D. Williams was already a mainstay on Beale Street, hosting the popular amateur night at The Palace Theater on Beale Street (Memphis’ version of the Apollo Theater in Harlem). He held degrees from Northwestern and Columbia; he was a writer for two newspapers and editor for a third. For 42 years (that’s right… 42 years) he taught history and social studies at Booker T. Washington High School, but also coached the pep squad, edited the school newspaper, and assisted with senior speeches. In his spare time, he taught Sunday School, sang in the church choir, led a Boy Scout troop, and organized the annual Tri-State Fair. He had a wife and two kids. Oh, and also, his little Tan-Town Jamboree pulled WDIA from bankruptcy to number two in the Memphis market… in one year.

"Williams’ success with just one radio program convinced the owners to make WDIA America’s first blackformatted radio station..."

It wasn’t all that easy, though. The station even received bomb threats, however

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 41

retroSOUL from being played. “They said blacks wouldn’t listen to Elvis,” said Thomas. “I tried to play him, I tried to tell them. No one can speak for a whole group.”

Al Bell, DJ - KOKY, Arkansas

“...hordes of white teenagers discovered a love for rhythmic music...”

Williams’ success with just one radio program convinced the owners to make WDIA America’s first black-formatted radio station, with an all African-American onair staff, programming black music all day long. Nat D. brought along Rufus Thomas, who had also hosted at The Palace Theater. Rufus recalled how, originally, white staff manned the control boards in the studio, and black announcers only spoke on the microphone. He wouldn’t truly consider it a black-formatted radio station until even that segregation ended. They were followed by familiar voices and names like Martha Jean “The Queen” Steinberg (who became the first black woman in the country to own a radio station), Theo “Bless My Bones” Wade, Maurice “Hot Rod” Hulbert, Ford Nelson, Robert “Honeyboy” Thomas, and others. B.B. King began his career on WDIA, recognizing that familiarity could help him land gigs. He even recorded one of his first singles right there at the radio station during off hours. And, brace yourself, the global launch of rock ‘n’ roll began when hordes of white teenagers discovered a love for rhythmic music (that their parents hated) and started flocking to WDIA. Rufus Thomas remembered playing the first Elvis record on WDIA. From 1953 until 1956, management prohibited Elvis

42 | Southern Soul l September 2015

And the musical revolution wasn’t just happening at WDIA. WHBQ tried to lure white teenage listeners back to its airwaves from WDIA by also changing its evening format to rhythmic music, becoming the first to play and interview Elvis Presley. Because of Phillips’ style on the microphone and Elvis’ singing style, listeners at first assumed both were African-American. Across the river at KWEM-AM, little known artists like Howlin’ Wolf, Ike Turner, Joe Hill Lewis and others took advantage of the station’s “pay-to-play” policy which, for low cost, provided airtime exposure for rising musicians while funding station operations. At Memphis’ legendary WLOK-AM, deejay Al Bell came from KOKY in Arkansas before leaving WLOK to become partner and later president of Stax Records, making it the second largest AfricanAmerican owned business in the country. In the words of iconic Memphis music producer, Jim Dickinson, who wasn’t just speaking musically, but socially as well, when he said, “The world was just about to change.” Each month, in my final paragraph, a little retroSOUL assignment gives you the great opportunity of accomplishment. For example, in this column alone, I “accomplished” mentioning Rock ‘n’ Soul eight times and Kroger once (job security and, possibly, double points on my next purchase). Sometimes the “accomplishment” is easy, like jamming to an Ann Peebles hit. Since great accomplishment didn’t come easy for either Nat D. Williams or WDIA, however, neither should it for you! Let’s break down barriers. First, musically: this week expand your horizons and spend ten minutes listening to three different radio formats or stations to which you never listen (come on… a little country never killed anyone… might make you drink, but won’t kill you). Secondly, and tougher (I dunno, Taylor Swift is pretty tough)… this week spend ten minutes in conversation with three folks who are not racially like you. Learn something. And until next month… “Ima make these suckas recognize…” §

MEET, EAT & REPEAT. The Crescent Club is where leaders forge relationships and are enriched through family, community and philanthropy in the spirit of moving Memphis forward.

SEPTEMBER EVENTS Thursday, September10 GPAC Artist Reception 6:30 - 8pm

Thursday, September17 Wine Tasting

6:30 - 8pm $30++

Friday, September 18

Women On The Move Luncheon | Dress For Success 11:30am - 1pm $15++ for Members $20 for Non Members

Tuesday, September 22 Money Matter$ Forum 5:30pm - 7pm

Elite panelist discuss Obamacare.

Wednesday, September 23 Exhale Spa Escapes

11:30am - 2pm Free for Members $10 for Non Members Enjoy a break from work with a stress-freeing back and/or hand massage during your lunch break.

Saturday, September 26

Charity Classic Silent Auction/Gala "A Night At The Crescent Club" 7pm - 10pm

6075 Poplar Ave., Suite 909 | Memphis, TN 38119 | 901.684.1010

With over 20 education partners, we have the resources to help you become a future graduate. College Resource Center | Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (901) 415-2774 |


Lessons in Child Hunger



In the United States today, nearly 16 million children face hunger. Consequently, one in five kids faces greater obstacles to reach their fullest potential. The United States Department of Agriculture’s 2014 annual report states that 8.6 million children live in foodinsecure households. “Food-insecure household” is a phrase to describe a

home with limited or uncertain access to enough nutritious food for all the household members to lead active and healthy lives. Parents often must make hard choices when there is not enough money to pay bills and buy food. Meat and other proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread and milk can be very expensive items for families

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 45

Community on a limited budget. Statistics evidence that a vast majority of food-insecure children do not receive meals other than the meals received at or during school. In short, most foodinsecure children go without food on weekends and some, unfortunately receive limited food during the entire summer school break. Studies have shown that child hunger is an education issue because hungry children are not prepared to learn, lack concentration, and perform poorly on standardized tests. Child hunger is also a social issue because hungry children have more behavioral problems and it is a health issue because hungry children are more prone to illnesses, which cause school absenteeism. Studies have also shown child hunger often does not end with childhood. The effects can last into adolescence and adulthood. But children who learn about basic nutrition at a young age carry that knowledge with them as they grow.

"Child hunger is an education issue because hungry children are not prepared to learn, lack concentration, and perform poorly on standardized tests." 46 | Southern Soul l September 2015

Shelby County is the proud home of the Mid-South Food Bank (â&#x20AC;&#x153;Food Bankâ&#x20AC;?), which services 31 counties. Within the 31 county service area, 25.3% of children are food insecure. In 2006, the Food Bank created the Food for Kids BackPack Program. The Program provides a backpack filled with nutritious food for children to take home on the weekend during the school year. Program eligibility is offered to those students receiving free or reduced-price school meals. Each backpack contains three wholesome meals plus snacks for each day of the weekend. Food is single-serve, easy to open and

requires little or no preparation. A typical Food for Kids Backpack contains single-serve cereal, shelf stable milk, protein entrees of canned tuna or chicken, beef stew or beans and franks, vegetables, fruit and fruit juice and healthy snacks of peanut butter crackers and granola bars. Each backpack also contains a fun puzzle or coloring page about food groups, making healthy food choices or how to properly wash hands before meals. The BackPack Program is provided in Memphis, Germantown, Covington, Brownsville, and Jackson in Tennessee, and Tunica, White Oak, Dundee and Batesville in Mississippi. Over 2,000 children receive the backpacks during the school year. Several of the programs also operate during the summer. The programs are available at schools; Boys & Girls Clubs; Girls Inc. locations; and, other after-school programs. Each year, participants complete a survey asking food preferences and overall operation suggestions. From the survey results, the Food Bank has tailored the BackPack Program to meet the demands of serving diverse communities and by considering cultural differences with food selections for some locations. For example, in Memphis, one community has a high Hispanic population. Backpacks assigned to that community contain food that will be appealing to those students. Some items, such as bran flakes that get soggy too fast, were dropped, while others, such as red beans and rice, were added. In the past few years, the Food Bank began adding fresh produce


When hunger threatens the future of a child, it threatens the future of our nation as well. to the BackPack distribution. This practice was a big hit. For some children, this was their first time experiencing new kinds of food. Recently, the Food Bank introduced fresh plums; followed with red pears. The students were skeptical at first, but the next week they were asking for more. The Food Bankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Food for Kids BackPack Program would not exist without the help of dedicated sponsors. Currently, AutoZone; Buckman International; Cargill; Idlewild Presbyterian Church; Germantown Presbyterian Church; Hope Church; MGM Resorts; and, Baptist Memorial Health Care sponsor the Program. Thousands of kids still remain food insecure and more sponsors are needed to offer

the Food For Kids BackPack Program to all. To make a contribution - visit www. Choose your desired denomination and frequency, then select Feeding Children under the special purpose designation drop menu. The Food for Kids BackPack Program is a win-win-win: for children, for parents and for teachers. Each week, the students look forward to a backpack full of good food. They really enjoy it and it gives parents one less thing to worry about, knowing their children will have food. Students are not hungry when they arrive at school on Monday and are focused and ready to learn. Everybody wins! The future of America lies in our children. When hunger threatens the future of a child, it threatens the future of our nation as well. §

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 47


We’ve been friends for a long time – before we could even spell “mammogram.” Make a pact with a friend to support each other in getting regular mammograms. Then follow through. Call 1-844-SIS-PACT or log on to for more information. Ask a doctor if a mammogram is right for you. TM


Patrice Robinson & Lois Gilder

Life Dedicated to Education a


Serving Her Community

Patrice J. Robinson



If there was a movie, “The Patrice Jordan Robinson Story,” the early scene would take place with Patrice in the third grade at Norris Elementary School. Little Patrice, braids and ribbons, crisp clean dress, and crayons - going through her day chattering away with non-stop talking and acting up in class. This behavior painted the path Patrice was destined to follow until something remarkable happened. Little Patrice’s teacher, Mrs. Lois Gilder, visited her parents, the Late Rev. Ammon Jordan, Jr. and Rosetta Jordan. Mrs. Jordan, sat quietly as Mrs. Gilder explained, “Patrice is acting up in class

because she is covering up the fact that she really doesn’t know how to read. I am willing to come here a couple days a week and teach her phonetics and we can get her reading up to grade level.” Mrs. Jordan gratefully agreed and with Mrs. Gilder’s patience and tutoring, Little Patrice improved in reading. That single teacher’s visit defined Patrice Jordan Robinson more than any other moment. Living by Mrs. Gilder’s example, Robinson believes in doing the extra things for others just as Mrs. Gilder did for her. For more than thirty years, Patrice dedicated herself to bettering the Memphis community.

