Douglass, Memphis, Tennessee

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Douglass is a community on the north side of Memphis, Tennessee. Douglass was named after Frederick Douglass, who was admired by Reverend William Rush-Plummer, the one-time owner of the land (approximately 40 acres (0.16 km2)) where the Douglass neighborhood currently stands.

Geography[edit]

Douglass borders Hyde Park and Hollywood and is surrounded by railroad tracks to the north, south and west. South of Douglas is the neighborhood of Binghampton, to the southeast is Nutbush.

History[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

Reverend William Rush-Plummer was born into a life of slavery in the Southern States in America. He was the only son of a white slave master, William Rush Sr. and his mother, a slave from Africa. Mrs. Rush demanded of her husband, that young William Rush Jr. not be given the Rush family name. As a result, William Rush Senior, modified his son’s name giving him a hyphenated last name. William Jr. was renamed, William Rush-Plummer.

Slavery in the South was eventually abolished. When that time arrived, slaves were promised 40 acres (160,000 m2) and a mule. Although many newly freed slaves did not receive the promise at that time, William Rush Sr. gave William Rush-Plummer 40 acres (160,000 m2) in North Memphis, Tennessee. He turned his land into a community and name it after Fredrick Douglass, a man he had come to befriend and admire.

William Rush-Plummer was ordained in his young adult years and began to develop the land now known as the Douglass Community in Memphis, Tennessee after his family was released from slavery (see 40 acres (160,000 m2) and a mule). Now referred to as Reverend Plummer, he had a strong resemblance to his father and a similar proper speech pattern (with a heavy southern dialect). He began opening many churches on his land including St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church (Need More Missionary Baptist Church), St. Stephens MB Church, St. John MB Church, St. Charles MB Church and at least three other local churches that were later sold to local Pastors and their congregations.

From the very beginning, Christianity played a vital role in the Plummer family and the lives of families in the Douglass Community due to Reverend William Rush-Plummer's vision. In 1900, Reverend William Rush Plummer and his associates had a vision that a church was needed for the community. Under a bush arbor in Douglass Park, the first church known as "Need More" was established. Reverend Plummer, known as “Father Plummer” deliberately gave the church this name because he felt it needed more of everything: shelter, chairs, and people.

Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church[edit]

In 1902, ‘Need More Church’ moved to a new location for worship on Ellington Street and was given a new name, "Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church". Reverend Plummer served as the church’s first official pastor. He was succeeded by Reverend Bolton, followed by Reverend Anderson. The church moved in 1905 to its present location at 1543 Brookins Street. Memphis, Tennessee.

Rev. J.E. Ferguson became the fourth pastor of the church on the third Sunday in June 1931. Realizing that education had to be perpetuated in the community, Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church allowed Douglass High School to hold classes in the early 1900s when the school was blown away by the "Great Storm". In 1935, the School burned to the ground and once again, St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church opened its doors. Rev. Ferguson permitted the school to hold classes under the leadership of Mrs. Susie Crawford, principal and later Mr. Lucky Sharpe until the new school was built the following year. To further serve the community, St. Paul was, also, used as a social center for feeding the poor. Rev. Ferguson served as pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church for 60 years until his death on April 16, 1991.

Reverend Harry Davis was elected as Pastor, on the first Sunday in July in 1991 and is currently the Pastor. Under his leadership, St Paul Missionary Baptist Church, was re-documented under the name of St. Paul (Douglass) M. B. Church under the direction of Reverend Harry Davis and is a landmark in the “Historic Douglass Community.”

Over the years, through several generations, the name ‘Rush’ began to fade. New generations unaware of the family’s history simply stopped using the full last name in the mid 1900s. Today the Plummer family seldom uses the name Rush, unless historical matters are being discussed. The Plummer family’s official last name, although it may not show up on their birth certificates is Rush-Plummer.

Church of the Living God, Missionary Baptist Church[edit]

Pastor Maggie-Judith A. Fluker-Campbell, (Pastor Maggie Campbell) is the great-great granddaughter of Reverend William Rush-Plummer and the granddaughter of Reverend Plummer's daughter, Evangelist Maggie Plummer-Trout whose husband was Willie Trout Sr.

