Friday, October 3, 2014

Deacon Lorenzo Wyatt passing

BRISTOL — Deacon Lorenzo Wyatt passed from this life on Tuesday (Sept. 30, 2014) at the age of 91, following an extended battle with Parkinson’s disease.

A devout Christian and believer in God, he now lives in heaven with his parents, Arthur and Pearl Wyatt; along with his brothers, Arthur, William, Leon, Haywood and Richard; and his sisters, Georgia and Hazel.

He is survived by Louise, his loving wife of 65 years; and their five children, Lorenzo (Brenda), Keith (Karleen), Mark (Jennifer), Lorna (Rick) and Kevin (Susan). Lorenzo’s brother, Arnold; and sisters, Eugenia and Gwendolyn, also survive his passing. Lorenzo and Louise were blessed with 13 grandchildren, Lorenzo (Tamami), Sheri, Kristen, Benjamin, Zack, Will, Jasmine (Richard), Jaelen, Demeatrious, Nichelle, Logan, Louisa and Grace. God also gave them seven great-grandchildren, Milei, Hiro, Leina, Olayinka, Amaya, Gabriella and Sophia.

Deacon Wyatt left Alabama A&M during his sophomore year to serve his country during World War II. He became a decorated World War II veteran, serving in the Philippine Islands and New Guinea. As First Sergeant, he supervised and directed the efforts of 221 men. Upon his honorable discharge, he returned to Alabama A&M where he majored in secondary education and was elected student body president. He joined Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and remained an active member throughout his life. Also while attending A&M, Lorenzo met the love of his life, Louise, and immediately decided that she was the woman with whom he planned to spend the rest of his life.

Both Lorenzo and Louise were passionate about educating children, believing it to be the key to escaping poverty and achieving the American dream. Lorenzo’s academic achievements enabled his selection as principal of Colony School, located in Cullman, Ala. In June of 1958, he became principal of Slater School in Bristol, Tenn. During his tenure at Slater, which was also a 1-12 school, he touched many lives and raised the academic performance to achieve state accreditation.

During their summers, both he and Louise worked toward achieving advanced degrees. Lorenzo earned a Master’s in guidance and counseling at Michigan State University. At Slater, he recruited and mentored dozens of educators who have also achieved distinguished careers. He joined the Tennessee State Department of Education as a guidance and counseling consultant and subsequently served as curriculum coordinator and regional supervisor. He then returned to his first love, school administration, to become the principal of Northside Elementary School where he served with distinction for 14 years until his retirement in 1989.

Nothing in Lorenzo’s professional life was ever as important as his relationship with his Lord Jesus Christ. His faith in Christ drove him to join Lee Street Baptist Church where he would serve as a deacon for over 50 years. He served his fellow congregation members as Sunday school teacher and superintendent. He served his community in a number of roles including delivering “Meals on Wheels,” president of the local American Red Cross, volunteer instructor and chairman of the board for the Jacob’s Creek Job Corps. He believed that the best way to lead people to Christ was to set a good example in the way he lived his life.

Deacon Lorenzo Wyatt will long be remembered as a faithful husband, wonderful father, and outstanding leader. The scholarship at Science Hill High School for Northside Elementary School graduates and the auditorium at the Slater Community Center that bear his name, reflect the impact he had on so many young lives. He will be missed, but his legacy will long endure.

Funeral services will be conducted Saturday at 1 p.m. from Lee Street Baptist Church with Pastor Dr. W.A. Johnson officiating.

The family will receive friends from noon until the hour of service.

Entombment services will follow at Glenwood Cemetery, Bristol, Tenn.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at raclark funeralservice@yahoo.com 

Professional services and care of Deacon Lorenzo Wyatt and family are entrusted to R.A. Clark Funeral Service Inc., Bristol, Tenn., (423) 764-8584.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fred Douglas Delaney Passing

Fred D. Delaney passed away Saturday, September 20, 2014, at Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center.

Fred was a loving, caring and devoted husband, father, brother-in-law, mentor and friend, who was known as "Uncle Fred" to many throughout the years.

He was born on November 20, 1936 in Bristol, Virginia, to Loruma and Fred Delaney Sr.

After graduation from Knoxville College in 1958, he began four years of duty with the U.S. Army.

 During his service he was stationed at Fort Lee, Virginia and West Point Academy, Highland Falls, New York.

 In 1962, Fred moved on to launch a 30-year career with IBM that began in Denver, Colorado and included positions in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Georgia. While at IBM, he earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Pace University in New York. Fred was the tech company's Manager of Corporate Administration Education in Atlanta when he retired and returned to his roots in Bristol.

In retirement Fred was a committed citizen of his community. He served on the board of several organizations, including the John Wesley UMC Trustee Board; Celebrate Bristol; The Crisis Center; Kiwanis of Bristol; Boys and Girls Clubs; Board of Zoning Appeals of Bristol, Tenn.; Better Property Board of Bristol, Tenn.; and Retirement and Health Care Centers of Marysville, Tenn.