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 49


and the breadth of programs offered. “The center offered places for teenagers and the community to hang out,” she said. “There were typing and computer classes, after-school homework and studying sessions, tutoring sessions, and even GED programs.”

Jackie and Patrice Robinson

“It’s a delicate balance and I always strive to keep that balance while continuing to move forward helping others.” In her first job, Robinson taught professional development at Memphis Industrialization and Opportunities Center. There, Patrice learned helping others is not always the “easy” choice. “It was a unique program in which the students were paid for training, but only if they achieved passing grades,” Robinson said. “Some students thought I would give a good grade whether the grades were earned or not because a good grade meant a paycheck. That was not how I saw it.” The reaction - Robinson’s car windows were broken and her tires slashed. She learned, progress would always have detractors and you must continue helping others even facing adversity. “You must move forward at a steady pace and always pay attention to how the public reacts,” she said. “It’s a delicate balance and I always strive to keep that balance while continuing to move forward helping others.” A few years later, Patrice joined Memphis City Schools as a vocational instructor at the Dr. Martin Luther King Educational and Cultural center. She lights up when talking about her time there noting the impact it had 50 | Southern Soul l September 2015

Six years later, Patrice found a home with MLGW where she dedicated almost twenty years at MLGW as a training coordinator, and later – Supervisor of Assessment and Development. She always sought the best candidates and always looked out for every employee’s best interest.

Although most of Robinson’s career surrounded educating and developing teens and adults, she found time to supervise MLGW’s Weekend Academy Program with educational opportunities for inner city children grades 3 to 5. On Saturdays, the program transports children from their communities to MLGW University to participate in experiences unavailable in their neighborhoods or local schools. Robinson said, “I love to see the light bulbs go off when they learn something new. There is nothing like seeing the zeal for learning in a child’s eyes.” Robinson remains an active participant with the program as a Weekend Academy Board member. During her tenure at MLGW, Robinson became a member of the Memphis City School Board (MCS). The spark that led Robinson to the MCS Board was a meeting with then MCS Board member, TaJuan StoutMitchell. Stout-Mitchell, who was leaving the MCS Board, described what she thought would be an ideal candidate to replace her. As Robinson sat listening, she heard many of her own abilities and qualities mentioned. “That meeting was the start,” she said “But, it was also events surrounding my son and the optional school he attended.” Around that same time, Robinson became disappointed with school administrators for their handling of a family trip to Puerto Rico. Robinson advised the school of the family trip and proposed her son’s time away from school should not count against


Left: Chanlel 5 Interview Spearheading Selma Celebration Trip; upper, right: Association of Blacks In Energy Tour 2013; lower, right: MAHS School Legislative Visit 2014

“Every aspect of life is an educational experience. Education supplies a civic attentiveness that strives to improve the aptitude and condition of our children and our neighbors.” his attendance because she would assure he kept up with assignments; would do extra credit work reflecting what he learned on the trip; and, would remain abreast with his class. The administrators declined. After this experience coupled with her meeting with Stout-Mitchell, she decided to run for MCS board and won. On the school board, Robinson was the voice of reason for the students, parents, and the community. She was the person who went the extra mile, who visited parents’ homes, and, the person who forged a path for Memphis’ children to gain valuable experiences and a more tailored and involved education. Patrice served over thirteen years as a MCS Board member (which later became the Shelby County Schools Board). Reflecting on her tenure in education, Robinson says, “Every aspect of life is an educational experience. Education supplies a civic attentiveness that strives to improve the aptitude and condition of our children and our neighbors.” Listening to her community, an overwhelming majority advised they no longer wanted to pay dual taxes for

education. The process required the merger of Memphis and Shelby County school systems. Robinson helped to place the merger decision before the community for a vote to ensure continued funding for the city’s educational system. Robinson has proven a strong foundation in improving our education system. She created, developed, and implemented several programs during her tenure with MCS Board. Among her programs are the Middle School mentoring program, CONNECT, the Memphis City Schools Foundation, now called SchoolSeed, (which provides supplemental income that impacts students in the classrooms) and Literacy in Faith-based Training (L.I.F.T.) (which provides literacy instruction for teachers in faith-based organizations to improve children’s reading skills in their local churches). These achievements on the school board reflect what Robinson has done her entire professional career - planted seeds in the community. Helping people learn and grow. After giving the bulk of one’s life to others, one could stop, rest, and take a breather. But that’s not Patrice Robinson. Southern Soul l September 2015 | 51


Left: Robinson family at daughter's wedding; upper, right: Memphis Health Center Ground Breaking Ceremony, 2014; lower, right: Reading Day LIFT Faith Teacher Learning Academy

She is now running for Memphis City Council to become the experienced voice of reason, a position for which she is uniquely qualified to serve her community and the opportunity to plant more seeds for the people in the city she loves. “We deserve the best in our communities,” she said. “We deserve a transparent government. I know I can help and make a difference, even in the often slow-moving, frustrating procedures of the council. I can’t say I’m going to go in and change everything,” she said. “It’s a council, not a dictatorship. But, I can say we need progress and we can make progress and I will help create that progress.”

why? Because big box stores think ‘we’ don’t spend money in our own neighborhoods. We can fix the economic presence in our community with a local-centric attitude. This will increase our pride. We will shop local in our own community. We can keep the dollars, both private and public, invested inside the community. We can place a considerable amount of capital into ourselves and our communities if we make it a priority to invest where we live.”

"...We can place a considerable amount of capital into ourselves and our communities if we make it a priority to invest where we live.”

Living in District 3 the majority of her life, Robinson wants to continue serving the families of those living there. “This is the community we chose to live and raise our children and we can fortify our community through a combination of smart choices and strategic investments made by city leaders.” Robinson knows that community investment is also an essential element for the community. “There is not one sit-down, chain restaurant in Whitehaven,” she said. “There’s not a Macy’s to get a pair of work shoes. And

52 | Southern Soul l September 2015

Robinson will consistently raise her hand for her community and its needs. “Safety is about more than just police officers,” she said. “Economic growth is about more than a just a new business, and community growth is about more than just parks and schools. The root, the foundation of every community is education.” If someone wrote “The Patrice Jordan Robinson Story,” the first act would tell the story of a thirty-year career helping others, a long-lasting and loving marriage, and, an almost two-decade service on the school board. The second act would tell of more community service, more dedication to her community’s education system, more focus on her community’s economic growth; and a safer, secure, and peaceful community. Look for the Patrice Jordan Robinson Story… the best act is yet to come. §

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54 | Southern Soul l September 2015



EDUCATING OUR COMMUNITY Seeing the Forest Through the Trees



In 2010, our community made history with the largest school district consolidation in American history . . . consolidating two school systems; two conflicting entities; and, two sets of administrators, teacher organizations, operating staffs. The whirlwindâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s result was the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 14th largest school district. Smack dab in the midst of the storm, one man anchored the shifting tide providing strategic advice and counsel throughout the merger process. That man, - Dorsey E. Hopson, II.

Uniting a deeply rooted racial divide in our community; bridging various community cultures and classes; developing a system that educates a diverse student population; responding to an entire community’s needs rather than those blessed with socio-economic advantage; and, lastly, preventing a repeat of the 1973 white flight school system abandonment -- all while extracting the best of both systems and maintaining the integrity of the overall school system, was the task Hopson undertook. Carrying on his shoulders the weight of our community’s future, our children, he is responsible for implementing decisions with long-term impact on our community holding the power to shape our future and push our community forward. Dorsey E. Hopson, II, born and raised in Memphis, is a proud graduate of Whitehaven High School. He received his Bachelors of Arts (with honors) from the University of Memphis and received his Juris Doctor (Magna Cum Laude) from Georgia State University School of Law. Hopson began his legal career in Atlanta representing national corporate and government clients in employment matters. He left the firm to serve as Associate General Counsel for the Atlanta Public Schools and later, the Clayton County School System. In 2008, Hopson returned 56 | Southern Soul l September 2015

to Memphis with his family to become General Counsel for Memphis City Schools. Under his leadership, Memphis City Schools was awarded a $57.4 million dollar judgment against the City of Memphis in a landmark case involving educational funding. In 2013, Hopson became the first Superintendent of the newly merged Shelby County Schools. Southern Soul was fortunate to catch up with Superintendent Dorsey E. Hopson, II and get his thoughts on moving our county’s education system forward.

SS: You have had two years of numerous changes within the school system. What changes in the school system’s future will signal a promising and/or different change from previous years? DH: I would start by saying we will receive our state

achievement scores in the next week or so, and I think the results will be promising. What the scores will evidence is that in every category with the exception of reading, the district improved in terms of its proficiency and performance. That is exciting and encouraging; we still have a long way to go, but I think we are on the right track. You’re going to see improvements that outpace the state’s gains in really all categories. I also would like to highlight


the success of our iZone. Essentially, what happens in our state education system, the state assesses and groups chronically underperforming schools and determines whether to act on the option to operate the schools under the state Achievement School District (ASD). We (Shelby County Schools “SCS”) have our version of the ASD that we operate in-house which is termed iZone. Our iZone has proven to be one of the most successful school turn-around models in the country. Last year, it had high double-digit gains across the board in every subject for the most part, and we expect that success to continue. Those are the indicators that suggest we are on the right track and that students really can achieve at a high level when they are pushed the right way. However, before assessing the next year’s results, we must factor the new standards that will be in place. Over the years, Common Core Standards has been tossed around as a plan of action. It has Ten Core Standards and they will be in full effect next school year. This will affect the way students are tested and assessments will be totally different. Instead of having students answering multiple-choice questions, students will be asked to read more, think more deeply, demonstrate more comprehension, write more, and retain a better grasp of really deep issues.

