John Shearer: Local Edwards Family’s Civil Rights Work Chronicled In Video

Saturday, August 8, 2020 - by John Shearer

A “Bessie’s Front Porch” video featuring an interview with John L. Edwards III and Valitus Edwards regarding the civil rights work of their late father, the Rev. John Loyd Edwards Jr., was recently released.

 

Part of an effort by the Bessie Smith Cultural Center to have dialogue regarding race relations, the video features the two sons discussing with Elijah Cameron of the center their father’s work in Chattanooga and their other memories of the 1960s era.

 

They chronicle how their father came to Chattanooga in 1963 from Nashville to succeed the noted and recently deceased Rev.

C.T. Vivian as pastor of Cosmopolitan Community Church. While in Nashville, the elder Mr. Edwards had been involved in the integration efforts and had been Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s driver when he was in town.

 

They discuss their father’s work in Chattanooga as a longtime pastor and his efforts successfully leading in the integration of such facilities as Erlanger Hospital, the Hamilton County Nursing Home and the Boone-Hysinger public housing facility.

 

Valitus Edwards discusses some of the challenges of all that work, saying he came home to the family’s parsonage on Fortwood Street from Tennessee State University one night and the house was firebombed while his mother, Lottie, and special needs younger brother were there.

 

The two also discuss some of the positive aspects of the push for civil rights, including the fact that Chattanooga for a period had been able to integrate several of its restaurants because some prominent white Chattanoogans invited some of the black leaders to dine with them.

 

The elder Mr. Edwards, who had come from a pioneering black family in Oklahoma and worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps early in life, was active here as a minister until the age of 90. He died in 2014.

 

The Bessie Smith Cultural Center has also done a “Bessie’s Front Porch” reading program in connection with WUTC public radio.

 

Jcshearer2@comcast.net

 


"The Return" National And Global Day Of Prayer And Repentance To Be Live-Streamed Saturday At Refuge Assembly Of God

Bob Tamasy: We’re All in This Together, Right? Not So Sure About That

Navy Veteran And Member Of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints Heads Up JustServe For Chattanooga


Pastor Dennis Parillo announces "The Return" with Jonathan Cahn will be live-streamed from Washington, DC on Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Refuge Assembly of God Church, 194 Depot St. in Soddy ... (click for more)

Several months ago, many of us figured that by now the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 would be a fading memory. One of those “good riddance” things. Obviously we were wrong. The virus and its consequences ... (click for more)

Josselyn Nielsen, a U.S. Navy veteran, has been called to head up JustServe for the Chattanooga Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. JustServe helps link organizations and ... (click for more)



Church

"The Return" National And Global Day Of Prayer And Repentance To Be Live-Streamed Saturday At Refuge Assembly Of God

Pastor Dennis Parillo announces "The Return" with Jonathan Cahn will be live-streamed from Washington, DC on Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Refuge Assembly of God Church, 194 Depot St. in Soddy Daisy. A complimentary lunch will be provided. Also Franklin Graham will lead a prayer walk in the nation’s capitol beginning at noon. "Please join us and thousands of Americans ... (click for more)

Bob Tamasy: We’re All in This Together, Right? Not So Sure About That

Several months ago, many of us figured that by now the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 would be a fading memory. One of those “good riddance” things. Obviously we were wrong. The virus and its consequences are very much with us. One of those “consequences” is continuing to hear famous recording artists and actors, celebrity athletes, and anyone with a “Who’s Who” type of name ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Hakeem Calls For Probe Of Hamilton County Election Office; Hargett Said He Has Confidence In The Office

State Rep. Yusuf Hakeem said he was asking for a state investigation of the Hamilton County Election Commission. In a letter to Secretary of State Tre Hargett, he said he ha s great "anguish and concern" that the county election office is "becoming a petri dish for undermining the fundamental right to free and fair elections." Secretary of State Hargett responded, "I will ... (click for more)

Former County EMT Charged With Vehicular Homicide Is Back Out Of Jail After Pretrial Services "Error"

A former county EMT accused of vehicular homicide was taken into custody in court on Monday based on five alleged violations of his pretrial release. But Justin Whaley was back out of jail on Wednesday after it was agreed that the report of the violations was unfounded. His attorney, Lee Davis, said, " The report filed by Pretrial Services was in error. There was no alcohol ... (click for more)

Opinion

Earl Freudenberg Remembers Bettye Parker

One of the most patriotic individuals I have ever known has passed away. Bettye Parker died Tuesday after a short illness. At Bettye's request there will be no memorial service. Bettye ran Bettye Parker Realty on Highway 58 for as long as I can remember. She handled thousands of property transactions. Her son, Paul Parker, also became involved in real estate and is the real ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Nashville's Big Day

The Nashville Election Commission will meet this afternoon to vote on whether to conduct a city-wide special election on Dec. 5. A grass roots group says they have enough signatures to bring a controversial 34 percent tax increase to the voters. Oh, the increase has already been approved, alright, but Nashville is the state’s Waterloo argue others, and if the city government goes ... (click for more)