Evangelist Maggie Plummer insisted on the day Pastor Maggie Campbell was born that she be named after her. When her mother, Evelyn Fluker-Williams refused, initially naming her Judith A. Fluker, Plummer wrote the name Maggie in the margin of the birth certificate form followed by a dash[-] next to the name Judith, which led to her first name to this day as Maggie-Judith. Her mother Evelyn Fluker-Williams and her father Willie [Plummer] Trout Jr. never changed it.

Pastor Maggie Campbell has been a member of St. Paul ‘Douglass’ Missionary Baptist Church since birth. She was baptized at the church at the approximate age of 12 years. She was trained by her grandmother and members of her family in Evangelism since her teen years. She accepted the calling on her life at the age of 13 years while attending St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church under the late Reverend J. E. Ferguson.

Pastor Maggie Campbell left Memphis in 1985 and established residents in California while serving on active duty member in the United States Navy where she had the opportunity to travel around the world. She established her first ministry in support of women and children in 1993 in Northern California.

Pastor Maggie Campbell lives in Southern California She re-established her membership with St. Paul Douglass M. B. Church and officially established an official covenant partnership between St. Paul Douglass M.B. church and her California-based Maggie Campbell Ministries on December 18, 2005. She became the first woman in her family’s history to become an ordained Pastor. She was ordained on Friday, October 13, 2006 in Southern California. Shortly after her ordination Pastor Maggie Campbell and her husband, Alvin Campbell established a new church in Palmdale, California and dedicated it to her great grandfather, the late Reverend William Rush-Plummer called, ‘Church of the Living God’, www.church-living-god.org on February 4, 2009. They have continued their affiliation and ministry partnership with St. Paul Douglass Missionary Baptist Church. Alvin and Pastor Maggie Campbell opened the ‘Church of the Living God’ (Missionary Baptist) in memory of Pastor Maggie’s great-great grandfather Reverend Rush-Plummer where Women in Ministry Leadership receive specialized training and Official Ordination with a goal to plant more churches to continue to edify the Word of God.

Missionary Baptist Association established

In September 2010, Pastor Maggie Campbell established the “Missionary Baptist Association” (MBA), In support of Women in Ministry Leadership. One of the purposes the MBA, is to bring together churches with like faith and aspirations to fellowship with one another within the MBA in California and nationwide, to encourage non-denominational churches to join with the Missionary Baptist church family, to organize retreats and reunions as well. The Missionary Baptist Association later became the "Annual Women's Conference" which is held annually in May between Mother's Day and Memorial Day.

The Annual Women's Conference

The Women's Conference welcomes women of all ages, religious backgrounds and non-religious affiliations. The purpose: To aid women in healing and to deal with the adversities of everyday life. The Women's Conference, through the Church of the Living God [CLG] strives to inspire, motivate, educate and support women including with their education and career aspirations. CLG believe women should support one another’s efforts, goals and aspirations. Mature women should reach out to the younger women to help teach them life skills and the younger women should embrace our mature women who are full of wisdom to help lead and guide them along the way.

The Women's Conference cover the topics that are important to women that are oftentimes not discussed in Church services such as, but not limited to: Forgiveness, the Power of Prayer, Alternative Lifestyles, Sex outside of Marriage, Pro-life / Pro-choice issues, God’s Covenant of Healing, Entrepreneurship, personal and professional growth, women in ministry leadership and so much more. No one understands the issues of women more than other women.

The Women’s Conference includes 3 days of praise, worship, inspirational music, pastoral sermons, motivational speakers, musical celebrations, fellowship, networking opportunities for women, breakfast, receptions and dinner.

