Chicagoans off to Nashville for Fisk U’s Reunion Weekend

What’s Cookin’ – The gloves are off! All bets are on! It’s Friday’s “Annual Gumbo Kick-Off,” 6 p.m.-9 p.m., pitting the culinary prowess of Josephine Wade (Capt.’s Hard Time Dining a.k.a. Josephine’s C

Fun at Fisk – Dr. Sandra Neilson Givens and Bonita O’Banion, representing Fisk University’s Class of 1961 (50 years ago!) head south to Nashville, Tenn. to join fellow Fisk-ites from across the country for “Alumni Weekend 2011” (April 29-May 2). Other Chicagoans making the southern sojourn: Janelle Caldwell-West, Tanya Downer, Harold “Chip” Johnson, George Cooper, sisters Atty. Gina Davis and Dr. Helen Davis Gardner, and othersall “peacock-proud” Fisk grads!

The four days of fun and re-acquaintance include Friday’s Fish-Fry Meet & Greet “On the Yard” and a Midnight Cruise aboard the General Jackson; Saturday’s Class Photos & Meetings “On the Yard” and the Alumni Dinner at Lowes’ Vanderbilt Hotel; Sunday’s Fisk Jubilee Singers’ Concert and Monday’s Graduation. Among “cap and gowners” picking up degrees, Kossi Gardner III, handsome son of Dr. Gardner. Wow! Has it really been four years? I remember when

What’s Cookin’ – The gloves are off! All bets are on! It’s Friday’s “Annual Gumbo Kick-Off,” 6 p.m.-9 p.m., pitting the culinary prowess of Josephine Wade (Capt.’s Hard Time Dining a.k.a. Josephine’s Cooking) against that of Herman Roberts, “back in the day” a popular millionaire motel mogul and entertainment producer extraordinaire, and Louanner Peters, former Ill. deputy gov and now Cong. Bobby Rush’s chief of staff. The yearly charity contest is at the up-scale Chatham eatery, 436 E. 79th St.. For $35 and as a member of the voting audience, you can help decide the ultimate winner by sampling, taste-testing and judging the original southern-style gumbo offerings. For three years Wade has emerged “Winner & Still Champion!” Call (773) 487-2900.

Movin’ On Up! – Joel K. Johnson, Human Resources Development Institute’s chief administrative officer, has been elevated to president and CEO. One of the nation’s leading African American behavioral health and human services organizations, HRDI is a nationally respected leader in child welfare; Johnson was its CEO beginning in 2009, overseeing all aspects of the organization’s day to day operations including human resources, property management, procurement, transportation and accreditation-regulatory compliance. Before HRDI, Johnson was chief operating officer of SOS Children’s Villages in Illinois, a boutique foster care/child enrichment organization that focuses on keeping siblings intact during their tenure in the foster care system. He’s also served in various capacities for several human service/child serving organizations: Midwest Region of Child Welfare League of America, Chicago Commons, Drug Intervention Service Center Village; and Chicago Dept. of Health (School Based Initiative). Atty. Mark V. Tillman, HRDI’s board chair, announced Johnson’s appointment at an Introductory Dinner at Skia Restaurant. Johnson will be the fifth leader in HRDI’s 37-year history.

Newsy Names – Funeral for media bro, Herbert Temple, long-time (nearly a half-century) art director at Johnson Publishing Co. (Ebony and Jet) is this Wednesday at Leak & Sons Funeral Home, 7838 S. Cottage Grove: wake, 10 a.m., funeral, 11 a.m. RIP, Herb! Happy b’day to Barbara Sims Bell, Dr. Sonya Givens, Jenny Rand, George Montgomery, Tangee Johnson, State Rep. Annazette Collins (10th), T’Shaun Barrett, Georgette Greenlee Finney, Patricia Epps, Gloria Bell, Bert Allen, Dorothy Tucker, Muriel Clair, Marion Brooks, Hazel Bond, Dr. Eric Whitaker, Dawn Posey, Mary Emerson, Diane Douglas, Delores Scott, Clarabelle Claiborne, Nemi Johnson, Carolle Mastin, and Harry Mays And 55th anniversary wishes to Kenneth and Dr. Frances Dawson … If you admire stained glass church windows, you’ll not want to miss this! Theodore Feaster, stained glass artist, gives an eye-opening workshop on the age-old technique on May 7, 2 p.m.-4 p.m., presented by Diasporal Rhythms’ Art Smart Series at 3636 S. Lake Park. Tickets ($25; $10 for members) must be purchased in advance by May 6. Online: www.diasporal or call Dan Parker, (773) 268-2209 … Sorry to hear of Friday’s passing of actor Douglas Alan Mann, a stalwart of Chicago Theatre Co. and X-Bag Theatre Group. A memorial service is planned.

Curtain Call – Preachers’ Kids: The Untold Stories, a stage play dedicated to kids around the world who share their parents with others through the ministry, returns for its third anniversary on Saturday and Sunday, 5 p.m., at Victory Cathedral Metroplex, 10441 S. Racine. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Visit or call (312) 770-0217. Chicago native Alvin M. Daniels, writer-producer-director, is the son of two ministers and grew up sharing them with their congregation and the community. “I know from first hand experience what it’s like to be a PK (preacher’s kid). Using skits and vignettes, I share some of the life changing experiences with the audience in a humorous and serious way,” he said. The play is a part of a continuing series and each play shares four to five stories. Daniels’ mom, Rev. Princella Brady Lee, is pastor of Victory Cathedral.

Sorority Set – Sisters of Eta Xi Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, headed by Lisa L. Cooper, chapter president, and its Beacon of Light Foundation are gearing up for the 11th annual Pre-Mothers’ Day Scholarship Luncheon & Fashion Show, May 7, at Georgio’s Banquets in Orland Park. A half dozen high schoolers will receive $1,000 grants; $500 donated to Gary Comer Youth Center’s College Readiness Program and several moms will be cited. Also on tap, says Mary Ann Lloyd, a soror, Leon Rogers, 107.5 FM radio comic; fashions emceed by Deborah Croslin, and prizes and gifts from local vendors.

Dance Date – The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (“American’s Cultural Ambassador to the World”) returns to the Auditorium Theatre May 18-22 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ailey’s signature cultural masterpiece, Revelations, and to mark Judith Jamison’s final season as AAADT’s artistic director. Tickets ($30-$87) are on sale at (312) 431-2357, (800) 982-2787, or the box office, 50 E. Congress. AAADT is presented by Blackwell Consulting Services.

Anniversary Alums – The Wimodasis (acronym of wives, mothers, daughters and sisters) celebrated their 58th anniversary at Foxes Restaurant in suburban Cicero. The ladies (most graduated together from Englewood High School, now closed, some time ago) are Ina Danzy, Gwen Flagg, Gwen Hardiman, Mary Ella Harris, Ernestine Johnson, Verna Johnson, Iris May, Rosa Lee Neal, Betty Richards, Ernestine Taitt, Dewise Ward and Magrenee Williams.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender


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