SS: Will the Common Core Standards be in line with the

SAT as opposed to the ACT?

DH: The shift is going to require students to really

analyze information as opposed to just memorizing it. And then, have the ability to explain all sides of an issue; have the ability to identify text and other facts in support of their position; and fully support any conclusions they make. Currently, students select answers from an A, B, C, D multiple-choice format. This school year, the format will be more in line with - here are the facts; break it down; analyze it; and, explain it. What is seen over the country with the Common Core standards (which has been tested in numerous states) and what is traditionally found with the testing is that school systems implementing the Common Core have large dips in scores because it’s a new methodology. We can expect a dip also. In fact, when Tennessee changed its standards a few years back, there was a big dip in scores. What I want our community to know is while the scores statewide will probably take a step back (because of the new standards), it’s actually not bad news. It is progress. The new testing

will assure our students are able to compete with other students across the entire country. In the past, standards in Tennessee and Alabama for example, were much lower than standards in California or Massachusetts offering a false sense of reality. What the Common Core Standards essentially mandates is that all students across the county focus on the very same set of high standards. Our students can then compete on a national level.

SS: I think that indicates our school system would have a lot of “catch up” to do. How will we accomplish that? How can we close that gap? DH: Yes, but before I answer that, a bigger issue that we have here in Memphis and Shelby County is that are kids consistently don’t demonstrate a high level of proficiency in the area of reading. Research shows that children learn how to read up to the 3rd grade and read to learn after the 3rd grade. The problem in our system, we only have about a third of our students in the 3rd grade reading at or over a 3rd grade level. They are constantly in “catch up” mode. With the deep analysis that is required with Common Core and the required ability to read for understanding, it does raise some concerns about how quickly we will be able to get our students proficient on this new assessment. However, I do know that if you set high expectations for kids and push them, they can achieve at high levels. The iZone is a perfect example. The schools in our iZone had several years of 5, 6, and 7% of its student body rated proficient. That leaves 93% of the kids in the school not proficient. Now, with the iZone impact and the intense support and demand for high expectation and excellence, the students have risen to the occasion very quickly. We expect that as long as we set those high expectations and then provide the schools and students with the support they need, then we will get there. It’s not an excuse but simply a reality. We have so many kids living in extreme poverty. I think the last figure I saw was about 40,000 students live in households where the household income was $10,000 or less. When you have that level of suffocating poverty, it creates different challenges that other kids don’t have. In those circumstances, you can find students that may be twelve or thirteen assuming the role of caretaker for their younger siblings while mom is working. Or, you can find students dealing with violence and gang issues and numerous circumstances that just distract a student from being

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 57


able to focus on education the way we would want to. But having said that; there are so many instances of kids coming from those backgrounds that not only achieve but also achieved at very high levels. The challenges we face surrounding literacy and the other types of challenges a large number of our students face will prove an up-hill battle as we shift to new standards. However, I’m confident, with the right support and the right goal settings and right expectation settings, our kids can get there.

SS: One reason that is often raised as a reason for some schools in our system failing is the lack of support from families. How do we overcome that issue? How would you suggest we get parents involved in the education process and not the complaining process? DH: You are absolutely right. There is a correlation

between parental involvement and student achievement. Even with the poorest of the poorest kid, if their parents are involved in supporting them, those kids rise to the occasion and they will be successful.

SS: How do we engage the community? DH: Me, as the leader, and the school system have to do

a better job of engaging our families and communities. And I say this knowing it is a difficult challenge. We really do try. We have a Family/Community Engagement Committee that has good strategies in place. But, at the same time, we know that some of the strategies acted upon for the last decade have not worked. We have to work smarter, become more pro-active, and sharper about the way we engage our families. Frankly, we struggle with that, as do most urban districts. One thing we have done to encourage parents to get involved - we created a program, Parent University, which essentially supports/teaches parents various strategies on how to support their children in the context of education. Many of our families don’t know how to support their kids in school such as joining the PTA, how to provide homework support, or how to help with homework (even if they lack the skillset). We launched this program last year; but on a small scale and it didn’t quite jump off the way we planned. We plan a larger approach this year. Another strategy to engage the community is through our ties with the faith-based community. We have no shortage of churches in Shelby County and many of them are directly connected to the schools. There are many churches that want to help. Through our Family/Community Engagement Program, we are revamping the way we 58 | Southern Soul l September 2015

work and connect with churches. For example, there is a big push to raise our literacy rate. Churches oftentimes provide before and after care assistance. If our program could get the churches to align their curriculum with SCS, that would be a huge accomplishment. For families without technology in their homes, churches could offer computer usage during the before and after care. In short, the greatest challenge is to determine a way for schools, particularly chronically underperforming schools, to be more inviting to families. What I have learned is parents want to be involved but there are all sorts of circumstances that prevent involvement such as they may be embarrassed because they didn’t graduate from high school or maybe they don’t know the right questions to ask or answers to give. This is just a hint at some of the problems we face with getting families engaged.

SS: I have found, after asking numerous graduating students, that our kids tend to select local (or abutting regional) schools for their post-secondary education. I’m not saying this is a poor choice, but there are excellent schools around the nation that our students don’t consider. Is this by design? How can we get counselors to expose kids to other schools? DH: Great point. We have had students receive a full ride to Ivy League schools but decide to attend a state school. We ask our school leaders to challenge their students and to push them to seek the best schools available. Because most of our kids lack exposure, they turn to their counselors (who may have attended a local or regional school), and often are steered to a familiar comfort zone school. SS: Well, that raises another question. Regarding the iZone schools, how are we preparing iZone students for college readiness? DH: The state measures achievement on TCAP test results (below, proficient, advanced). The iZone schools start with 12% proficient requiring it receive additional support. The extra supports are how we focus to address those issues. The most important person in education (outside of families) is the teacher. The most important person at the school is the school leader. What the iZone does is recruit a dynamic school leader who in turn recruits dynamic teachers. The mission of iZone is to take schools that are in the bottom 5% proficiency and move them to the top 25% within five years. Currently, about 70% of the schools are on track.


SS: In some instances, we have

an iZone school feeding students to another iZone school. Does that hinder the student’s progress and/or achievement?

DH: No. It doesn’t hinder a student’s progress. It actually allows students to achieve at a faster pace. The iZone program includes extended learning time, alternative curriculum and specialized teacher support and development. When students leave one iZone school and enroll in another iZone school, they are accustomed to the longer school schedule and adding support and resources. I don’t think there is a negative connotation for a school being an iZone. At the end of the day, if the school has been chronically underperforming, iZone is just a designation we give the schools needing more support than others do. SS: What impact will the Achievement School District (ASD) have on Shelby County Schools? DH: The ASD is their own school district with about 27 schools in Memphis. Obviously, one of the largest impact to SCS is fiscal. Another challenge to ASD is it really doesn’t have a governing body. That causes some concern. Generally, communities don’t like the idea of takeover or charter schools. One positive with ASD is the change in law made us focus more intensely and made us step our game up. Because, without ASD there is no iZone and, the good news … the iZone is greatly outperforming the ASD. SS: Are the better or seasoned teachers leaving for ASD or other schools? DH: There is no evidence we are losing a host of teachers to ASD. To the extent we do lose teachers, then that is a signal that we must push ourselves to becoming a great place to work.

SS: You took the helm of this school system in the midst of major chaos. Do you think the merger was a good thing? DH: I have mixed emotions. There were several positives during the merger process. But, it was a lot to go through in one year, then only to have our systems separated again. I think during the process, we got a chance to work with our colleagues in the suburbs and it resulted with both of us learning from each other. SS: Your administration has implemented the

Destination 2025 Initiative. What separates this initiative from past programs?

DH: Our system’s problems are so deep seated - poverty,

low achievement, literacy to name a few. We have a strategic plan that’s simple and doable but we must be focused in a very meaningful way.

SS: Tell us about you. DH: I feel very blessed and fortunate to be able to lead here. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be sitting here. Back at home after moving to Atlanta after Law School. When we moved here from Atlanta, I didn’t think of the move as long term. We didn’t even sell our home because we just knew we would return in a year or two. When asked to become the Superintendent, well, I am a praying man. I prayed and decided this must be God’s plan for me. So, here I am . . . ready for the next school year. §

Editor Note: It was an extreme pleasure meeting Superintendent Hopson. It is quite apparent that he has a deep passion for education and our community’s students. It is even clearer that he has a strategic plan and an initiative in place to improve our school system. On the Shelby County Schools website, it says, “[Hopson] strongly believes that every child can learn and that education is the great equalizer. He also believes that the key to student achievement is to ensure that every classroom has an effective teacher and every school has an effective leader.” Meeting him, you can’t help but know in your heart that our children, our future is secure with him at the helm. Lastly, I also had the pleasure of meeting Hopson’s beautiful wife, Lee, who also is an attorney and serves the community as a member of the Shelby County Legal Department. They have four wonderful children. Southern Soul l September 2015 | 59

Dr. Tracy Hall Southwest Community College Climbing New Heights By CHALISE MACKLIN Photography by BRYANT REDDICK


All great leaders can point to the moment he/she was inspired by someone or recall that special event that ignited a passion, sparked a drive, or fueled a dream. For Dr. Tracy Hall, President of Southwest Community College, the moment arrived while attending a conference for women of color in leadership positions or aspiring to be leaders. “My thoughts of being a (college) president started in 1997 when I attended a Kaleidoscope conference. So, I have been preparing for this moment for quite some time.” Dr. Hall’s moment is finally here. It is not just a dream come true, but, a dream marking a moment in history. She is the first African American

60 | Southern Soul l September 2015

woman to sit as President of Southwest Tennessee Community College. “It is an exciting opportunity and I am ready,” said Hall. “I am very honored to be the first African American female president. I know the importance of people who look like you showing you the possibilities of your life. Too many students are falling through the cracks. The role is to help people see the possibilities.” Dr. Hall arrives at Southwest armed with years of experience. A native of St. Louis, Dr. Hall was previously the Vice President for Academic Affairs at St. Louis (MO) Community College Forest-Park. She has a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a Master of Arts

from Wichita State University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Southwest is the largest community college in the state. Of course, with large sizes, large problems tag along. Southwest has the lowest graduation rate in the Tennessee Board of Regents System with a graduation rate teetering close to six percent. Recognizing this challenge, Dr. Hall explained that one of her initial areas of focus is student retention, graduation and the efficiency of resources. Undaunted by the statistics, Dr. Hall says, “It is critical to be forward thinking enough to prepare for what’s coming down the line and to be on the cutting edge. When people point to statistics that say students will or will not [achieve]. I say, why can’t they?”

