The New Tri-State Defender Hosts Legends and Leaders Gala To Celebrate 65 Year Anniversary

Press Release ( - MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Feb 24, 2017 - The New Tri-State Defender is 65! To celebrate, the historic media company is hosting the Legends and Leaders Gala Saturday, March 25th. This black tie event will honor past and present business, political, and civic trailblazers in the Memphis community. The evening will also feature music, dinner, and tributes to the honored visionaries. President/CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Dr. Benjamin Chavis will deliver an inspiring message during the keynote address and Action News 5 Anchor Kontji Anthony will serve as the emcee.  The Legends and Leaders Gala will be a wonderful celebration of many of the historical accomplishments made in our community and will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Domino’s Event Center, located at 501 St. Jude Place in Memphis, TN.

The New Tri-State Defender has been the #1 media source for news pertaining to African Americans in the tri-state area since its inception in 1951. The weekly newspaper and daily online resource, bills itself as “The Voice of the Community”. In 2013, it underwent a rebranding and resurgence after being acquired by BEST Media Properties, Inc., a Tennessee corporation established by current TSD President and Publisher, Bernal E. Smith II.

“November 1, 2016 marked 65 years of the Tri-State Defender’s continuous publication in Memphis and the Mid-South, making us one of the longest running publications and media entities in the area and one of the longest operating African-American-owned businesses,” said Smith. “In the spirit of recognition and celebration, we will observe this milestone and our efforts to inform, inspire, and elevate the quality of life of our readers and audiences.”

The Legends and Leaders Gala also provides the opportunity to recognize Memphis’s unique past, present, and future through the individuals who helped shape it as TSD salute’s those pioneers and visionaries who opened doors for so many, while also recognizing a group of dynamic young leaders who are setting the pace for today and blazing new trails for tomorrow.

The Legends being honored are:

Lee Bean, President of Bean & Prince Contractors

The Honorable George C. Brown, Retired Circuit Court Judge

Michael Cody, Attorney & Political Leader

Clifton Dates, Sr., RetiredOwner CDA Security Firm

Fred Davis, Founder of Fred L. Davis Insurance & Political Leader

Harold Ford, Sr., First African American Congressmen of the 9th District

Art Gilliam, Owner & General Manager WLOK Radio Station

Mayor Dr. W.W. Herenton, First African American Mayor of Memphis &

Superintendent of Memphis City Schools

The Honorable Ernestine Hunt Dorse, First African American Female City Court Judge

Fred Jones, Founder Summitt Management Corporation & The Southern The Heritage Classic

Sara Lewis, Retired Board Commissioner Memphis City Schools

Dr. James L. Netters, Sr., First African American Elected to Memphis City Council & Pastor

Barbara Swearengen-Ware, Retired Memphis City Councilwoman

Madeline Taylor, Civil Rights Leader, Retired NAACP Executive Director

Mayor A.C. Wharton, First African American Mayor of Shelby County & Former Mayor, City of Memphis

Luke Yancy, III, President/CEO MMBC Continuum

The Leaders behonored are:

Raumesh Akbari, TN State Representative

Phillip Ashley, Founder Phillip Ashley Chocolates

Ekundayo Bendele, Founder& Director Hattiloo Theatre

Berlin Boyd, Chairman of the Memphis City Council

Roquita Coleman-Williams, Transportation & Transit Leader

Cynthia Daniels, Social & Civic Leader

Rev. Earle Fisher, Civil Rights Leader & Pastor

Paul Garner, Civil Rights & Civic Leader

Curtis Givens, Founder CGI Entertainment

Senator Lee Harris, Political Leader

Andrea Johnson, Owner Bubble Bistro

London Lamar, Political Leader & Education Advocate

Edward Stanton, III, United States Attorney

Van Turner, Attorney and Political Leader

Roblin Webb, Founder/CEO Freedom Preparatory Academy

Artemis “Peppa” Williams, Entrepreneur & Civic Leader

The Legends and Leaders Gala event is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased for $65 or a VIP Table of 10 for $700. A portion of the proceeds from the event will support the I-Read Foundation and the Barbershops, Books and Boys Youth Literacy initiative. For more information and to purchase tickets, contact the New Tri-State Defender at (901) 523-1818.


About The New Tri-State Defender

The New Tri-State Defender is one of the longest continuously published African-American newspapers in the South. Under the leadership of its Owner, President and Publisher, Bernal E. Smith II, it has evolved into a progressive multi-media business with a distribution that includes print newspaper, digital publications, website/social media pages and events. TSD’s mission is to inform, inspire and elevate the quality of life of its growing audience while serving as the primary vehicle for reaching African Americans in the Greater Memphis market. The New Tri-State Defender multi-media platform reaches 85,000 people weekly. Visit us at

Source : Monument of Love Baptist Church

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