This Texas Highways’ web story is one of the most important news stories I have ever reported. It bolsters my award-winning journalism experience and current pursuit of the Ph.D. in history at the University of North Texas. Further, it contributes to research about Emily West and Hendrick Arnold, the two mixed-race African American historic figures who will forever be celebrated for their contributions to the Texas Revolution.
When I received an email from Texas Highways magazine asking if I would be interested in reporting about the Alamo’s first statues honoring African Americans who were part of the Texas Revolution, I squeezed it into my overcrowded schedule. What I discovered about them confirmed the wisdom of my late former Abilene Christian University mentor, Dr. Charlie Marler. During a phone call in December 2020, he said,“There aren’t enough African American historians. I want you to go back to school to become a historian!”
I am so glad I listened and followed Dr. Marler’s order to go back to school and that he witnessed my graduate studies in the history program at the University of Texas at Arlington. That achievement was possible thanks to scholarships from Dr. W. Marvin Dulaney, the president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and he is also UTA professor emeritus. I look forward to researching, reporting, writing, and publishing many more neglected Black history stories for multimedia platforms, magazines, newspapers, academic journals, books, and yes, my future dissertation!
My journalism professor, mentor, and guiding light, Dr. Charlie Marler, died May 27, 2022, and I am creating a series of blog posts about the impact he had on my and his other former students’ journalism and media careers. I am bringing his colleagues and others into the conversation as well. In this post, I share the text of Ron Hadfield's remarks from the Celebration of Life service, held June 1, 2022, at the University Church of Christ, Abilene, TX.
Fourth Post: Ron Hadfield's Remarks at Dr. Charlie Marler's Celebration of Life Service, June 1, 2022
The Marlers shared Charlie’s 89th home-cooked birthday lunch with me last month, a feast including two of his favorites: barbeque pork ribs and a decadent chocolate cake. The conversation was candid and comforting, and it reminded me of moments years ago around the same table between this college student and two of the most godly people I’ve ever known.
Charlie Marler was my college professor, my professional mentor and my Texas Father, and not always in that order. I did not aspire to be a college professor, but in most other ways, my journalistic apple, so to speak, did not fall far from his tree.
By task and by default, we have found ourselves serving as unofficial historians for Abilene Christian, for a combined total of more than 100 years, a number I have a hard time grasping.
That’s a privilege and a responsibility we enjoyed but took seriously: a blessing with, at times, a heavy yoke. In short, we learn about our shared alma mater, store the facts where others can hopefully find them later, and tell stories about its people and moments that matter most.
Together, we have worked across the street at a place where the late, great academic dean Walter H. Adams once said he was a member of the church, at the institution where he was worth more to the church than anywhere else. We saw our work that way, as mission and vocation.
For just short of 40 years, I have had the often unenviable task of proofing and editing the best editor I knew.
Even at the end of his eighth decade, Charlie could work circles around most people half his age. His work ethic, like my own parents, has been an inescapable inheritance. Before his stroke and fall last week, he likely was online, at age 89, researching something to benefit his latest project for me or his own interest on ACU’s behalf.
Over time, kinks began to show in his armor, thanks to failing vision, a slightly leaky memory and the challenge of keeping up with "Associated Press Stylebook" editors who changed their mind on punctuation and usage like most of us change our socks.
But he genuinely appreciated the extra set of eyes I brought to our relationship, and we regularly exchanged drafts of our work. I sought his counsel on difficult days, and he always wanted to know what was new in my world. Over time, my professor became my teammate and confidant.
By Dr. Cheryl Mann Bacon
Charlie was my teacher. He chaired my master’s thesis. He hired me to be his graduate assistant and to the JMC faculty. He was a part of the faculty I led when I succeeded him as chair. He was my elder, mentor, editor and friend.
He concluded his post with four things he thought were important:
• the love of civil discourse
• a passion for the First Amendment
• writing well and teaching others to write well
• and being a good mom.
In the dozens of tributes from former students this past week, variations of those same themes emerged over and over.