Throughout her career, Dr. Hall has inspired multiple generations. “I am an educator at heart and in everything I do. My passion is in urban education. It is my calling to ensure that students of all ages and races particularly those from disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds have the opportunity to thrive on a level playing field,” said Hall. As Southwest President, Dr. Hall has a myriad of goals she wants to implement, but first on her agenda is to arrive and simply observe. “You first have to do your homework and assess where the college is. I have done my external homework and now I will do an internal assessment. I plan to have a lot of conversations with faculty, staff and students as well as businesses and stakeholders,” said Hall. Southern Soul l September 2015 | 61

When people point to statistics that say students will or will not [achieve]. I say,

why can’t they?

62 | Southern Soul l September 2015

Too many students are falling through the cracks. The role is to help people see the possibilities.” She will follow the assessment with implementation of strategies designed to improve the areas identified. Dr. Hall understands she must work beyond the walls of the college. She plans to strengthen and create partnerships with the community. Starting with the community’s guidance counselors, she plans to develop a strong relationship by incorporating a guidance counselor breakfast to share the college’s initiatives and programs. “It is crucial to be hands on and communicate with guidance counselors. They play a major role in the success of students and our programs,” Hall said. “I am a firm believer that tutoring and advising are critical to a student’s success and developing relationships with organizations that provide food and clothing to those in need. A student’s ability to succeed goes beyond the classroom,” said Hall.

Connecting with the people in the community is a must to Hall. “I come from a single parent household, so I know what it takes to beat the odds and achieve things people do not believe you can,” said Dr. Hall. “My husband, Anthony, is from Mississippi and I am from St. Louis. I know St. Louis is considered the mid-west but, there are similar things about St. Louis’ culture and the Southern culture. I believe people here will find it easy to relate to me.” As Hall settles into her new duties as President, she is focused on increasing the visibility of Southwest Community College, informing potential students of the benefits in attending a community college and why Southwest should not be seen as a secondary option, but as a first choice. Our meeting was brief, but, I walked away knowing Southwest is in good hands and I can’t wait to attend their largest graduation class ever . . . in 2016! § Southern Soul l September 2015 | 63

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64 | Southern Soul l September 2015



Changing Our School Systems On the Hill



The City of Memphis and the Great State of Tennessee are at an educational crossroads. The decisions our leaders, myself included, make will determine whether Memphis continues to be a world-class city. These aren’t just political decisions, rather, they are peoples’ decisions; they are historic decisions with implications for our most important asset—our children. Moreover, they are the ones who will be our judges and our rubric will be whether our education system adequately prepared them to compete not on a local or regional scale, but to compete in the new globalized economy and world community. So what can we do for public education in Memphis? What should be on our agenda going forward? Citizens must first educate themselves on education.

Reforms: Reform the Reformers In the last few years, we have seen so-called ‘education reformers’ come to power in our state. These individuals’ ideas about reform consist mainly of letting folks on Capitol Hill come to our city and county and take over our community schools. They do so with very little

oversight from the Tennessee Department of Education’s Achievement School District (ASD) and even less input from local community leaders and parents. The proposed ‘reforms’ are largely intended to help a small segment of the community, while the vast majority of our community’s children are required to remain in traditional public schools. When justifying reform, the ‘education reformers’ rely heavily on the number of failing schools located within our school system. These ‘reformers’ want to cast blame on our teachers or our parents for a lack of involvement with little or no regard of the fact that many of the failing schools are located in areas of extreme poverty. In these areas, parents work multiple jobs just to pay their rent and many teachers work a second-job to buy school supplies for their students. The ‘reformers,’ in short, are working around the edges of the problem without ever really addressing what actually ails our public schools. To rebut the reformer movement, there must be a comprehensive approach in scope, involving government agencies and non-governmental organizations, led by local educators and parents.

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Feature-OpEd If we want to blame someone for the state of public education in Memphis, we need look no further than the state of Tennessee.

Basic Education Program (BEP): FULL FUNDING Schools in Tennessee are funded by the Basic Education Plan. This plan was formulated in the early 1990’s and updated under Governor Phil Bredesen. It makes sure that each school district in Tennessee receives a set minimum amount of funds. We can also reform the BEP to make sure that cites like Memphis are getting our fair share of funding for, Shelby County Schools, the largest school system in the state.

In theory, the BEP system is a fair way to fund our schools and it makes sure all our children get a basic level of education. In practice, however, this funding formula has proven problematic. A recent report showed that in real terms, the BEP underestimates school costs by over $530 million annually in addition to the nearly $135 million it underestimates in actual classroom costs each year. Practically speaking, this means our schools are underfunded to the tune of $665 million and Shelby County school children are cheated out of approximately $55 million annually. When you look at this chronic underfunding and consider that Tennessee is already 48th or 49th in terms of per-student spending, you can quickly see a major problem facing our schools the Governor and General Assembly failing to put “their money where their mouth is.” The Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter Six teaches us “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” By failing to adequately fund our schools, Tennessee is taking the very heart out of public education.

"We cannot

afford to focus on a small segment of our kids in a few of our schools, while others are left behind."


VOUCHERS: LEA$ HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENT Despite the BEP’s chronic underfunding, some factions in our county want to take even more money out of public schools by way of a costly voucher program and without financial safeguards from the state to prevent our Local Education Agencies (LEAs) from bankruptcy. School vouchers or ‘opportunity scholarships,’ as they are often known, are based on the idea that we can improve public education by taking public tax dollars to send kids to private schools. Under a plan sponsored by Senator Brian Kelsey, students zoned to the Achievement School District (ASD) would get $7,000 each year to attend a private school of their choice, upon acceptance. Again, in theory, this sounds like a fine idea. In practice, however, this is a disaster for Shelby County’s most vulnerable students. Under a voucher plan, only a very limited number of students would actually receive funds to attend a private school. The overwhelming majority of our students would be left behind remaining in the ASD. The difference is, with vouchers, the ASD now has fewer dollars (after vouchers) to educate our children. That $7,000 voucher doesn’t appear out of thin air; it comes directly from the dollars intended for use in our lowest performing schools. In short, it makes the already huge underfunding problem even worse. Let’s also not forget or overlook the fact that $7,000 is a woefully insufficient amount for private school tuition. Those very, very few students who receive a voucher under the Kelsey plan would not be attending our top private schools such as Briarcrest ($14,000/year) or Memphis University School ($19,000/year). In fact, the average cost of private education in our city is a full $1,700 over what the state voucher would cover. Parents in our communities cannot afford to make up that difference and it is dishonest for proponents of vouchers to raise their hopes by suggesting otherwise. In 2016, I will offer legislation to mandate LEAs are held financially harmless by the state from voucher and charter school funding shifts.

PRE-K: PENNYWI$E If we are seeking “real” educational reforms let’s start by making pre-k a universal right for every child in this city.

For all the blame so-called ‘reformers’ place on teachers, the fact is that the average student starts kindergarten 18-months behind grade level. Educators can’t close this large gap in just one-year. This ultimately leads to an ever widening achievement gap, which all too often is split along racial and economic lines. Fixing this problem is no mystery. Over 100 studies have shown that access to early childhood education can reduce the achievement gap by more than one-third. Additionally, access to pre-k has the effect of significantly reducing the crime rate among youth and the teen pregnancy rate, while improving the high school graduation rate. From an economic standpoint, the news is even better. For each dollar we spend on pre-k, we see a seven dollar return on investment. That’s a better return than most Wall Street brokers see each year. And the amazing fact is that this kind of investment can actually save our state money. For each dollar we invest in early childhood learning, we save $13 in long-term care costs in areas such as incarceration, remedial education and welfare. It is a win-win situation for all.

PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT: TIME TO GO TO SCHOOL Public-Private Partnerships can act and really improve public education for every child. Businesses should allow parents four hours (at a minimum) of paid time off each year to participate in school activities. It is an established fact that parental involvement is a prime indicator of student success, but many parents have multiple jobs and no time off. If we incentivize parental involvement, outcomes will certainly improve. My point is this: we cannot afford to get education reform wrong. We cannot afford to focus on a small segment of our kids in a few of our schools, while others are left behind. The reformers are biting at the edges of the problem and leaving the core of the problem “as is,” but we must do better with a more comprehensive approach. That is my vision and it’s one I hope we’ll all work toward for the sake of our children. My message to Capitol Hill is simply this: Memphis and Shelby County have plenty of capable adults who can handle our own “grown-folks business.” §

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“A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.” – Bryant K. Reddick


Changing Memphis History Attorney Robert Spence


by PATRICIA CROSS photography by BRYANT REDDICK Often when we hear of champions, we look for him/her in the sports news section. Other times, we think of champions as overcoming a major obstacle to succeed where others failed. Rarely do we think of champions of justice, and even more rare to find he/she sitting quietly in the background crafting their next feat. Historically, justice occurs after group protests, collaborative movements, and/ or shifting paradigms. History also shows only a few opt to singlehandedly fight a wrong or take on local government for others and to answer justice’s clarion. Memphis has often changed the course of history. It birthed the blues, silenced a Civil Rights Leader, and home of the oldest high school band in America. Today, Memphis again changes history with its own champion of justice pursuing one goal -- to right a wrong. Silently in the background, but very much in the mix, is Attorney Robert Spence, a man of action – a fierce competitor and formidable ally. Whether he’s pursuing justice in a court of law, settling a civil dispute, fighting for his clients’ rights, or negotiating a corporate deal, Spence is always a champion of justice.

