Memphis, Tenn. (6.17.13) Mrs. Rowena H. Whiting, who bought Memphis musician Kenny DeWalt his first trombone and foresaw his success nationally when he was a beginning musician, has died. She was 82.
She died Sunday of respiratory failure at Baptist Memorial Hospital, according to Regina Burns, one of her daughters.
DeWalt, who has played for numerous stars including “Johnny Taylor, The Temptations, The Bar-Kays (plus) Al Green and recorded with Mary J. Blige,” said when his aunt told him he would be on “The Tonight Show” he laughed. But years later in 2003, he called her from California after he played for Al Green on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
Services Tuesday (6.18.13) will be held at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, 70 N. Bellevue Blvd. Visitation is scheduled for 4 p.m. with the funeral starting at 5 p.m. Burial is scheduled at 10 a.m. Wednesday (6.19.13) at New Park Cemetery, 4536 Horn Lake Road.
Mrs. Whiting was the former wife of the late Prince Whiting Jr. In addition to Burns, her children are Darryl A. Whiting Sr. of Jacksonville, Fla. and Marla Whiting of Memphis. Derrick A. Whiting Sr. predeceased her in 2004 at age 41.
Mrs. Whiting formerly worked at the then-Armour Packing Co. Her late parents, Alon Etta Vaughn-Hooks and John Hooks, were sharecroppers in Clarkedale, Ark., where she was born. Her siblings included Daisy Tanner, Rosemary DeWalt and a brother, who each predeceased her.
She leaves eight grandchildren: Derrick A. Whiting Jr., Tolissia Whiting, Joshua D. Whiting, Zephaniah D. Whiting, London Pierce, LaDarius Pierce, Darryl Whiting Jr. and Darius Whiting. Granddaughter Daphne Whiting predeceased her.
The first time I heard about Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr was in March at the 20th Oxford Conference for the Book at The University of Mississippi (see photos below). Special thanks to Ole Miss Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator Dr. Kathleen Wickham for assistance during the conference.
The book’s author Dr. Michael Williams, is Professor of History and Director of the African American Studies Program at The University of Texas at El Paso. He was among several panelists who spoke about recent Civil Rights movement books. Dr. Williams’ insights about Medgar Evers provided new information about the slain NAACP field secretary and that’s how I came to call him this week for a telephone interview to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Evers’ assassination.
As you will hear in the excerpts below, Williams is passionate about the book and its impact, which extends far beyond Mississippi. Ultimately, he desires more people will be touched and become active in causes that we care about it, a fitting and lasting tribute to Evers -- the ultimate "servant leader."
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.