Paul Anthony, a former Optimist editor who’s now a doctoral student himself, recalled a conversation in Doc’s office when he was working through his views on some difficult topics.
He said Doc “never felt the need to make clear his own position. He knew that what I needed was an ear, not an opinion. The result was that I came away from those talks a more tolerant, more compassionate, more open-minded person.”
That was typical. Charlie had no patience for shallow thinking, but he loved a challenging conversation with students or colleagues who might disagree with him – so long as they were thoughtful, had their facts right, and could be civil about it.
Many students described that civility as kindness. The student who was struggling to pass received exactly the same kindness as the one he was encouraging to go to grad school, which he did frequently.
He often paraphrased Deuteronomy and said we must teach our students in the classrooms, the halls, the labs, our offices, the sidewalks, the parking lots and our homes. His civility and kindness were like that, too. Everywhere and at all times.
Then there was his passion for the First Amendment.
I remember him vividly describing his visit to James Madison’s grave on the grounds of Montpelier, in Virginia. When I had the chance to visit there a few years later and stood in that small family cemetery, I could just imagine the conversation that must have transpired in Charlie’s mind as he stood by the grave of his hero.
Charlie understood that nothing else about our Constitutional form of government works if we fail to honor and protect those freedoms – of religion, speech, the press, and the right of the people to assemble and petition for redress of grievances.
Fact: Dr. Marler was inducted into the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association's Hall of Fame in 2003
He believed passionately that all truth is God’s truth – and if the truth is hidden or suppressed, then we cannot make informed decisions –about government, or religion, or life. And he was all about making informed decisions.
That passion inspired his philosophy of student journalism, which demanded absolute excellence of his students --- and occasionally drove university presidents absolutely crazy.
But he believed that if we want students to go out into the world prepared to speak truth to power, well then they have to practice it -- here, now and unfettered.
His Optimist staffs consistently rose to the occasion because they knew he would go to the mat for them – and because disappointing him was unthinkable.
At the heart of not disappointing Charlie was writing well. Professional journalists all over the country hear Doc’s voice in their ears when they recall that
• a lot is two words
• that and which are not interchangeable
• redundancy wastes the reader’s time
• concision doesn’t mean short – it means the shortest path to understanding
• Always cite your sources
• And my personal favorite – avoid dead construction.
Now, my friend Cole Bennett tells me that ‘dead construction’ is not a grammarian’s term. They call passive constructions like ‘it is’ and ‘there are’ etc., ‘expletives’. But Charlie called them dead. I know this, because when he returned my 40-page graduate Comm Law paper I got a 98. Not a 100, because somewhere on about page 23 I had used “It is” one time, and there in bright red capital letters, underlined twice, were the words: AVOID DEAD CONSTRUCTION.
The analogy merits chasing just a bit. He called it dead because excellent writing should never have a vague subject and a passive verb. Excellent writing, and an excellent Christian life should be focused, vibrant and alive.
Finally, Charlie wrote to me in that post about being a good mom. Anyone who was around Charlie for even a little while knew that he adored Peggy, and he loved being a dad, and a grandfather. He could not talk about family without his trademark twinkle. Great journalism was important. Family was more important.
Lance Fleming, in his tribute last week wrote that when he sought Doc’s advice about a job change, “He agreed that my time on the road was better spent being at home with Jill, Ashley, and Ryan.”
For two years, Doc and Peggy had prayed every day for Rex, Lance and Jill’s oldest son, and for two years Doc ended every email or text to Lance with the words, “God, please kill Rex’s cancer.”
On the morning after Rex died, Lance had this message from Doc.
“Wow, God is good. Rex is healed forever; you guys now have an even more special connection to heaven,” he wrote. “You know hope is real. You will be finding new ways to touch Rex every day.”
So to Peggy, David, Todd, Scott and all the Marlers – and to all of us, I close with a very careful edit of Charlie’s own words:
“Wow, God is good. Charlie is healed forever. We now have an even more special connection to heaven. We know hope is real, and we will find new ways to hear Doc’s words in our ears every day.”