Pastor Maggie Campbell Accepts the Call to the Office of Bishop

The Church of the Living God and its affiliate churches and ministries collectively congratulated, Pastor Maggie Campbell on her acceptance of the Call to the Office of Bishop on May 7, 2013. Hereinafter, she was officially addressed as, "Bishop Maggie Campbell". http://conta.cc/17oFkXL

Bishop Campbell have worked hard - following in her great grandfather's footsteps Reverend William Rush-Plummer for more than 10 years to equip many women and some men to succeed in ministry. She has continued to work for years as the Overseer of churches and ministries, have helped graduates to plant new churches in New York, Tennessee and California. She has staffed many existing churches in the Antelope Valley in California and several locations outside of the State with newly ordained, trained and equipped Women of God.

As the professor over the, 'Women in Ministry Leadership Training Institute', Bishop Campbell have taught women who are now Pastors, Ministers, Evangelists and Missionaries; several of which are senior pastors or associate pastors at churches in the Antelope Valley as well as various cities across the United States.

She is the first female Pastor in her family of male pastors dating back to the 1800s and is therefore now the first woman to be Called to the Office of Bishop in her family. The duties and responsibilities of which she is required to do, she has been doing for many years prior to her official acceptance date of May 7, 2013.

Bishop Campbell's new status opens the doors for many Women in Ministry across the country and within the Rush-Plummer and Fluker families. She is obviously an intelligent woman with multiple gifts that she uses to continue to edify the Word of God and for the Body of Christ. A role model to women and teen girls, she is a Woman of God who has put in an extreme amount of hard work. She has shown qualities that she openly shares with all Women in Ministry who are willing, ready and able to do what God has called them to do as well.

Bishop Campbell's dedication and perseverance has manifested itself into one of the best 'Women in Ministry Leadership Training Institutes' in America. It continues to grow each year. We all should be proud of her. Many women seek her guidance and the opportunity to train within the programs she teaches because they know she will give more than 100% of herself to making sure they receive what they need to succeed. It all began in the Douglass Community in Memphis, Tennessee - Founded by her great grandfather, William Rush-Plummer.

Education[edit]

The Douglass community is home to Douglass Elementary School on Ash Street. Since the school was built through the early 1970, the Douglass community also had a Junior High School for grades 7 - 9 as well as a high school grades 10 - 12. In the mid 1970s students passing from the 6th grade into Junior high were bussed to Gragg Junior High School on Jackson Avenue and later to Craigmont High School with the option of returning to Douglass High School when they entered the 10th grade. Not all students returned to Douglass High School. Many remained at Craigmonth High School in North Memphis, Raleigh community.

Douglass Community also has a Community Center on Ash Street where Terry Fluker Sr., a graduate of the original Douglass High School with a full scholarship to college, returned to Memphis after college in the 1980s and followed in his mother's footsteps, the late Evelyn Fluker-Williams, becoming the Director of the Douglass Community Center for over 14 years, retiring January 9, 2014 on his mother's Birthday.

While in high school Terry Fluker, Sr. lead Douglass High School to the 1973 District Championship, where he scored a record 14 points in the last quarter with a unique left handed hook shot that few could block or compete with during those years. He was outstanding playing on the school's baseball team as well and continue to play in adult baseball leagues into the year 2014. He was inducted to the Hall Fame in the early 2000s receive recognition for his hardwork as an athlete.

Douglass High School[edit]

The original Douglass High School served the neighborhood in 1938. It burned to the ground and resumed meeting at the church [Need More] the first of six churches founded by Rev. William Rush-Plummer. The next school was built in place of the damaged one and used from 1946 to 1981.

The original Douglass High school was closed due to low attendance after many of the children from the community had grown up and moved away. An old community, Douglass High School did not have enough students available to keep the school open. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998, but was torn down without the Rush-Plummer family's consent in the summer of 2006 under the direction of the School Superintendent at that time to make way for a new school.

The new Douglass School opened for the 2008–09 school year, with expected enrollment of at least 800 students. The New Frederick Douglass High School opened under the leadership of Janet Ware Thompson, a 1975 graduate of Douglass High School. It is one of the oldest but newest Memphis City Schools, with a state-of-the-art 1,500-seat varsity gym, a 1,100-seat auditorium, a football stadium (with a track) in the middle of Douglass Park, and baseball stadium at the northeast corner of Douglass Park.

