Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris takes the wraps off of the sign designating Bernal E. Smith II Way. (Photo: Tyrone P. Easley)

Bernal E. Smith II Way was unveiled Saturday afternoon, with Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris doing the honors on one end and Towanda Peete-Smith doing so a block east.

It was all about honoring Peete-Smith’s late husband, Bernal E. Smith II, who brought local ownership to The New Tri-State Defender and served as its publisher when he passed on Oct. 22, 2017.

Harris and Rep, Steve Cohen were among the elected officials who attended the unveiling, which bestows the honorary designation of Bernal E. Smith II Way to a segment of Beale Street Alley that stretches from B.B. King Blvd. east to Fourth St.

City Councilman Martavious Jones, who also was on hand, co-sponsored (along with City Councilmember Janis Fullilove) the resolution that ushered in the tribute.

The street-naming ceremony preceded a Community Block Party. In association with Maleka Williams McCray, and along with Dr. Derrick D. Payne, Men of Memphis United and the 100 Black Men of Memphis, Peete-Smith hosted the Bernal E. Smith, II & Michael Mason Heart Healthy Men’s Symposium Saturday morning at Rhodes College (Mr. Smith’s alma mater).

The weekend was capped with The Bernal E. Smith II Memorial Scholarship VIP Reception  at Rhodes College. It honored high school students who excel academically while giving back to the community.

Check out this week’s print edition of The New Tri-State Defender for full coverage of Bernal E. Smith II Commemorative Weekend. And that coverage also will be featured at