My journalism professor, mentor, and guiding light, Dr. Charlie Marler, died May 27, 2022, and I plan to write a series of blog posts about the impact he had on my and his other former students’ journalism and media careers.
Second Post: Searching for Healing, June 4, 2022
I attended the June 1, 2022, Celebration of Life service (download the searchable .PDF). I offered my condolences to Peggy Marler and the rest of Dr. Charlie Marler’s family and colleagues at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. Each speaker trumpeted Marler's commitment to his family, academic scholarship, his faith, and the Abilene community through meaningful anecdotes and his favorite scripture in Philippians. I plan to post the text of some of the speakers' remarks as I receive them.
Furthermore, this week, I visited ACU’s Journalism and Mass Communication Department to search for healing of my grief through conversations with members of the JMC community and to celebrate my days as a former KACU announcer/JMC student. Meeting some of the current students and staff, as well as touring classrooms, offices, ACUTV, and the Morris+Mitchell student agency contributed to my healing journey. As the first Black person and the first woman to receive ACU's Gutenberg Award, which Marler created, touching familiar ground was a smart step.
Additionally, I advanced my graduate history studies by meeting with two ACU librarians, Melinda Isbell and Laura Baker. They steered me to a wealth of resources and academic research strategies. Their invaluable guidance advanced my goal to fulfill Marler’s wish that I become a historian, specializing in African American history in Texas.
Moreover, due to a series of unplanned events, I met an ACU staffer, Evan Steele, who went out of his way to support my goals to honor Marler’s legacy, and also, become a Texas historian. Steele offered support and great foreign-language study tips, which will help me prepare for forthcoming Spanish exams for graduate school.
All in all, I received an ocean of comfort from so many people, including Susan Perry, a long-time Abilene friend who alerted me to Marler's illness, which she found out about in an email from the University Church of Christ. I am so thankful to that church for its quick email blast. Additionally, I appreciate Susan for her fast communication to me, and to her brother, Greg Perry, for his support. If it had not been for them, I would not have known Marler was sick!
Subsequently, this week was filled with overwhelming grief and loss. Nevertheless, I am navigating through the grief and charting new paths forward. Most of all, I am excited about the new people and resources that came into my life during my time in Abilene. I believe Marler had a hand in it.
Previous post in the series: Mourning the Death of Dr. Charlie Marler, My ACU Professor and Mentor
My journalism professor, mentor, and guiding light, Dr. Charlie Marler, died May 27, 2022, and I plan to write a series of blog posts about the impact he had on my and his other former students’ journalism and media careers.
First Post: Shock and Grief, May 31, 2022
When I stepped out of a Greyhound bus in Abilene, Texas, in 1979, I was determined to earn a bachelor’s degree and become a broadcast journalist. I had no idea that one of my Abilene Christian University journalism professors would influence and redirect my career in the remarkable ways that the late Dr. Charlie Marler did. The long trip from my native Memphis, Tennessee, was a time of celebration and joy for numerous reasons. I was the first in my family to enroll in college. My family helped me pack all our hopes and dreams in the borrowed suitcases donated by my former junior high school guidance counselor, Viola O’Neil Cole, and Peggy and Geno Grandi. The Grandis gave me a part-time job during high school cleaning their East Memphis house. I had a scholarship from the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the blessings and prayers of my beloved parents, Rowena H. Whiting, and Prince Whiting Jr. Moreover, the Tennessee to Texas bus trip was important to the community, including members of the Southside Church of Christ, and Mary and Myron Lowery, among many others. I knew a lot of people wanted me to succeed and I planned to accomplish just that.
Marler was my Communication Law professor and at that time, chair of ACU’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. Before I graduated in 1983, I had landed a part-time job working in TV news at KRBC, which was Abilene’s NBC affiliate at that time. Further, I had already sold a story to CNN, which was pretty amazing for a greenhorn still in college. After graduation, I left Abilene to pursue new jobs in other states and returned a decade later to be honored with the Gutenberg Award. As time pressed forward, I kept in touch with Marler, and he shared some of the projects he was working on. Peggy Marler, his wife, always answered the phone with a kind voice and then said: “Here’s Charlie” and handed him the phone. Marler and I had long phone conversations about media-related topics, and he was always interested in my career and encouraged me.