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 69

Soul Talks

“Spence is always a champion of justice.” justice.“ 70 | Southern Soul l September 2015

neighborhood and Shelby Farms. Following his example, two of his sons play basketball in various recreation leagues; his youngest son is an avid runner and tennis player (a game he and Spence played during his son’s high school years); and his daughter is a cheerleader. Although Spence enjoys family and sports, his passion is righting wrongs affecting others. People frequently ask him what type of law he practices. “I’m a trial lawyer,” he says. “I’m the guy who goes to court to fight for you.” “While I am a trial lawyer, my law practice is much broader than that,” Spence explains.

Although Spence is passionate about his profession, he doesn’t spend all his time working. “Being a lawyer is what I do; it’s not who I am,” says Spence. “I still think of myself as Robert, just an ordinary kid from Washington Hills in Chattanooga.” Arriving in Memphis in 1979 to study pharmacy at University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences, Spence recalls, “It was right after Elvis died. People were still in various states of mourning and it caused me to wonder: what’s with this strange city I’ve moved to.” It didn’t take long for Spence to grow to appreciate the quirkiness of Memphis and to make this soulful West Tennessee town home. After earning his Doctor of Pharmacy, Spence accepted a position with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, becoming St. Jude’s first African American pharmacist. But, while working fulltime at Walgreens, Spence heard another calling and enrolled in University of Memphis’ Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. An exemplary student, Spence earned a position on the Law Review and served as Associate Articles Editor. Spence was able to work fulltime, and complete law school by burning extra energy and keeping his head clear with basketball, both in the intramural league at UT and in the law league. “I’ve always been involved in sports of some kind,” explains Spence. “So my children grew up with it. When they were younger, I played basketball in the backyard with my sons and some of their friends from the neighborhood. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, we ran as a family, some weekends with a niece and nephew in tow. We work hard and we play hard,” says Spence of his family, a look of pride in his eyes. Today, you find Spence running the pavement with his wife, Dorchelle, or biking either the Greenline or the roads between his

A little more than a decade ago, as Memphis’ City Attorney, Spence penned and negotiated the agreement bringing the Grizzlies to Memphis - changing the city’s landscape and providing numerous opportunities for the city. Following his term as City Attorney, Spence opened the doors of The Spence Law Firm in 2003. “I wanted to create a law firm that could manage almost any legal issue that a person might encounter,” explains Spence. “While we really gear up for complex cases involving business disputes or medical malpractice or widespread systemic failures, I would feel disconnected from regular folks if I couldn’t help someone with a domestic matter or with a criminal case.” This ‘helping others’ philosophy is the foundation of Spence’s stellar reputation as an elite attorney. “Robert has a common touch,” says fellow attorney Regina Guy. “But he practices law at a level far exceeding any other lawyer I’ve ever worked with or litigated against.” “The wide variety of cases The Spence Law Firm handles is the most exciting part of working with Robert,” says attorney Bryan Meredith who assisted Spence with the class action “Beale Street Sweep” lawsuit. “In a single day I might work on a business dispute, a criminal matter, and a class action lawsuit.” To successfully litigate, negotiate, and resolve such a wide array of legal matters requires a great deal of focus and a tremendous amount of time. Juggling these characteristics, Spence is typically the first one in his office and mostly always the last to leave. “It’s impossible to out-work Robert,” says Kristina Woo, another attorney at The Spence Law Firm. “None of us can really keep up with him, though we do try.” Recently, Spence sought justice and fought ‘City Hall;’ and once again championed justice; altered Memphis history; and, forever changed the use of police power in Memphis.

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Soul Talks

“What the police in Memphis were doing was OUTRAGEOUS and a clear VIOLATION of citizens’ constitutional rights.” Today’s headlines are full of dangerous and often lethal interactions between citizens and police officers. Many end tragically and, much too frequently, are caused by longstanding police department systemic failures to properly train and educate officers or an unwillingness to address abuses of power and police misconduct. Others arise from a culture where citizens’ rights are abridged, but rather by police departments’ policies directing their officers’ actions and activities. For decades, Beale Street, a historic street in downtown Memphis lined with restaurants, clubs and shops, has been a place to gather socially to enjoy live music, bands, bars, food and people. It is a bustling, public pedestrian street located a few blocks from the grandeur of the mighty Mississippi River; a few blocks from the heart of downtown Memphis; and, a few blocks from City Hall. On the same street, however, merely standing on the street can turn from gaiety to a life-altering nightmare. On the historic Memphis street, harmful unlawful police actions occurred with great frequency and in plain view and apparently condoned and encouraged by the City. Two law enforcement officers took the courage to shine a floodlight on the City’s deplorable behavior and to bring the practice crashing down. The two men – Lakendus Cole and Leon Edmond – were both victimized by what is now known as the “Beale Street Sweep” – on different nights, under different circumstances – both for either standing or walking on Beale Street at or around 3 a.m. Mr. Cole and Mr. Edmond’s experiences were similar. Cole, an off-duty Memphis police officer, visited Beale Street in August 2012. After leaving a club around 2:45 a.m., Cole heard police officers announce “go in the club or leave the street.” Right outside the club was a kiosk selling pizza. Since the kiosk was open, behind guardrails, and operating with other individuals in line, Cole purchased a slice of pizza, but before taking a single bite, he and his cousin were forcibly grabbed and arrested by MPD officers who yelled “didn’t we tell you to get off the street!” Cole 72 | Southern Soul l September 2015

was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and vandalism over $500. The vandalism - damage to a police car when officers slammed Cole’s body against it. All charges were dismissed, but not before Cole was publicly embarrassed and humiliated through intense media coverage of his arrest; demoted at work leaving a promising law enforcement career in shambles; and saddled with a permanent arrest record that destroyed his future career goals because the arrest will follow him for life. Leon Edmond’s encounter was very much the same. In May 2012, while vacationing with family, Edmond, an offduty Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives federal agent, visited Beale Street. At around 3:00 a.m., Edmond heard MPD officers announce “either clear the streets or go into an establishment.” Edmond decided to leave Beale Street, but, as he began to leave, MPD officers confronted him, questioned him, and detained him for hours. He was later advised he was arrested for public intoxication, but was later released without charge. Both men sought Spence’s legal advice concerning their treatment at the hands of police officers. “I was appalled by the abuse of power being brazenly carried out on Beale Street by police officers,” says Spence. “The timing of the incidents and the boldness of the officers in both cases gave me cause to question whether this conduct was broader than just these two occurrences.” Spence researched the matters, found an abundance of corroborating stories, and set out to right the wrong against the many victims. With each story having a similar trend, each substantiating the other, Spence had the criteria needed for a class action lawsuit. “This behavior had to be stopped,” says Spence. “What the police in Memphis were doing was outrageous and a clear violation of citizens’ constitutional rights. The infractions went far beyond just two or four people; the behavior appeared to be rampant.” Nevertheless, filing a class action lawsuit could not be done lightly. Spence explains that very few class action lawsuits are filed and even fewer are actually

Soul Talks people off Beale Street at around 3:00 a.m. The practice involved MPD officers forming a line (standing shoulder to shoulder on foot, Segways, and, on horseback) at the intersection of Beale and Second Street and marching down Beale toward Fourth Street, ordering citizens to leave the street and sidewalks. Those who did not leave, or prepare to leave (quickly enough) were physically removed and often beaten before being arrested. “Keep in mind,” says Spence, “that no state law or city or county ordinance prohibits individuals from standing on Beale Street, or for that matter any other street in Memphis, at any hour whether it’s the middle of the day or the middle of the night.” When the practice began, the City plastered Beale Street with signs that MPD officers used as their authority to carry out the unlawful conduct. The signs read “No Loitering. Beale Street Cleared at 3:00 a.m. No Loitering.” According to Spence, those signs didn’t carry the force of law, meaning the individuals arrested as part of the Sweep had to be charged with something and that “something” was often falsified offenses such as Disorderly Conduct, Public Drunkenness, and Resisting Arrest.

It became SPENCE’S MISSION to put an end to the unlawful practice. certified by the courts. But given the seriousness of the violations, Spence believed he had to make the effort to seek justice for the victims. At the heart of Spence’s landmark case was whether the City of Memphis engaged in a practice on Beale Street that routinely violated the constitutional rights of citizens and led to thousands of unnecessary arrests, fabricated criminal charges, and sometimes even brutal beatings. The reason behind these arrests, charges, and beatings was simply the act of an individual standing on the sidewalk or street. It’s hard to accept that in 2015, a natural and nonthreatening action such as standing on a public sidewalk could result in a citizen’s brutal arrest. The appalling thought conjures images from the civil rights movement during the 50s and 60s when people were harassed, beaten, and ultimately arrested for similar innocuous offenses. It became Spence’s mission to put an end to the unlawful practice. During trial, the court determined the unlawful police practice dated as far back as 2007, when the Memphis Police Department began to routinely clear

“This fact made the officers’ and the City’s actions particularly egregious,” Spence says, “because it clearly demonstrated a plan and scheme to carry out a policy that was obviously unconstitutional while hiding the true reasons for the arrests behind fabricated charges. The unlawful behavior by those sworn to protect and to serve was appalling. It adversely and negatively affected the lives and livelihood of thousands of people.” The reason for such conduct Spence suspects was because the officers’ work shift was ending and the City did not want to pay overtime. Rather than paying overtime, the City decided to “clear” the street at 3:00 a.m. and arrest anyone who questioned why they were asked to leave. “This practice is even more absurd,” Spence contends, “because it was the City that convinced the legislators in Nashville to pass a special law (just for Memphis) allowing clubs on Beale Street to stay open to 5:00 a.m.” In February 2013 on behalf of all citizens who were affected by the Sweeps, Spence filed a class action lawsuit bringing the Sweep to local news’ forefront making it a local debate. The big question hanging in the air was “Why can’t the MPD clear the street?” The answer, Spence explains, is found in the United States Constitution, which protects our entitlement to travel locally through public spaces and roadways as a fundamental right. And, as the U.S. Supreme Court has held, the government may not Southern Soul l September 2015 | 73