A 1954 graduate of Douglass High School in Bristol, Virginia, he also served on the Executive Committee of the school's alumni association. He was a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

Fred is survived by his wife of 54 years, the former Dawn Gloria Henderson of Bristol, Tenn. He was the proud father of two sons, Roger Delaney of Atlanta and Trevor Delaney of Brooklyn, New York.

The family will receive friends at 12 p.m. Saturday, September 27, 2014, at John Wesley United Methodist Church, 311 Lee Street, Bristol, Virginia.

Funeral services will begin at 1 p.m. Pastor Robert Kariuki officiating. Entombment will follow at Mt. View Cemetery Mausoleum Bristol, Va.

Professional Services and care of Fred Douglas Delaney and family are entrusted to R.A.Clark Funeral Service Inc.(423) 764-8584.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Pictures from the 2014 Douglass-Slater Banquet


CLICK ON THE ALBUM TITLE BELOW TO LAUNCH THE SLIDESHOW

Pictures from the 2014 Douglass-Slater Alumni Picnic


CLICK ON THE ALBUM TITLE BELOW TO LAUNCH SLIDESHOW

2014 Douglass-Slater Reunion: Loving Memories, Forging Tomorrows



Friends, family and loved ones gathered to enjoy each other's company, at the 2014 edition of the Douglass-Slater Reunion.

The get-together every two years, reunites students from Bristol's two former African-American high schools, Douglass High School in Bristol, Virginia and Slater High School in Bristol, Tennessee.

The two schools held separate reunions for a while.. Douglass' started around 1976, and Slater's began around 1978.

Margo White is the president of the Douglass Alumni association for 2014.. Tommy McDaniel is Slater's alumni president.

"These reunions are special, because they bring back and emphasize our roots and our heritage," McDaniel says. "Friends and families get to come together and have fun, just like we did when we were in school. Those loving memories are important."

Both Douglass and Slater began joint reunions in 2000, and the histories of the two schools are very similar. Though less than a mile apart, the only thing that physically separates them is the Tennessee-Virginia state line. Other than that, students and families from both schools all know each other, and did, back when.

"Times were hard back in the 1940's, 50's and 60's," says McDaniel, himself a 10-year veteran of Slater, starting school there in 1956. "We didn't have much. Some of the students who came to the schools did have food to eat. The biggest meals they had, were at school. That meant a lot to them and it makes their return to these school reunions even more special. Everybody formed a special bond that was never broken."

"Family" was the key word back then, even though McDaniel says, it was never emphasized. It was just always present.


"Teachers at both schools took care of their students, and in many cases, students took care of students," he remembers. "Even past that, parents took care of their kids and then they took care of other parents' kids, too. All we had were families that knew each other and loved each other."

"We are a close-knit group, and that togetherness has lasted for generations."





At the 2014 Reunion picnic held at Steele Creek Park, those former students and families enjoyed bingo, card games, bean toss, and of course, good food. There was plenty of reminiscing and kidding around, but it was with a guarded optimism.

"Our school reunions are not like Dobyns-Bennett or Science Hill or Tennessee High (where McDaniel graduated in '67)," he says. "Unlike them, we, as African-American high school alumni have a finite number of alumni. Every year, those schools get to add to their alumni base with new seniors graduating. We don't have that luxury. Our numbers have been dropping ever since integration in 1965. Every year, we have dozens of black alumni who will not see the next school reunion, and there are no graduating seniors to replenish the alumni numbers."

Therefore, these reunions have a two-fold purpose.

"First and foremost," McDaniel says, "we have to get our descendants, the younger people involved in remembering the heritage of the schools. It's vitally important to pass along the schools' histories to the younger generation. We absolutely have to bring them on board and stress the importance of remembering where they came from. Our history is their history. The sad fact is, we don't have people here today, that were here laughing and joking around back in 2012. It's a challenge to involve young people in something most of them have no interest in, but our challenge is clear.

The Douglass-Slater Banquet is where the next part of the reunion's purpose becomes clear.

"The next thing we have to do is enjoy the time that we as former students have together," says McDaniel. "Nobody knows but if this is the last time we see each other. At the banquet, we get to dress up in theme clothing and have a good time, appreciating each other's company. We want our folks to have a good time at the banquet because we get to honor our alumni members, celebrate those who have achieved above and beyond the goals we set for ourselves, and award our scholarships to the young descendants who we hope, will carry on the banner.

Acknowledging that everybody looks a little different now, McDaniel says the way they were all raised, shaped backgrounds that will never change.

"Although we may live apart, we are still together as alumni," he says. "We still love each other like we did when we went through those school doors for the last time. "That's what binds us together.. keeps us as one."

SLIDE SHOWS ARE IN SEPARATE LINKS ABOVE

Friday, July 19, 2013

An Open Letter from Andre Canty

I’m not surprised by the verdict regarding George Zimmerman’s murder of Trayvon Martin. I wasn’t surprised because in my lifetime, I’ve only remember one case that a White person got off by unjustly killing a Black person. Unfortunately, I saw Trayvon’s body, but what I saw was a kid with skinny jeans and a hoodie that looked more hipster than thug. When I was in high school, I looked more menacing if you went by appearance alone.