In 2019, we had an extended conversation about being multimedia specialists, which we both were. In December 2020, he basically ordered me to go back to school to become a historian, after I told him about my just-published Texas Highways magazine stories. I followed orders and he wrote recommendation letters to support my graduate history applications.
Long-time Abilene friend, Susan Perry, alerted me May 25, 2022, that Marler was in ICU. I spoke with Peggy, and she updated me that he had had a stroke. I was sick with fear and asked her to please keep me informed. I prayed. She alerted me on May 27 via a text message that he had died. I was overcome with grief that day and inconsolable when I saw his picture on an Abilene funeral home’s website.
I am coping with my grief by writing and rereading his graduate history recommendation letters. I just completed 12 graduate hours on a part-time basis at the University of Texas at Arlington, thanks to two fantastic scholarships from UTA Professor Emeritus and Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) President Dr. W. Marvin Dulaney. Further, I was accepted into the doctorate program at the University of North Texas. Marler knew of my progress and that I planned to start the doctorate, pending the best financial aid support I can receive, this fall. I am so glad I quickly followed his orders because he predicted I could leverage my journalism expertise as he did and make a significant contribution. I plan to specialize in African American history in Texas.
Marler went above and beyond by making himself available to me and his other former students. He rejected the traditional patriarchal mindset of his generation and saw each student as capable of achieving more, and more, and more. He practiced what he preached by conducting scholarly research and continuing to write to the end of his life.
And lastly, he cared!
Please leave your comments to these questions: How did Dr. Marler impact your career and life? Have you ever experienced the death of a mentor? How did you cope?
From Journalism to African American History in Texas
Download my map quiz here.
I listened and am almost finished with my first semester. Returning to graduate school was definitely the right step. The courses are intellectually satisfying and I am well-suited to part-time graduate work.
Watch video of Dr. Marler discussing libel.
Narrative: The heart of history and journalism
One of the reasons Dr. Marler advised me to consider graduate work in history is because he had studied "journalism and Black history at the University of Missouri-Columbia," which he wrote about in my recommendation letter. I was so impressed that he had studied Black history in graduate school. He also shared that well-known axiom, "Journalism is the first rough draft of history."
When I graduated with my M.A. in Journalism Administration degree from the University of Memphis, I sensed I would return to a university to learn more about the art and craft of the narrative. This time, I am aiming for a doctorate in history because of the abundant overlooked, underreported, and forgotten African American history in Texas content yet to be discovered, researched, and published. I look forward to one day researching, writing and teaching that history on all platforms, in and outside of academia. Meanwhile, I keep helping organizations and clients tell important stories while enjoying a new take on a familiar ride.
Read my other UTA graduate school recommendations:
“Delta Epiphany Spotlights Robert F. Kennedy’s Enduring Social Change Legacy” (Online Audio Documentary)
Burns embedded audio interviews she recorded in 2018 of Meacham and Michael White, one of the then-children whose Mississippi Delta home Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-New York) visited in 1967, with pivotal moments from Meacham’s book. Burns also interviewed Dallas, Texas-based Melinda Guravich, daughter-in-law of the late Greenville, Mississippi-based photographer Dan Guravich, whose photographs graced the book’s front and back covers
“Delta Epiphany Spotlights Robert F. Kennedy’s Enduring Social Change Legacy” explores Meacham’s book through NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund attorney Marian Wright’s plea to help the starving people in the Mississippi Delta to Kennedy’s arrival in Jackson, Mississippi, and his heartbreaking anti-poverty tour. Meacham traced the horrible human hunger Kennedy witnessed and the quick actions he took to provide aid as well as the subsequent impact of Kennedy’s anti-poverty awareness campaign, which influenced his decision to run for president in 1968. After he was assassinated on June 6, 1968, many other people carried Kennedy’s anti-poverty work forward, despite challenges and naysayers.
