After 50 years, Urban League lets loose with After 7

Phyllis Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League, welcoming the crowd.

The Knoxville Area Urban League is 50 years old this year and, to celebrate, the civil rights organization last week brought in popular R&B group After 7 for its annual awards gala. And it recognized its eight previous Whitney M. Young Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award winners.

“Our focus remains on jobs, justice, education, entrepreneurship and housing because these are the things that make our community one that is fully healthy — one where we all can thrive and believe our contributions matter,” said Phyllis Nichols, the fifth president and CEO in the Knoxville Area Urban League’s history. She has held the post since 1999.

Former winners of the Knoxville Area Urban League’s top award are:

  • Gloria Garner, a longtime Urban League employee and community volunteer;
  • Margaret and Felix Gaiter, community volunteers;
  • Robert Booker, former legislator, author and historian;
  • Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner, founders of the Love Kitchen;
  • Dr. Harold A. Middlebrook Sr., a beloved minister and civil rights leader who was a friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.;
  • Rita Geier, a trailblazing attorney who succeeded in desegregating higher education in Tennessee;
  • Theotis Robinson Jr., the first black undergraduate at the University of Tennessee who eventually became a vice president there;
  • Rev. Dr. Gordon and Judy Gibson, longtime community activists.

The annual event, held at the Knoxville Convention Center, is the Urban League’s largest fundraiser of the year. It’s also the group’s largest and most festive social event of the year. I guess that’s why it attracted so many politicians!

First, a cocktail party! From left, Randy and Angie Merritt with Julia and Marty Gibbs. Randy and Marty are with The Christman Company, a valued Moxley Carmichael client.

Tom and Deanene Catani. He’s with U.S. Cellular, another great Moxley Carmichael client.

Maria McHale, left, and Lauren Miller, both of Moxley Carmichael.

Moxley Carmichael president Alan Carmichael with Geraldine Gallman, who helps us with projects on a freelance basis.

Moxley Carmichael’s CFO Shaun Fulco and her boyfriend, Dave Ballance.

John McCulley, Moxley Carmichael’s senior web developer, and his girlfriend, Carrie Tapp.

Lane and Julie Morris.

City Councilman Marshall Stair and his wife, Natalie. (He’s running for mayor.)

City Council member Gwen McKenzie with Karl Dean, who is running for governor of Tennessee.

Meanwhile, inside the ballroom, Phyllis Nichols took a moment to pose with the band. From left, Kevon Edmonds, Phyllis, Jason Edmonds and Keith Mitchell.

And with D.J. Sterling Henton, aka Sterl the Pearl, who warmed up the crowd prior to the band taking the stage.

Tearsa Smith of WATE-TV was the emcee for the evening. With her is her husband, Lucious Bonds.

Mayor Madeline Rogero and gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean, center, flanked by Shawn and David Owens.

Dean made the most of the pre-dinner mingling opportunity.  And I followed him! Here he is with Kim Beets of the Knoxville Convention Center.

And with Urban League Board member Rosa Mar.

With Jim Nichols.

With Janet Testerman, left, and her mom, Janet Testerman Crossley. Dean is former mayor of Nashville. Janet, left, is the daughter of a Knoxville mayor and her mom was Knoxville’s First Lady.

Two former mayors: Dean of Nashville and Randy Tyree of Knoxville.

Here Dean is with Bruce and Monique Anderson.

And with Knox County Commissioner Evelyn Gill, left, and Mayor Rogero again.

Over at the Covenant Health table were, from left, Patrick Birmingham, Max and Nicole Taylor.

Also at the Covenant table were Elizabeth Essary, Mike Hatmaker and Kenny Hawkins.

Terry and Thomas “Tank” Strickland.

The centerpieces were stunning.

Frank and Angel Rosamond. He’s president of the News Sentinel.

And, soon, the music started.

The crowd was on its feet in no time!


Jason Edmonds.

Kevon Edmonds.

Keith Mitchell.

Eddie Mannis, who is running for Knoxville mayor, with Janet Testerman Crossley.

Soon, she hit the dance floor!

Eddie Mannis with Gay Lyons, left, and Janet Testerman.

Cute pic of Marty and Julia Gibbs!

I think this 30-second snippet of video will give you the feeling of the fun, laid-back vibe of the evening:





Filed under: Downtown, Events, Knoxville, Music. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to After 50 years, Urban League lets loose with After 7

  1. Shaun Fulco, on October 26th, 2018 at 2:08 pm said:

    This event is always a great time and for a great cause. Thanks for including us!

  2. Kim Lauth, on October 26th, 2018 at 2:24 pm said:

    This is always one of the best events in Knoxville. No detail is missed and the crowd is always fabulous. I consider myself a professional at mingling and missed several of the folks who you got photos of!

    Thanks for sharing Cynthia and congratulations to KAUL for another amazing success.

  3. Phyllis Y. Nichols, on October 26th, 2018 at 2:24 pm said:

    Thanks for capturing moments of our 50th Anniversary Gala. So many corporations support the work of the Urban League , including Moxley Carmichael!

  4. Cynthia Moxley, on October 26th, 2018 at 2:35 pm said:

    Shaun: Glad you all could make it. This is one event where we have very little trouble filling our tables!

    Kim: I know what you mean! I, obviously, couldn’t get around to everyone myself!

    Phyllis: You are an amazing leader of an important organization. Happy to call you my friend.

  5. Lauren Miller, on October 26th, 2018 at 3:11 pm said:

    I think this was one of the best Urban League galas yet. Everyone was having fun. Kudos to Phyllis and her staff and the board.

  6. Monique Anderson, on October 26th, 2018 at 5:28 pm said:

    Great fun time!

  7. Cynthia Moxley, on October 26th, 2018 at 9:09 pm said:

    Lauren and Monique: So glad you both were there!

  8. Gay Lyons, on October 27th, 2018 at 5:17 pm said:

    Always a fun time! Thanks for inviting us to join you. Phyllis & Tearsa sure rocked those dresses.

  9. Rosa Mar, on October 28th, 2018 at 11:26 am said:

    Congratulations to Phyllis and the entire Urban League Staff for pulling off the “best” Gala ever and more importantly for their hard work everyday.

  10. Cynthia Moxley, on October 28th, 2018 at 2:58 pm said:

    Gay: Glad you all could come!

    Rosa: Amen!

Leave a Reply