Among the first class to graduate from the new Douglass High School is Terry E. Fluker, Jr., the son of Terry E. Fluker, Sr., Director of the Douglass Community Center for 32 years, retiring January 14, 2014.

Community[edit]

Recreation[edit]

Douglass Park, located behind the original and new Douglass High School, is where many children have came together since the 1960s for the Day Camp during the summer months under the direction of the late Evelyn Fluker-Williams, the Director of Douglass Park during the 1960s - 1970s. In Douglass Park, children such as Bishop Maggie Campbell [Maggie-Judith Fluker], her sisters, brothers, cousins and many children from the community were taught how to play such sports as: basketball, swimming lessons, tennis, children's theatre, arts and crafts, and they competed against other Parks in Memphis. A women's right's activist, Election Poll Supervisor and a very patriotic leader, Director Evelyn Fluker-Williams required the children to fully participate in the Flag Ceremony daily and work at the Election polls including Bishop Maggie Campbell.

Director Evelyn Fluker-Williams worked indoors in the Fall and Winter months at Douglass Community Center where her children and those within the community learned indoor sports, arts and craft, straight pool, bumper pool, table tennis, card and board games, basketball, Girl and Boy Scout Troup meetings, piano lessons and they competed against other community centers in the City of Memphis.

Director Evelyn Fluker-Williams coordinated the annual Douglass Expo in Douglass Park each year until the late 1970s. Celebrations such as Juneteenth is now held in Douglass Park which have changed dramatically since the 1960s and 1970s.

Community Center[edit]

Director Evelyn Fluker-Williams worked indoors in the Fall and Winter months at Douglass Community Center from the 1960s through the 1970s where her children and those within the community learned indoor sports, arts and craft, straight pool, bumper pool, table tennis, card and board games, basketball, Girl and Boy Scout Troup meetings, piano lessons and they competed against other community centers in the City of Memphis. The Community Center has a gymnasium, banquet room, a kitchen, game room, a multi- purpose room, a Co- Act Police office and restrooms. Terry E. Fluker, Sr. succeeded his mother, Evelyn Fluker-Williams as the Director of the Douglass Community Center for more than 15 years.

A talented athlete, Terry E. Fluker, Sr. was appointed Most Valuable Player for throughout his high school years in Basketball. He is also a baseball player and a coach. He attended Alcorn State University on a baseball scholarship of which he earned from his outstanding performances while attending the original Douglass High School.

Terry E. Fluker, Sr. was has been inducted into the Memphis Amateur Sport Hall of Fame under the heading of Youth Coach / Management on December 12, 2002 along with his cousin, the late Odessa Dickens-Hayes, a professor golfer. Terry E. Fluker Sr. was also inducted into the, Alcorn State Amateur Athletics Hall of Fame under the heading of Baseball on November 11, 2011.

Under the direction of Terry E. Fluker, Sr., Douglass Community Center sponsored many events throughout the year including: Senior Citizens Days, Cheerleadering, Majorettes, Dance, Physical Fitness, Baseball Skills Days, Drawing, Coloring, Tumbling and little league games in football, basketball and baseball.

Terry E. Fluker, Sr. retired on January 14, 2014 after serving 32 years of City of Memphis Parks and Neighborhoods Division. Terry Fluker, Sr. is currently a volunteer coach for the New, Douglass High School varsity baseball team. He is also a member of the Men's Senior Baseball League for 40 plus year old baseball players.

Economy[edit]

Douglass has several different factories in the area as well; some are still active while others are not, and all are tied into a rail line connecting several factories' docking areas including John Murrell Meats. Douglass borders Hyde Park and Hollywood and is surrounded by railroad tracks to the north, south and east. For many years, residents could not leave the community most days of the week without being blocked in by stalled railroad cars or slow mile long cars day after day. Many residents have had bad experiences crossing the tracks by foot and by auto. Many accidents over the years have been documented.[citation needed] Though promises were made to build an overpass as far back as the early 1970s, this project never materialized.[citation needed]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 35°10′33″N 89°57′34″W / 35.1757°N 89.9595°W / 35.1757; -89.9595