COVID-19 and SNAP
Approximately 25 million SNAP-- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- recipients are now eligible for additional emergency assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this year in 2021, the USDA said it would provide the increased emergency aid to SNAP participants who had reached the maximum benefit level and had not already received the increased benefits, which Congress approved in 2020.
Purchase Requirement Dropped for Food Stamps
SNAP’s roots date to 1939 and the Great Depression. Back then and recently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people stood in bread lines as hunger swept the country. Meacham provided abundant signposts of Kennedy’s social change journey, and his ongoing influence on various anti-hunger programs such as the 1977 federal legislation that dropped the purchase requirement for food stamps. Prior to that legislation, food stamps had to be purchased. Meacham documented that Kennedy learned, during his ‘Delta Epiphany’ tour, people struggling to put food on the table lacked the financial resources to buy food stamps.
Audio documentary (19:06) and transcript download (.PDF) are below.
Remembering RFK's trip to the Mississippi Delta (Article and "When D.C. Came to the Delta" Video by Junior Walters)
Copyright © June 11, 2021, Regina L. Burns, Harvest Reapers Communications. All Rights Reserved.
‘The Fight for Civil Rights in the South’ is on display through Memorial Day, May 31, 2021, at the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.
By Regina L. Burns
“We were searching for an exhibit that highlighted some seminal events in the fight for civil rights in the United States and connected to the African American history section in our American Ideals Reality Repair Gallery,” Museum President and CEO Mary Pat Higgins said. “The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute had these two wonderful exhibitions available, so we put them together and added original artifacts and additional historical material to create a unified whole.”
The exhibition includes some African American Museum of Dallas works dating to the Jim Crow South, according to Higgins.
Martin’s photographs pinpointed the violence of Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, when nonviolent marchers were beaten by state troopers in Alabama as they stood up for voting rights. His images also documented the other two Selma to Montgomery marches held that same month. Photographs of civil rights legends, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Hosea Williams, Andrew Young and John Lewis, among many others, were also included.
Joseph Postiglione’s photographs showed the horror Freedom Riders experienced when their Greyhound bus was “set on fire by members of the Ku Klux Klan,” according to the exhibition’s notes. The Freedom Riders were protesting segregated public transportation in Anniston, Alabama on May 14, 1961. “Postiglione caught the Freedom Riders in the immediate aftermath [of the firebombing], their clothes ashen, their faces distraught, and the flames and smoke from the bus in plain view,” according to the exhibition’s notes.
Each collection’s 48 photographs transport visitors to the segregated 1960s and the battle for civil rights. Other standouts include a comprehensive timeline and excerpts of Dr. King’s powerful speech, "How Long? Not Long." The exhibition is on display through Memorial Day. For tickets and more information, check out DHHRM.org.
1921 Tulsa Race Massacre
U.S. Civil Rights Trail
Our God is Marching On!
#MLK: How Long? Not Long!
The Heinous 1961 KKK Attack on the Freedom Riders
Get On the Bus: The Freedom Riders of 1961
Copyright © May 29, 2021, Regina L. Burns, Harvest Reapers Communications.
All Rights Reserved.
EXCLUSIVE: 53 years after attending Dr. King's funeral at the behest of Ann Arbor, Michigan officials, meet the Black man who was president of the NAACP Youth Council and whose name never made the newspapers in 1968 (Online Audio Documentary).
A Note from
Regina L. Burns
In 2018, Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D., (above) first told me that he attended Dr. Martin L. King Jr.’s funeral when he was 17. At the time, we were having a telephone discussion about media coverage of the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination. I was shocked to learn I knew someone who had actually attended Dr. King’s April 9, 1968 funeral service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
I asked him if I could record an audio interview for my blog. He agreed. Welch, who is an Associate Professor at Grambling State University’s Department of Mass Communication, said he was present at Dr. King’s funeral as a youthful representative of Ann Arbor, Michigan. He said he was invited to attend the funeral because he was president of the NAACP Youth Council. He said then-Mayor Wendell Hulcher came to his house during his senior year at Pioneer High School. Hulcher asked Welch’s parents’ permission for Welch to travel with the mayor by airplane to Atlanta. His parents agreed he could attend the funeral service.
