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Roanoke Free Press
Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Roanoke Tribune’s 70th Anniversary – Nikki Giovanni Video

Nikki Giovanni guest speaker at The Roanoke Tribune 70th Anniversary

Nikki Giovanni guest speaker at The Roanoke Tribune 70th Anniversary

Nikki Giovanni distinguished Virginia Tech Professor and renowned poet and author was guest speaker at The Roanoke Tribune’s 70th Anniversary. The black-tie affair was held at The Roanoke Plaza Friday.

Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1943. She is best know for her chant poem that ended with “We are Virginia Tech … We will prevail” after the April 17, 2007 shooting by Seung-Hui Cho. Geiovanni taught Cho in a poetry class and said he was “mean” and asked that he be removed from her class. She suspected Cho immediately after she heard of the shooting. She has a book that includes 65 poems to match her 54 years titled “Bicycles are trust and balance … and that’s what love is.”

She was commissioned by National Public Radio’s All things Considered to create an inaugural poem for President Barack Obama. She read the poem at the Lincoln Memorial.

Susan Willis, William Fleming High School Principal was the MC.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Senator John Edwards, Delegate Onzlee Ware, Mayor David Bowers, Councilman Court Rosen and the Mayor of Covington Stephanie Clark who beautiful sang for those assembled. Clark was not the only one who sang. Bowers after lamenting on his blight sang “Just A Closer Walk With Me.” Bowers changed some of the words in verse to honor The Roanoke Tribune and its founders. He also eluded to the media attention he was getting the past week saying that he was advised by Lessie Polke to change his campaign slogan from “Run DAVID Run” to “Pray DAVID Pray.”

There was some serious dancing going on but the favorite was the electric slide. Pearl Fu and Claudia Whitworth joined the packed dance floor.

Whitworth was honored by her son, Stan Hale with a beautiful bouquet of roses. Special presentation by the Deltas, Roanoke Chapter.

A video presentation of the history of The Roanoke Tribune with clips of accolades from the Mayor, WTOY, and Helen Davis. Davis and her sister Evelyn Bethel were accompanied by Davis’ son, Ricardo.

The Roanoke Tribune was founded by Rev. Fleming E. Alexander in February of 1941. Before 1941 when Alexander purchased the paper’s Linotype machine The Roanoke Times volunteers came to assist after their shifts. Later in poor health he sold the paper to his daughter Claudia Whitworth. Stan Hale is assistant editor.



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