Soul Talks infringe a fundamental right without a compelling state interest and clearly the City didn’t have one.” The Sweep denied individual citizens the fundamental right to occupy public spaces and the personal toll and effect was completely unacceptable. Many victims of the City’s unlawful practice experienced life-long consequences. For example, a person who is arrested, convicted, or otherwise ensnared by the U.S. criminal justice system faces a wide range of collateral consequences aside from incarceration. Consequences range from social stigma to economic hardship. Statistics show employers are less likely to hire ex-offenders, whether charges are eventually dropped or not. This stigma is especially harsh on young African Americans and other minorities. The repercussions of such unlawful arrests in a City such as Memphis could not be dismissed or understated.

unconvincing and concluded the police practice was well established; occurred whether conditions posed an immediate threat to public safety; and, returned a verdict in favor of Spence’s clients, Cole and the class. The Court also granted both Declaratory and Injunctive Relief against the City of Memphis, restricting when a Sweep can occur and ordering the City of Memphis to take a number of remedial steps. The Court’s Order declared “Since at least 2007, the City of Memphis violated the constitutional rights of thousands of persons who were subjected to ‘the Beale Street Sweep’…” Judge McCalla ordered a broad injunction against the City of Memphis and required it to: remove all signs on Beale Street indicating the street clearance; distribute a MPD officer informational bulletin advising the Sweep unconstitutional; institute mandatory officer training on appropriate use of police power on the street and, appoint a monitor to supervise training and review future arrest records on Beale Street (specifically the early morning hours on Saturdays and Sundays).

“This fact made the officers’ and the City’s actions PARTICULARLY EGREGIOUS”

The facts and supporting witness accounts certainly made for a compelling case; however, proving Memphis was engaged in a practice that routinely violated citizens’ constitutional rights was not easy. Spence says, “Before and during trial, the City tried to defend itself against the allegations, by taking two basic positions. The City claimed it wasn’t violating any constitutional right because it wasn’t doing anything wrong.” It contended the practice of clearing Beale Street using the Sweep method only occurred when circumstances created a danger to public safety, such as rioting, fights, or overcrowding and that the routine Sweep practice ended in Spring 2012. Essentially the City argued that: we don’t do it anymore, but if we do it, then it’s for a good reason. “Of course that was false,” says Spence incredulously. “In fact, we uncovered MPD documents proving the practice was ongoing. As a result of the City’s defense, which was to deny it was engaged in the practice,” Spence says, “our legal team had to do a lot more work. First, we had to establish the Sweep occurred as a regular and routine practice; then we had to prove the Sweep happened irrespective of circumstances related to public safety; and finally, we had to prove the Sweep was a violation of the United States Constitution.” Attorney Robert Spence did exactly what he set out to do. This past January, the jury found the City’s defenses

Relationships between police officers and citizens are often strained, but, the successful outcome of Spence’s case represents progress in the right direction. Because of Spence’s successful litigation, the unlawful practice was deemed unconstitutional, the City of Memphis was forced to discontinue the practice, and Beale Street is a safer and friendlier environment for both citizens and visitors. Forever a champion of justice, on the heels of winning the “Beale Street Sweep” case Spence is once again sparring with the City leading the litigation in the “Rape Kit” case where Spence is challenging the City’s method of apathetically handling possibly tens of thousands of rape kits acquired from rape victims; victims who had just gone through one of the worst ordeals imaginable in life. To win this case, Spence once again must prove the City has committed a widespread Constitutional violation. As we left Spence, he looks wistfully out the window of his conference room as if gaining strength from the powerful currents of the mighty Mississippi flowing beneath. Like the strong and powerful river, Spence is ready to move on to this next great challenge. And the challenges continue . . . §

Soul Talks

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 75







Save the Date


Anniversary Celebration & Benefit Gala Creating Independence… Supporting Literacy

Saturday, October 17, 2015 12:00 p.m Holiday Inn - University of Memphis 3700 Central Ave., Memphis, TN 38111 For more information call 901-327-2473 or visit



Southern Soul l September 2015 | 77



The National Civil Rights Museum is hosting its 24th Annual Freedom Award next month. It also has a quiet in-house celebration, it is the first Freedom Award hosted by its newly appointed president, Mrs. Terri Freeman. We had the honor to meet Mrs. Freeman and discuss her thoughts as she approaches the end of her first year. We met Mrs. Freeman at her administrative office but she quickly let us know she was happy to meet with us there but the real jewel to share with our readers is the Museum’s renovation. Following her, we entered the Museum. Upon entry, she stopped at the Museum’s entrance housing a 13-foot bronze sculpture - “Movement to Overcome” by Michael Pavlovsky, a Texas based artist permitting us to admire its powerful image. The

78 | Southern Soul l September 2015

sculpture is one of the recent additions to the museum during its $27.5 million renovation. As we toured, Terri explained “My very first trip to the museum was quite emotional. First off, I was overwhelmed by the volume of information housed in the museum.” During her first tour, she gained a greater understanding of the Civil Rights Movement and the events that occurred throughout the nation during that historical period.. The museum, she said, “does not just highlight what happened in the south, it highlights what happened throughout the country when it comes to civil and human rights victories. “When I visited Dr. King’s room, I had a physical reaction. It truly was one of those moments…I felt as if there was an aura in the area. The aura was of my ancestors, my previous generations, my grandparents, my great grandparents and I think it was

the culmination of everything that led up to that room and also the symbol he represented coupled with the stories I heard as I was growing up,” she said. “It was a very moving, difficult few minutes; standing there at that glass. Getting through it - and realizing the potential this museum has - and the contribution that I might be able to make through my role here at the museum.” In December 2014, Mrs. Freeman assumed the helm of the Museum and relocated from Maryland, leaving her husband and daughter behind to wrap things up in Maryland. Freeman’s husband pastors a church in Baltimore and owns a consulting firm. He’s also a housing commissioner. The Freemans have three daughters, a political organizer in Charleston, South Carolina; an assistant grants manager at a foundation in D.C. and the

youngest daughter, 16, now in Memphis and immersed in her 11th grade studies. When Freeman relocated, she didn’t know anyone in Memphis and didn’t have a clue what the city had to offer other than the wonderful Museum. The first few months she plunged into her role, working long hours getting acquainted with the museum and her staff. “When her family arrived, she was proud to share their new home. One refreshing thing about Memphis,” she said, “is that there’s no traffic. “I love it, my commute is 20-25 minutes compared to my one-way hour commute when I was in D.C. and that alone frees me and now I’m not stressed trying to get home and thinking, ok what time will I eat dinner? Even now if I leave late, I still eat dinner at a reasonable hour,” she said. “Having my family here is grounding and peaceful. I now know how to say, ok it’s time to leave because it’s family time. I can’t stay and Southern Soul l September 2015 | 79

work all night as I did when I was here without the family.” Before joining the museum, Freeman was president of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, one of the largest funders of non-profit organizations, a position she held for 18 years. When Freeman was presented with the opportunity to become president of the National Civil Rights Museum, her first thoughts were “Wow, what a great opportunity to become active in initiatives, solutions and change. I’ve wanted to get involved more and what an opportunity to be on the fringes of (and now more in the middle of) those initiatives from a non-profit perspective, as opposed to involved only from a funding perspective.

could become acquainted with the Museum staff and community members. “I thought why do we need a breakfast with the president? Why would someone want to have breakfast with me?” she said laughing. “And they came. I don’t know if they came because they wanted to find out, okay, so, who is this chick or because we were providing food?” Armed with her experience in challenging social justice issues; a high success rate in gaining grants and raising funds from individual donors and corporate and private foundations; years of public speaking and organizational skills; she sat down to breakfast. Of course, the breakfast went well as she smiles and recalls “I received a lot of encouragement including a text message that read she [Freeman] was winning in Memphis.”

Armed with her experience in challenging social justice issues; a high success rate in gaining grants and raising funds from individual donors and corporate and private foundations; years of public speaking and organizational skills.

“I’ve always had an interest in think-tank type work. I’ve always tried to provoke people to think outside the box and the Museum provides a platform that says, ‘see this is what happens when people think outside of the box,’” she said. “We must continue to think outside the box so we can get some of the social changes that are much needed.”

One of Freeman’s greatest challenges as she closes in on her first year at the museum is getting to know the Memphis community. “It’s one thing to take on a community you know, one where you have a network of folks; where you lived in the same community and can rely on that network,” she said. “It’s quite another to take on a new job in a new place in a new industry. I mean, this is a new industry for me. I’m not a museum professional. When the board offered me the position, I responded if you’re looking for someone who knows how to manage a museum per se, I’m not the one. But if you’re looking for someone who knows how to manage an organization that - I can do. A self-proclaimed introvert, Freeman recounted shortly after she arrived, a staff member organized a breakfast with the president so she 80 | Southern Soul l September 2015

As the Museum prepares for its 24th Annual Freedom Award next month, Freeman’s footsteps have found their rhythm and she is forging a new horizon for the Museum. Guiding an operation that cost roughly $6 million annually to run, with about 40 percent derived from contributions and 60 percent from earned revenue, she hasn’t missed a step. Sharing a glimpse into the future, she is seeking a vehicle to draw non-traditional audiences and ages. “We get several young people visiting the museum, but I think if you look at the demographics… we skew toward an older age group. People who remember this movement and younger people who tag along because their parents are visiting,” she said. “Having said that, I do think that the Black Lives Matter Movement has drawn younger people into the museum. We are planning exhibits and activities of interest to young people. We employ several millennial age staff and one thing I’ve done is brainstorm with them and ask, what would be of interest to you?” One result from the brainstorming sessions is millennial Mondays, a programming that covers issues younger people are dealing with. One of the first issues planned is community and police relations. “I’ve already talked to Police Chief,

The National Civil Rights Museum interactive display Director Armstrong. We haven’t determined the total logistics, but it will be very transparent, safe, and we will be able to market it so we get people in the door,” she said. I often remind people when visiting the museum, the faces in the exhibits are young faces. Dr. King was 26 years old when he got involved in the movement and he wasn’t yet 40 when he died. We lose sight of that because they (civil rights organizers of the 1950s and 1960s) looked older,” she said. “They were so much more formal. But most changes that occur in society are stimulated by people under 35 years old.” Freeman is developing a program where youth can serve as Museum tour guides . By doing so, not only will they learn history and have the ability to teach history, they will also learn that a profession in 82 | Southern Soul l September 2015

museum studies is a viable one. It will teach young people oratory skills, which I find is a real issue for young people in our community. It’s important for young people to be able to present and to speak,” she said. “If you can write and you can speak, then you have a future ahead of you. If we can provide an opportunity for young people to become a tour guide and be comfortable speaking in front of groups, that’s a skill that will last the rest of their life.” Freeman sees hope in the younger generation. “I remember when gay marriage issues were moving to the news forefront, my youngest daughter asked, “What is the big deal? Who cares who marries who?” And I thought, wow, that is a totally different perspective than what people my age have on this issue.”