Invited and Alone
Welch said I was the first journalist to interview him about his historic role. I am thankful I asked him for the interview and that he agreed to share his story. My research revealed Welch’s name was not included in media coverage of the Ann Arbor mayor’s trip to Atlanta, despite his request for Welch to attend. In addition, Welch was not part of the Michigan delegation at thefuneral, he said, even though he was an official representative. He attended the funeral service by himself.
Alone. A 17-year-old, who was asked to represent his city’s youth, was all byhimself at Dr. King’s funeral. Think about that.
I first met Welch when I was the news/public director at WGKX KIX-106 in Memphis, Tennessee. He sent his University of Memphis broadcast students to my internship program. That was in the late 1980s.
'Snowmageddon' Delayed Online Audio Documentary Project
After I recorded the first interview in 2018, I didn’t have the research and production time available to work on this project until 2021. I began working on it in January 2021 and set a deadline to publish by late March 2021. However, February 2021’s ice storm accurately dubbed “snowmageddon” delivered water damage and other challenges, which delayed the project. Nevertheless, I knew I had to get this story out this year. It blossomed into an online audio documentary from the trove of research documents I found. Please read below my shout-out to the libraries that assisted me.
I am thankful to Welch and his childhood friend, Charles Whitman (above left), who was chair of the education committee of the NAACP Youth Council at Pioneer High School, for making themselves available for interviews. Their friendship started in 1965 and their recall of Welch's 1968 trip to Atlanta is documentary "gold."
Thank you also to the amazing research librarians at The University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Willard Library in Battle Creek, Michigan, and the Dallas Public Library in Dallas, Texas.
Copyright © May 19, 2021, Regina L. Burns, Harvest Reapers Communications. All Rights Reserved.
Click on the player below to hear the online audio documentary.
This is Regina L. Burns, reporting for Harvest Reapers Communications.
Imagine it’s April 9, 1968, and you’re in Atlanta, Georgia. You’re attending (video of Dr. King's funeral service) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral. You went to the funeral at Ebenezer Baptist Church to represent your city’s youth. And by the way, you’re a 17-year-old Black male.
(See video of Mrs. Coretta Scott King as she lies in honor at the Georgia state Capitol).
1--SOUNDBITE Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D., (Me): “I was a senior … Hulcher of Ann Arbor.”
That’s Edward Welch Jr., who holds a doctorate in Mass Communication from Ohio University. He’s an Associate Professor at Grambling State University’s Department of Mass Communication.
Welch stepped into history when he attended Dr. King’s funeral in 1968. This is the first time he has publicly shared his thoughts about this historic event. I interviewed him in 2018 and again in 2021.
2--SOUNDBITE Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D., (There): “I feel extremely fortunate … I was there.”
The Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council sent Mayor Wendell Hulcher and Welch to Atlanta. They were part of a prestigious delegation from Michigan headed by then-Gov. George Romney, according to an April 9, 1968, Associated Press news story in the Enquirer and News newspaper in Battle Creek, Michigan.
3--SOUNDBITE Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D., (Dropped Off): “Now, I know … way it went.”
Like so many cities, Ann Arbor roared with unrest after the April 4 assassination of Dr. King in Memphis, Tennessee. In fact, the AP story reported violence occurred in several Michigan cities in the hours before King’s funeral.
The AP story also reported Hulcher’s attendance at Dr. King’s funeral generated backlash from Albert Wheeler, Dr.PH., who at the time was president of the Michigan branch of the NAACP. Welch explains what Wheeler found troublesome:
4--SOUNDBITE Edward Welch Jr. Ph.D., (Wheeler): “Did not want … him speaking up.”
Hulcher died in 1999.
Charles Whitman was the NAACP Youth Council’s Education Chair at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He later worked for Ford Motor Company in Livonia, Michigan for 30 years until his retirement. During a May 2021 interview, Whitman recalled Welch’s 1968 trip to attend Dr. King’s funeral.
5--SOUNDBITE Charles Whitman (Supportive): “We were very … the Youth Council.”
