The month of July has celebrated a ninety year old husband, father, deacon, businessman, barber, friend and mentor.
When one steps into Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church there is one loyal member you will surely see, Benjamin Franklin Flagg, because he has served there for 65 years. He has always put God’s service on the top of his agenda, serving as former Sunday School Superintendent and now as chairman of the Deacon Board as well as the Men’s Bible Class teacher..
Although Flagg’s birth date is July 19, his birthday celebration began on July 7th with family, friends and longtime customers gathered with community leaders and church members of Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church as they held a surprise birthday at 11:00 a.m. followed by dinner at the Vanderbilt University Student Center Commodore Ballroom at 2:00 p.m.
Flagg was presented with a plethora of gifts that recognized him in his many capacities that serve the church and community. Flagg was presented with a Metro Nashville City Council Proclamation by his pastor, the Reverend Enoch Fuzz. At that time the men’s bible class was named in his honor, “The Benjamin Flagg Goodwill Men’s Bible Class.”
“As he is a very special individual,” Fuzz said, “Benjamin Flagg has made us all better. He is a consummate humanitarian whose wisdom, compassion and loyalty has touched countless lives. He is honorable, a humble servant of God who gives selflessly, loves deeply, serves tirelessly and is highly respected as a mentor, teacher of God’s word, ‘deacon,’ WWII veteran, husband, father and confidant.”
Benjamin Flagg was born on a farm in Nutbush, TN. Yes, the same Nutbush that Tina Turner sings about … she is his first cousin.
During his 11th grade year in school, Flagg was drafted to serve in WWII, trained at Camp Swift in Texas and Camp Pork in New York and then shipped out England and France. He found himself four miles from the enemy front lines on D-Day. Private First Class Benjamin Franklin Flagg served for 2 1/2 years until the end of WWII. He was later honorably discharged from the Army and returned to his high school where he became the class president. It was also the time that he met his devoted wife of 66 years and the mother of his two daughters, Janet and Iris.
He then continued his education at Tolers Business College and Tennessee State University majoring in business administration with special interest in commercial law, psychology, sociology, and social pathology while working as a barber in Nashville and Fort Campbell in Clarksville, TN.
Flagg remains as a full time barber — STILL CUTTING HAIR AT AGE 90!
As a businessman, Flagg opened a barber shop at the corner of Clayborne and Lafayette Streets. “When you cross the threshold of Flagg’s Barber Shop, time and turmoil stops. It’s impossible to count the number of customers, from all walks of life, that attest to how he has affected their lives and how they claim him as their father. He is a no-nonsense man … no drugs, numbers, cussing or disrespect in tolerated in his shop.”
He has loyal customers, some have been with him for over 60 years.
Benjamin Flagg is truly a noteworthy individual. His daughter, Iris, shares the following: My incredible Dad is still working full time at his barbershop and still holds a steady straight edge razor to shave his trusting loyal customers. He returns home at 9:30 p.m. after teacher’s meetings; prepares for his role as head of the deacon board and teacher; mows the lawn; drives himself. He has the oldest continuous running business in south Nashville. His presence on the corner of Claiborne Street and Lafayette Street for over 60 years stand as a testament to a bygone time when Judge Ruben owned the dry good sore next door and Flagg’s Barber Shop was formerly Mr. Steinbergs’ show repair shop.
He recalls that the public housing projects were segregated, with whites on one side of the street and blacks on the other.
The community was without the crime and the hardship that has befallen it today.
When I said that I felt like 170 years old, he replied, ‘I feel like 20 years old with strength in reserve.’ I knew my father was respectable but when I returned home after 27+ years, I learned that he was an institution; a beacon of hope and proof that a simple man in God’s hands can do great things.