The Montgomery Bus Boycott Exhibit Another goal of Freeman’s is to emphasize the “national” part of the National Civil Rights Museum. “I think we need to implement a programmatic perspective that promotes seizing the Civil Rights Museum as a leader of national significance—either in the area of civic engagement, perhaps around the voting rights piece or around areas where Dr. King was unable to realize - economic equity as we see a growing gap in the wealth in our country.” Freeman explains she wants to assure the museum competes well with other places of national historical significance and to stay relevant and interesting. “We do have a distinguishing characteristic, we’re a historic landmark. Unfortunately, this is the location where Dr. King was killed. And people will come here just to see the place where that

tragedy occurred,” she said. “I hope the message they receive when visiting inspires one to think, how can I do something that helps move my community forward? Finally, Freeman said as president she wants to make sure people understand the museum is for everyone. “This is not a museum of African American history,” she said. “This is a museum of American history and everybody can learn something from this museum.” The National Civil Rights Museum hosts its 24th Annual Freedom Awards on October 22, 2015 honoring three outstanding women, Joan Trumpauer Mulland, Ruby Bridges Hall, and Ava DuVernay. Look for an article in October’s Southern Soul highlighting the awardees and the Museum’s first all-women award slate. § Southern Soul l September 2015 | 83



Last week, I saw a television commercial that opens with a medical team rushing a patient on a gurney down what appears to be the hall to an operating room. The medical team hustles to check all surgical equipment, take their places and then, on cue, all turn to focus on the patient. The surgeon takes a scalpel and the camera hones in on the patient . . . Hasbro mechanical operation game we all tried as a child. In that thrilling one minute, I was cast into anticipation and awe, and the thought occurred wow, just think, people do this every day. It dawned on me that it takes a dedicated person to complete medical school and assemble those years into a medical career. Imagine the challenges that mount during the process of learning, training, carrying anotherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life in 84 | Southern Soul l September 2015

your hands, and the overwhelming decision-making task. Fortunately meet the challenge. Imagine while juggling class, training, internship and residency, you get together with three other medical students and you find a shared vision to integrate medical training with the call of faith to provide healthcare to those who are medically underserved. Extraordinary! Yes! . . . In Memphis, it happened. Four medical students dreamed of doing just that. Doctors Rick Donlon, David Pepperman, Karen Miller and Steven Besh. Together, they brought their dream to life founding Christ Community Health Services. With start-up funding provided by Baptist Memorial Healthcare Foundation, in

1995, they opened their doors at 3362 South Third Street. Their mission was to provide high quality healthcare to the medically underserved in the context of distinctively Christian service seeking to reach communities where other medical providers would not go. Today, through God’s calling, Christ Community is standing in the gap, delivering quality healthcare and spiritual healing. Entering its twentieth year, Christ Community Health Services (“CCHS”) has carried their founders’ values - Service, Excellence, Faithfulness, and Unity.

Brannon-McCulloch Family Health Center on Broad Avenue in the Binghampton community.

Three years later, CCHS, in partnership with Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation, began Memphis Healthy Churches, a health awareness and disease prevention program to African-American churches throughout Memphis and Shelby County. During the first five years, CCHS garnered financial support from various foundations recognizing their work, values, and operation. The funding provided CCHS the ability to expand its services to: offer prenatal patients home visits; develop a faith-based initiative against sexual assaults; open a mobile clinic targeting immigrant and refugee communities; provide schools with basic health and after-school programs; and to assume the

From this humble beginning, CCHS has grown to a formidable force in offering healthcare in communities that lack access to affordable healthcare while serving physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. With the recently opened Raleigh Center, today CCHS has a mobile unit and eight centers strategically located in Binghampton, Frayser, Hickory Hill, Orange Mound, Raleigh, and South Memphis. CCHS offers medical care in Pediatric and adult primary care, Pediatric and adult dental care, Women’s health, Prenatal and parenting classes, HIV care management, Refugee/INS Physicals, Pharmacy services, and Spiritual counseling and support. At first glance, one could assume eight is

Spanning their wings, over the course of the next five years, CCHS made great advances in their healthcare service to the underserved communities. It relocated the Broad Avenue Center to a newly constructed 10,000 sq. ft. facility; offered mobile services, through Operation Outreach, to provide primary care to the homeless; opened its first pharmacy operations; and, opened its Frayser Health Center.

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 85










529 Babies Delivered 832 Abnormal Cervical Findings 920 HIV Patients 1,000 Overweight/Obesity Diagnoses

1,692 Heart Disease Diagnoses 1,717 Prenatal Patients 2,000 Homeless Patients 6,623 Mental Health/Substance Abuse

6,238 Diabetes Diagnoses 14,533 Hypertension Diagnoses 172,000 Prescriptions Dispensed

a rewarding experience. Greeted with a smiling face, a brief moment of relief overcomes your spirit. Instantly you are aware you are in a place that cares and offers care. When, I stopped by the Hickory Hill Center for a brief tour, I received such a greeting and I witnessed patients seemingly with a sense of tranquility. Many were speaking in Spanish to a bilingual medical professional. The tour included their large and comfortable waiting area with a child’s play station, several examination rooms, private counseling rooms, several dental bays and a pharmacy. At the Hickory Hill Center, an average of eighty patients is turned away because the number of patients needing the service outnumbers the hours of service. Hickory Hill Center’s patients are 70% Latino making it the largest health provider servicing the Latino Community in the Shelby/Fayette/DeSoto metro area. I also learned CCHS turns no person away because of the inability to pay. Fees are determined using a sliding scale based solely on your household income. No matter if, the income is One Thousand or Ten Thousand monthly, fees range from no payment to $75 per visit.

a small number and can’t serve many. However, in full view, the statistics are overwhelming (see above). CCHS facilities offer medical care in each facility. The facilities offer medical and dental health care and a pharmacy is available to dispense medication on-site. Each is open Monday through Friday and alternate opening a Saturday or Sunday during the month. Most of us have been to a medical facility and often it is not a pleasant experience. Touring CCHS’ facilities is 86 | Southern Soul l September 2015

I also had the pleasure of speaking with a CCHS long-time patient, Ms. Peace. When asked about her experiences with CCHS, she replied, “I have been going there for 20 years. I believe since they opened their doors. I love it there. They always make you feel they are concerned and they always take good care of you. The best thing is the doctors who make you laugh even if they are giving you bad news or admonishing an unhealthy habit. I am in and out in two hours even if I arrive without an appointment. Their sliding scale pricing fits perfectly into my budget and I consider it one of the best jewels in Memphis’ crown.” Christ Community Health Services is indeed the Memphis Hope Diamond as it offers hope to the underserved and creates a haven to the needy. §

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| 71


Class in Session

Back to School Blues By ANGELA JOHNSON Photography by BRYANT REDDICK

Passion Fruit Knockout Punch


Amaretto Sour Martini

Amaretto Sour Martini ½ 2 ½

oz. Vodka oz. Amaretto oz. Sweet and Sour

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake for 30-45 seconds. Serve in a Martini glass.

Passion Fruit Knockout Punch ½ ½ ½ 4-5

oz. Mango Vodka oz. Pineapple Vodka oz. Vodka oz. Fresh Pineapple Juice (may substitute canned or bottled)

Mix all ingredients in a shaker or glass. Shake or mix. Serve on ice in a Mason jar or highball glass.

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 89



‘ pretty woman ’ –memphis style ! Big hats, stomping of the divots, cabana decorating and more! Don’t miss the party of the year!

Sunday, September 13, 2015 Gates Open at 12pm | Memphis Polo Club | 901.322.2984


Paul T. Jones, II & Sonia M. Jones



Taste Life With Kat

School Back To




photography by ANNIE MILLER

I gotta go back…back… back to school again!


It’s time to tighten up the bedtime routine, reorganize the morning routine, factor soccer and football practices in the after-school routine, order school supplies and uniforms and plan practical and healthy meals for the family. Since most busy moms have a jampacked schedule during the school year, I decided to share some of Gavin and Kingston’s favorite foods, along with time-saving tips for packing lunches and after-school snacks. My peanut butter cheerios bars are the perfect after-school snacks because they are packed with plenty of protein and fiber to satisfy hunger and they provide the kiddos with enough energy to happily complete homework assignments. My dear friend, Kandice Henderson’s vegan waffle recipe (for children with egg and dairy allergies) along with my homemade turkey sausage will amuse the taste buds of your little ones (and parents too). The finale of the day is my spaghetti and turkey meatballs dish with a hidden healthy twist, served with broccoli and cheddar miniature corn muffins. If your kids hate veggies, they will devour this meal without knowing it is healthy for them. Please enjoy! §

92 | Southern Soul l September 2015


Snack Time

Peanut Butter Cheerio Snack Bars 1/4 1/4 1/4

Cup Granulated Sugar Cup Honey Peanut Butter

½ 3

Cup Sliced Almonds Cups Plain Cheerios

Combine sugar and honey together in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until smooth. Then, fold in Cheerios and almonds. Place in a greased loaf pan or square glass pan. Chill for an hour, slice into bars. Yields 12 servings. Store in refrigerator in a plastic bag to maintain freshness. Southern Soul l September 2015 | 93



Vegan Waffles (Recipe Courtesy of Kandice Henderson)

2 cups All Purpose Flour 1/4-1/2 Cup Sugar 3 1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder 3 Tbs. Milled Flaxseed (cold) (finely ground) * 1 1/2 Cups (Plus a Splash) Coconut Milk (not canned) 1/2 -3/4 Cup Vegan Buttery Spread (melted) (I prefer Earth Balance) 1 Tbs. Vanilla Extract** * I prefer Flax USA Organic Golden Flax. It is ground perfectly for this recipe. ** If using Vanilla Coconut Milk, taste batter before adding Vanilla Extract to determine if the extract is needed.