6--SOUNDBITE Charles Whitman (Activist): “What are some things … of an activist nature.”
Whitman said President Lyndon Johnson ordered flags at half-staff. However, not everyone followed his command.
7--SOUNDBITE Charles Whitman (Half-staff): “What I recall is … and what not.”
I received this May 18, 2021-email from the Ann Arbor Public Schools in response to my request for comment, “Unfortunately, we do not have a good way to research this information to confirm it in such a short time period.”
Meanwhile, Welch picked up the story with his memories of an unforgettable funeral at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
8--SOUNDBITE Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D., (Wilt Chamberlain): “Do you recall … inside the church.”
(See Alabama Department of Archives & History's photo of Richard Nixon and Wilt Chamberlain in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral procession).
After the funeral on the airplane trip back to Michigan, Welch and Hulcher shared a remarkable discussion.
9--SOUNDBITE Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D., (Politics): “You had mentioned … home from Atlanta.”
Welch graduated from high school in June 1968. He completed college and later earned masters’ degrees from the University of Michigan and Northwestern University. In 1979, he accepted his second general assignment reporter’s job. He moved his family from Buffalo, New York to work for WHBQ-TV in Memphis. Welch said he was later approached by the station’s news management about a promotion to executive producer. In 1982, Welch became the first Black manager in TV news in Memphis, he said. He achieved that milestone when he accepted the executive producer promotion.
I wanted to know if and how attending Dr. King’s funeral prepared him to become a reporter and an executive producer.
10--SOUNDBITE Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D., (Journalist): “I think all this… being a journalist.”
He later transitioned to a new career in academia, which he still finds satisfying. His numerous accomplishments in journalism education include shepherding students’ award-winning entries in the Hearst Journalism Awards Program.
11--SOUNDBITE Edward Welch Jr., Ph.D., (Hearst): “So, what are you … students to compete.”
Starting with the NAACP Youth Council presidency at his high school, Welch has embodied leadership and courage. He attended Dr. King’s funeral alone when he was a teenager.
That accomplishment is too important not to be recorded in the annals of history.
This has been Regina L. Burns reporting for Harvest Reapers Communications, in Dallas.
Copyright © May 19, 2021, Regina L. Burns, Harvest Reapers Communications. All Rights Reserved.
More Stories from Regina
About the Author:
Regina L. Burns, M.A., Project+, is an award-winning multimedia editor and journalist, specializing in Black history and African American stories at Harvest Reapers Communications. Her work has been published in Texas Highways magazine, WFAA-TV, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as well as The Commercial Appeal, the Tri-State Defender and The Flyer, among others.
She previously worked for a variety of news media organizations as an editor and journalist, including The Associated Press in Mississippi and Texas. She was news director at WLOK-AM and WGKX KIX-106 FM in Memphis. Learn more
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Park Place Volvo
Personal Mission Statement
Positive Mental Framework For Success
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Press Club Of Dallas
Public Relations Writing
Queen Of Soul
Reach For The Stars
Regina L. Burns
Rev. Al Green
Rev. Billy Kyles
Rev. Dr. Thomas Hudspeth
Rev. James Lawson
Rev. Joel Osteen
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Rev. Paula White
Richardson Humane Society
Samsung Telecommunications America
Scott H. Cyton
Sen. Joseph Clark
Sen. Robert Kennedy
Shama Hyder Kabani
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing
Small Business Saturday
Social Media And Spanish
Social Media For Project Managers
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Trends 2013
Social Media Writing
Southern Literary Trail
The Association Of Magazine Media
The Dalai Lama
The Dallas Morning News
The Potter's House
The Press And Civil Rights
The Race Beat
The Zen Of Social Media Marketing
Thou Art Loosed Conference
Turkey And Dressing
Twitter And Spanish
University Of Missouri-Columbia
Video Conversion Software
Viola O'Neil Cole
Women In Technology International
Women's History Month
World Wide Rave: Creating Triggers That Get Millions Of People To Spread Your Ideas And Share Your Stories
Wrapping Black Hair
Writing Your Goals
Yahoo! Eye Tracking Study
Zora Neale Hurston