The Jefferson Street United Merchants partnership, Inc. (J.U.M.P.) literally ‘rolled out the red carpet’ at the 15th annual Christmas Extravaganza as the Shriners of Hella Temple 105 greeted arriving guests. Guests were photographed on the red carpet and then led to take pictures with a Christmas tree backdrop. On Sunday night, December 7, Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church was the home of a starlit night of elegance as local businesses were recognized and presented with awards in three categories along with the recognition of new businesses recently added to Jefferson Street.
“I congratulate all the area business owners and those extraordinary leaders who are being honored this evening for relentlessly lending their support to the continued renaissance of revitalization and returning Jefferson Street to its glory as the cultural mecca in he African American community,” said Sharon Hurt, president/CEO.
The master of ceremonies for the evening was Jerius Oliver, assistant vice president and Financial Center manager II of the North Lake Village office of Fifth Third Bank. Oliver kept the program moving at a pleasant pace as each awarded group was recognized.
The first recognition was given to new businesses located on Jefferson Street—presented by Marlah D. Green, JUMP board chair.
The Candlelight Awards were then presented to five recipients, including:
Judge Rachel Bell who has presided over more than 25,000 cases in her two years on the bench as Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County General Sessions Court Judge.
Latrisha Jemison who is currently senior vice president/regional community affairs manager for Regions Bank and oversees the Community Reinvestment Act and governmental entities in Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Middle/West Tennessee.
• John Little III who serves is the director of ‘community engagement’ for the Tennessee Charter School Center.
• Michael J. McBride, an artist and instructor at Tennessee State University, former adjunct faculty at Watkins College of Art and Design and Film school and curator of the Hiram V. Gordon Gallery at TSU.
• James Threalkill, nationally recognized artist and advocate of the arts who came from humble beginnings. He used his gifts as an artist and teacher to develop neighborhood youth art programs and is now the Diversity Program Director at Skanska.
The Hall of Fame Award was presented to:
• The Pride of Tennessee Elks Lodge Number 1102 organized and initiated in 1943 with 105 people at Morris Hall on 12th Ave. South. As of today, there have been over 1,500 men initiated in this Order.
• John Claybrooks Insurance Agency founded in 1985 when Claybrooks was a captive agent for Nationwide Insurance. In 1995 Claybrooks became an independent agent and began his office on the 16th floor of the first American Center and later moved to 2112 Scovel Street in the historic Jefferson Street neighborhood.
• Jubilee Florist, which opened for business in 1992. It was founded by local businessmen, Dwight Martin, William Patton and Casey Lamar. It is currently a full-service florist located on Jefferson Street.
The final recognition was the Vintage Award, presented to the Nashville PRIDE newspaper, a weekly newspaper founded in 1988 by Dr. Larry Davis and Dr. Cynthia Hodge. Currently, the publishers of the PRIDE Group are Meekhal Davis and Scott Davis. The PRIDE Group includes The Nashville PRIDE (Nashville, Tenn.); The Chattanooga Courier (Chattanooga, Tenn.); The Enlightener (Knoxville, Tenn.); The Clarksville PRESS (Clarksville, Tenn.); and the Murfreesboro VISION (Murfreesboro, Tenn.). With 25 years of dedicated service to the community, the Nashville PRIDE is the oldest continued African American owned and operated newspaper in Nashville.
Other participants on the program was Rev. Gleason Rogers, pastor of Boyce Street Baptist Church; First Baptist Church Capitol Hill Church Ensemble; Jonathan Parrish, JUMP board vice chair; and members of the JUMP Ambassadors Program.
As a gift to everyone in attendance, the photos taken upon arrival to the Christmas Extravaganza were given to each person. Just as at any other ‘red carpet affair,” a regal reception was held behind 15th Avenue Church at the Garden Brunch Cafe.