I was Trayvon Martin in 2002. At 17 years old in Knoxville, TN, I had baggy clothes, cornrowed braids, often seen with no shirt at sport practices, and rarely smiled standing at 6’1 and 170lbs. I rarely even talked to anyone outside my friends, which may have been cause for suspicion as society view introversion as something wrong. I ran track, but also played football, where I can be violent legally. I was also an honor roll student, painfully shy, never suspended from school, never took drugs or alcohol, attended school almost all the time, and helped my grandfather in the yard every weekend. With all of that said, I’m convinced that I too would’ve been shot dead in Sanford, FL by a self-proclaimed neighborhood watchman as Trayvon for looking worse than him, despite of my clean record and grades. I’m convinced that my killer would’ve been found not-guilty because from my skin and my age because I embodied what they fear the most. By appearance, I was a thug and up to no good. In reality, I wore those clothes because rappers wore them. I wore cornrowed braids because Allen Iverson and the group Outkast had them. What I wore was not evident that I was a thug; it was evident that I followed popular culture. Though I lived the All-American life, I didn’t have the All-American image.

The murder and the verdict proved that Black males were born suspicious. Black masculinity is what some fear the most. Fear is why we have to go way out our way to be as approachable and as safe as possible. A flawed society and system are reasons why I have to appear safe. Black masculinity is why there are systems in place to bring us down, which is why Trayvon was doomed before he was born.

There always has to be some reason why a Black male dies at a young age. If a Black male dies, you often see gangs or drugs as the main factors to their demise as if he provoked his own death. The same has been said against Trayvon. By his appearance alone, he was destined to die? He only defended himself against a man stalking him, but since Trayvon chose to fight, he somehow chose his fate.

If you take a look at his supposed drug use, remember that the last three of our U.S. Presidents smoked weed AND cocaine. President George W. Bush was arrested for a DUI. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger smoked weed. Using drugs is not a factor; it’s a Black male using drugs that’s the problem. Even with Trayvon’s not so squeaky clean record in school, it was impossible for Zimmerman to be aware of that on that day. What Zimmerman perceived is what many perceived: a walking monster.

The fact is that teenagers often do dumb things. We’ve all done it; however, those dumb things should not be cause for murder. Teenagers do dumb things, and then they grow up, and start to do less dumb things.

Trayvon did what you’re taught to do and that was self-defense. The case also proves that Black males cannot engage in self-defense because it will always be their fault.

A Black death is always arguable. Thus is why there are so many reasons as to why he and many like him should’ve died. It is why I know that if I were killed in the same manner some would believe that it was my destiny because of the body I’m in and where I come from. When Emmitt Till’s killers were acquitted, one of the jurors said “If we hadn't stopped to drink pop, it wouldn't have taken that long.” There isn’t much difference with Emmitt and Trayvon. No matter how Black males strive to be a productive member in society, that same society will strive to condemn you, so what can we possibly do to not seem like a threat?

Most importantly, the law that made this case crazy in the first place is right here in our backyard. The ‘Stand Your Ground’ exists in Tennessee and was lobbied by the National Rifle Association. If anything is to be done, it is to strive to have that law taken away. That law and the verdict just gave some open season to shoot anyone for any perceived threat. I for one will not stand for it because there will be more Zimmermans birthed and more Trayvons killed.


---Andre Canty, Knoxville

Saturday, July 14, 2012

2012 Slater H.S. Business Meeting: An Alumni Association in Search of a President


"It's been a good ride. Everybody has cooperated, and we've been fine."

Those words from Slate Alumni President John Hogans, upon his last reunion as head of the Slater High School Alumni Association of Bristol, Tennessee.

Hogans is stepping down after almost 16 years leading the Slate Alumni through parades, meetings, gatherings and banquets, partnered with its Bristol, Virginia counterpart, Douglass High School.

"Every time you have one of these reunions, there are little glitches that have to be worked out at the last minute, but everything runs pretty smoothly. Our joint banquet was well attended, and we appreciate our Slater family coming out to celebrate our heritage."

Click here to see a slideshow of the 2012 Douglass-Slater Reunion Banquet.



Hogans was especially complimentary of the enthusiasm of the Slater Alumni who attended the 2012 business meeting, just before the Reunion Banquet.

Click here to see a slideshow of the 2012 Slater High School Business Meeting.

"The excitement of the business meeting was evident in the factc that the group wanted to continue the reunion," he says, "even though they don't have a president. That enthusiam is good, and we're hoping to find a president soon."

Because no one stepped forward at the business meeting to volunteer to be Slater's next president, Hogans, whose term doesn't officially expire for another few months, will reach out into the Slater alumni community at a later date.

"It's a good thing to reach out to the younger people, the descendants of Slater graduates," he says. "Our numbers of actual graduates are dwindling and getting shorter. IT would be only a while that we, the older ones, won't be here anymore, and somebody has to step up and take over, if there's going to be a continuation."



Hogans says, once a president is found, the announcement will be made during the alumni association's mailings in October.

"I would encourage everybody to come and help, and to be enthusiastic," he says. "We have to keep the school spirit built up among our descendants, so that Slater High School's memory will stay alive."