Preheat waffle iron to medium-high. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking powder, and flaxseed in a large bowl. Whisk together the coconut milk, butter and vanilla in a medium bowl. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and gently stir until just incorporated (it is OK if there are some lumps). For Additional Flavor: A dash of Cinnamon and Nutmeg, 1/4 cup Real Maple Syrup, and, a squeeze of Fresh Lemon Juice. Generously spray the top and bottom of the waffle iron with cooking spray. Fill each compartment almost completely, and spread the batter to the edges. Close the lid and cook until waffle is golden brown and crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Keep cooked waffles warm in the oven or covered with foil on a plate while you prepare remaining waffles.

94 | Southern Soul l September 2015


Dinner Spaghetti & Turkey Meatballs MEATBALLS 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 6 10 3-6

Medium Onion (finely chopped) Tsp. Kosher Salt Tsp. Fresh Cracked Black Pepper Tbs. Chopped Basil (optional)* Tsp. Seasoned Salt Cloves of Fresh Garlic (minced) Wheat Crackers (Entertainer, Saltines, Club, or Ritz all work well) Tbs. Olive Oil

*I use Basil when preparing for adults

SAUCE 2 3 ½ 2

Jars Tomato Basil Sauce Carrots (finely shredded or pureed) Tsp. Kosher Salt Black Pepper (to taste) Tbs. Sugar (optional - if your family prefers a less tangy sauce) Chopped Fresh Basil (for garnish)

Place crackers into a medium plastic bag and crush. The consistency should resemble breadcrumbs. Sauté onions, kosher salt and pepper and set aside. Place ground turkey in a large bowl. Add basil, seasoned salt, garlic, and crackers. Add onions and gently fold into the turkey mixture. Keep the mixture light by not overworking the meat. Use a small cookie scoop to form small, uniform meatballs. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large pot (or ceramic Dutch oven). Over medium heat, brown meatballs on all sides. Remove and repeat with a new batch. Add more oil if necessary. Place meatballs on a cookie sheet and set aside. Using the same pot, add sauce, salt, pepper and shredded carrots to the pot and stir. Simmer until the carrots have softened. Add meatballs to sauce. Simmer another 15 to 20 minutes. Cook spaghetti al dente according to package directions. Place spaghetti and meatballs in a serving bowl, then add remaining sauce. Garnish with fresh basil and grated Parmesan. Serve hot.

Homemade Turkey Sausage ½ ¾ ½ ¼ ¼ ½ 1

Lb. Ground Turkey Tbs. Sausage Seasoning Tbs. Italian Seasoning Tsp. Ground Fennel (Optional) Tsp. Ground Sage Tbs. Kosher Salt Tbs. Pure Maple Syrup

Mix seasonings in small bowl and add to ground turkey. Makes 8-10 small patties. Tastes great baked or panfried!

Miniature Broccoli & Cheddar Corn Muffins 1 2 1/2 1/2 1 2 1/2 1 1/2 2

Package of Self-Rising Cornbread Mix (Aunt Jemima or Martha White Cotton Country Mix) Cups of Fresh Broccoli (finely chopped) Cup Sugar Seasoned Salt (to taste) Black Pepper (to taste) Teaspoon Garlic Powder Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese (shredded) Eggs Cup Milk Cup Sour Cream Tablespoon Butter Flavored Crisco Tablespoons Butter (Salted)

Preheat oven to 375. Spray mini muffin pan with nonstick spray. Melt butter and Crisco in a skillet and sauté broccoli with seasonings on medium high heat until a few pieces of broccoli slightly turn brown (caramelized). Remove skillet from heat and set aside to cool (reserve butter and oil in the skillet). While broccoli cools, add sugar, milk, sour cream and eggs to corn bread mix. Whisk until blended; add broccoli to wet cornbread mixture; add cheese and blend; then add melted butter and shortening from pan. Be sure to scrape the pan for broccoli bits. Spoon into mini muffin pan using a cookie scoop (for uniform size) and bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot! §

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 97

Just Saying...




Last month, I read Southern Soul and learned that this month the magazine would be about Education. So, I asked could offer a light-hearted story on shopping education. To my surprise, they said yes; and here I am. I’ve been a sales associate, at a well-known store for 3.5 years. This was my very 1st job and it seemed easy until I had some ‘interesting’ encounters with some ‘interesting’ customers. Many customers were rude, wanted things to go their way, wanted to tell me how to do my job, be their personal assistant; the list goes on and on. So, here is a brief lesson customers should know about thoughts that randomly cross a sale associate’s mind while serving customers:

lesson 1

Please… don’t be rude!

lesson 2 I am here to serve you, I have feelings; I am not a robot without feelings. If I ask how you are doing, please just reply. “I didn't ask if you need any help. Because I really don't want to help!”

lesson 3 Don't ask me how a shirt or a pair of pants would look on you. I don't know! “Try it on and see for yourself. Because I am programmed to say, “ You look fabulous!”

98 | Southern Soul l September 2015

lesson 4 If you are shopping for someone else, please just get a gift card. If you don’t know their size, I don’t either and PLEASE don't tell me they are close to my size. We all have different shapes. “Remember God Created us in His image but that doesn’t mean we wear the same size.”

lesson 5 For the seasoned saints, if you know you can’t wear juniors, don't bother shopping there. “ You know you are acting as if you wear a size small while knowing you wear a XL.”

lesson 6 Please do your own calculation with your coupons. “I am no math genius! Hello, Calculators! Remember the cover of Southern Soul last month. “It Does More. It Costs Less. It’s That Simple. Technology. . . Use it!”

lesson 7 Know that you can only use one coupon per transaction, not all ten coupons in your bag.

lesson 8 When you are ready to check out; please know exactly what you are purchasing! “Don't ask me "should I get this? I am programed to say, of course! $$$"

lesson 9 “I don’t like serving a customer if he or she is talking on their cellphone! Please don’t be rude. You are not paying attention to me, why should I pay attention to you? "Oops, did I scan the right price?”

lesson 10 PLEASE. PLEASE don't put all of the clothes on the floor in the fitting room and leave them there. Just politely hang them back up. “Bet your house is horribly dirty!” Finally . . . always be nice to the sales associate. Don’t be rude. You never know if he/she may hold the key to saving you money or leaving your wallet empty. §

30 7 W ES T P O P L A R AV EN U E , CO LLI ERV I LLE , T N 3801 7 Owner Cynthia J. Collins STORE: 901.853.6454 | CELL: 901.496.2072 |

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 99

Southern Style fall fun

PHOTOGRAPHY by Bryant Reddick ON LOCATION LeMoyne-Owen College & Collierville Square MAKEUP & HAIR Maricus Craft MODELS Zoie Brown, Melba Martin, Jaylon McCraven, Stephanie Jones & Sonia Collins


Southern Soul l September 2015 | 101

Southern Soul l September 2015 | 107


3Cs Summer Seminar

3Cs of Success: Capital, Counsel & Contracts 1


3 4


The National Black Master of Business Administration Association (NBMBAA) Memphis has celebrated 22 years of providing opportunities for training and development in the areas of Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Lifestyle and Careers. Last month, the NBMBAA Memphis hosted the 3C’s of Successful Women and Minority Owned Businesses. Capital, Counsel, and Contracts. In partnership with Ingrid L. Cook, Founder, SHzoom, LLC, the 3Cs featured guest speakers Maria Foxhall, New York’s Pivot Global Senior Consultant; Dr. Frances Fabian, University of Memphis Professor of Entrepreneurship; William Parks, Intellectual Property Attorney; Al Pickett, Strategic Marketing Expert/Startup Accelerator; and, the Small Business Administration. Those in attendance enjoyed advice from experts in increasing profits, accessing capital and certification benefits. The NBMBAA Memphis offers programming in Leadership Development, Entrepreneurship Development, and Community Engagement. It hosts three signature events each year, the Visionaries Breakfast, the Entrepreneur Empowerment Series, and Harvard Business Review Discussion Panel. If you are looking for a network of business professionals with a commitment to education, career development and promoting the economic wealth of the African American community; the National Black MBA Association may be for you! For information regarding the Memphis chapter: §

1. Jason Spigner (VP Corporate Development) addressing Visionaries Luncheon Guests; 2. Robin Tucker (VP Administration), Kiamesha Wilson (President); 3. Robin Tucker (VP Administration), Kiamesha Wilson (President), Kevin Wade (Scholarship Recipient), Ricky Clark of Cargill, Jason Spigner (VP Corporate Development); 4. Robin Tucker (VP Administration), Kenny Sykes (Scholarship Recipient), Kiamesha Wilson (President), Jason Spigner (VP Corporate Development)


A Look Inside front of the eyes of your customers. Contact us today for a free media kit and see how Southern Soul can help lead customers to your business or event.

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901.366.SOUL (7685)

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At Mid-South Gastroenterology Group, we treat a wide range of gastrointestinal symptoms and diseases. More importantly, we understand that we are here to serve our patients in the best way possible. Our physicians, nurse practitioners and support staff are committed to providing exceptional service to every person who comes to our facility. We are committed to treating our patients like family. If you are experiencing gas, bloating, diarrhea, heartburn, constipation or stomach pain; or if you are 50 years old and need screening for colon cancer, come see us. We are the first free-standing ambulatory surgery center in Memphis. Our physicians are board certified, and we have a very experienced staff who are great at what they do. But most of all, we will take care of you and make you part of our family.

Southern Soul Magazine - August/September 2015  

Our Community

Southern Soul Magazine - August/September 2015  

Our Community