Nashville PRIDE receives Vintage Award from J.U.M.P. Christmas Extravaganza
by Nicci Dawan
The Nashville PRIDE newspaper was invited to attend the 15th annual Christmas Extravaganza to be recognized for their valiant efforts in maintaining a business for 25 years.
The Vintage Award is fitting for the current status of the Nashville PRIDE and the PRIDE Publishing Group that consists of The Chattanooga Courier (Chattanooga, Tenn.); The Enlightener (Knoxville, Tenn.); The Clarksville PRESS (Clarksville, Tenn.); and the Murfreesboro VISION (Murfreesboro, Tenn.).
When the invitation was extended and Wanda Clay, contributing writer to the Nashville PRIDE was asked to present the award, it was requested by Sharon Hurt that Geraldine Heath be highlighted as the initiating face of the Nashville PRIDE.
Clay’s presentation read as follows:
“In 1988 a phone call was made by Mrs. Rosetta Miller Perry to her friend, Geraldine Heath, encouraging her to go and help out two outrageous dentists who had a wild notion to start a newspaper that would give a voice to the Black community.
“Not knowing much about the newspaper industry (nor did the publishers), she did meet with doctors from Meharry Medical College, Dr. Larry Davis and Dr. Cynthia Hodge. She then researched all facets of the media and newspapers and agreed to take on the task of ‘managing editor’ of the Nashville PRIDE newspaper for only three months.
“And the rest, as they say, is history.
“While the publishers, Dr. Davis and Dr. Hodge, took a back seat to the public eye, Geraldine did not. She became the face of the Nashville PRIDE.
“Realizing the essential need for information, she was seen at nearly every event in the city. She asked all organizations, for profit and non profit, event coordinators, city officials—any news generating entity she came across to send information to the PRIDE at firstname.lastname@example.org for information to be published each week.
“She was surely dedicated, diligent and loyal to the call. She not only worked hard in the streets of Nashville, but also in the office. Dr. Hodge recently told her that the PRIDE became a true business because of her diligence in creating jobs for the many people that came through the PRIDE (and there were many) and making sure they had detailed job descriptions and followed the rules of labor laws and that the PRIDE followed the laws of business.
“Geraldine did not work alone. The word was out about the PRIDE through an awesome sales team, dedicated columnists and contributing writers and the production staff—not to mention, the many subscribers who kept the PRIDE name in the atmosphere.
“There are people, such as Sharon Hurt, who describes Geraldine as a “trailblazer, constant, relentless, dedicated and loyal community advocate.” Sharon wanted to be sure that the Vintage Award for the Nashville PRIDE recognized Geraldine’s valiant efforts in making sure that the voice of this community was heard through the consistent publishing of the Nashville PRIDE newspaper.
“Many people still may not know that as of March of 2014, Geraldine Heath retired as the managing editor of the Nashville PRIDE and is currently working with the same diligence in her own business, Tea Cups & Jewels A Collector’s Shop.”
Following the presentation by Clay, who continues as a contributing writer for the PRIDE each week, the current publishers, Meekhal Davis and Scott Davis, escorted Geraldine to the stage to receive the Vintage Award. There were also several other past and present associates of the Nashville PRIDE that all came to the stage as a representation to the continuing efforts of a 25-year-old business dedicated to continuing to give a voice to the African American community.
It was quite ironic that the PRIDE was presented the Vintage Award as those present witnessed the retired original pioneer of this business entity being congratulated by the current managing editor, the young Jomilla Newsom.
“It was almost like a baton was passed for a new generation to carry the torch for yet another generation,” said Wanda Clay who remains as the only original active affiliate since 1988.
“Upon her retiring, Geraldine Heath was the longest original affiliate of the Nashville PRIDE newspaper, even surpassing the original founders,” Clay said.
Clay ended her presentation of the Vintage Award with: “I am extremely honored and definitely proud to blow a trumpet of good faith by presenting this award to the Nashville PRIDE newspaper in honor of my mother, Mrs. Geraldine Heath.”
The PRIDE continues to accept all newsworthy information at email@example.com