Mrs. Ella Davis receives a flag denoting the service of her late husband, Fred L. Davis, a pioneering Memphis City Council member and insurance company owner, at Mr. Davis' funeral on Tuesday. He died at 86 on May 12. (Photo: Tyrone P. Easley)

This edition: Farewell to Councilman Davis; MLGW & TVA partner over COVID-19; UTHSC tracking COVID-19; NNPA and #SaveLocalJournalism; a 73-year-old earns her Ph.D.; and today’s TSD music video vibe — Jill Scott’s ‘A Long Walk.’

MLGW & TVA partner to donate $400,000 toward Memphis COVID-19 response

KNOXVILLE ― The Tennessee Valley Authority and Memphis Light, Gas and Water will partner with Memphis-area nonprofit organizations to donate $400,000 in support of initiatives that address hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MLGW board voted last Thursday to provide $200,000 to be matched by an additional $200,000 from TVA’s COVID-19 Community Care Fund.

Four charitable organizations were selected as beneficiaries of these matching funds.

  • The Plus-1 program of the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association will receive $150,000 to provide utility bill assistance for individuals and families in financial crisis.
  • The Mid-South Food Bank will also receive $150,000 to provide nutritious food to families, children and seniors in need.
  • The United Way of the Mid-South will receive $50,000 for its COVID-19 Economic Relief Fund, which funds community-based organizations providing essential services and critical support.
  • The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis will receive $50,000 for its Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund, which provides flexible funding to organizations serving people impacted by the pandemic.

“We are focused on making sure that our customers have the support and resources that they need during this pandemic,” said J.T. Young, MLGW president and CEO. “We understand that there is a great need in our community. MLGW is thankful that we can collaborate with TVA, MIFA, United Way, the Community Foundation and the Mid-South Food Bank to address the community impact of COVID-19.”

TVA’s COVID-19 Community Care Fund was established in April to provide a total of $2 million in matching funds across its service territory to help amplify vital work being done by nonprofit organizations to support families and businesses affected by pandemic conditions.

“TVA is committed to Memphis and to addressing critical needs in the community,” said Jeff Lyash, TVA president and CEO. “While we are focused on the long-term success of the Memphis community, we recognize there are immediate needs that we can partner with MLGW to address together.”

The COVID-19 Community Care Fund is part of a broader effort by TVA and local power companies to support communities with resources, programs and assistance and reinforce the strength of public power in the Tennessee Valley.

Last March, TVA announced a credit support program that provides up to $1 billion in support to local power companies.  The program provides financial stability and assistance to local power companies in their efforts to support their customers through these challenging financial conditions. TVA is also working to identify additional potential funding from federal, state, and local government stimulus programs to help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 in the Valley.

UTHSC tracking COVID-19 pandemic

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is tracking the COVID-19 pandemic in Shelby County, the Memphis Metropolitan Area, and Tennessee.

The statistical analyses are intended for use by the general public, as well as county and city government, law enforcement, and health care leaders to better understand the virus locally and to plan for the future. They are now available at

The figures and maps show how widespread the virus is in the Memphis Metropolitan Area, whether new infections have changed since reopening, how many COVID-19 patients are in hospitals, and where testing is done and with what results. Two interactive maps show how the infection has spread over time. Most of the information will be updated daily.

“We are grateful for a close cooperation with the City of Memphis/Shelby County Joint Task Force Data Subcommittee that makes Shelby County data available to us,” said Fridtjof Thomas, PhD, biostatistician and an associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine in the UTHSC College of Medicine. Dr. Thomas is leading this initiative with Karen Johnson, MD, MPH, College of Medicine Endowed Professor in Women’s Health and chair of the UTHSC Department of Preventive Medicine.

“We need informed citizens who understand what is going on and how their behavior has changed and will change how the virus affects us,” Dr. Johnson said.

“The College of Medicine has been tracking the pandemic since its beginning to help the community as a whole and especially our hospitals to get prepared,” Dr. Thomas said. “Some of the figures and analyses have been shared daily with the City of Memphis/Shelby County Joint Task Force since early April.”

The UTHSC data focuses primarily on the Memphis Metropolitan Area, Dr. Thomas said. “We show the most-relevant data for our area and add analytic approaches that help to highlight what the data tells us,” he explained. “The University of Tennessee Health Science Center focuses on health disparities in our community, and the information we now provide is also targeting the existing access and information disparities. We need a well-informed public that understands where we are in this pandemic and how the future will look depending on the actions we choose.”

Dr. Thomas said this information is available to local officials, and the UTHSC team is in communication with the City of Memphis and the Shelby County government.

 “The analyses that we provide are one part in the puzzle that decision makers need to be aware of,” he said. “Our strength is to provide insight into what the data tells us. The analyses we provide allow the general public and decision makers to adapt to the situation as it develops.

“There are many things we have to understand better about COVID-19, but there is also a lot we do know about pandemic virus outbreaks. The basic driving forces are understood, and we can monitor them.”

Plan ahead: #SaveLocalJournalism #5

Calvin Anderson, president of Best Media Properties (the parent company of The New Tri-State Defender), will be among the panelists for a NNPA Facebook Live presentation on Wednesday.


Life-long learner earns PH.D at 73

(Pictured: Florence Didigu at her doctoral candidacy ceremony at Howard University. Photo credit: Florence Didigu)

WASHINGTON – On April 26, 2020, Florence Nwando Onwusi Didigu, 73, defended her dissertation to earn her Ph.D. in Communication, Culture and Media Studies. Her dissertation and future book titled, “Igbo Collective Memory of the Nigeria – Biafra War (1967-1970): Reclaiming Forgotten Women’s Voices and Building Peace through a Gendered Lens,” is a reflection of the Igbo women who, like herself, survived the war. Didigu, who is the oldest of five sisters, is graduating from Howard University with her fourth degree as a prestigious Sasakawa and Annenberg Fellow. She is thankful to have made it across many hurdles.

“In my second year at Howard, and very close to my screening test, I lost my mother and my father within months,” said Didigu. “I had to return to Nigeria each time to perform the demanding burial ceremonies for each. I was completely deflated, both physically and emotionally, but I persevered because my father always wanted me to be a ‘Doctor.’” — READ MORE

Today’s TSD Music Video Vibe: