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MLK50 Profile

Otis Sanford

Photo by Brandon Dill

Otis Sanford, with long experience in the print and broadcast news business, today holds the University of Memphis Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism. more

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Karanja Ajanaku

Photo by Brandon Dill

As associate publisher and executive editor of The New Tri-State Defender, Karanja Ajanaku says his role is to "provide verifiable information that people can use to make decisions." more

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Melvin Charles Smith

Photo by Brandon Dill

As pastor of Mt. Moriah-East Baptist Church, the Reverend Melvin Charles Smith says his congregation works hard on the preventive side, "not only in health, but preventive in getting away from things that will cause you to have problems in life." more

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Dorsey Hopson

Photo by Brandon Dill

Dorsey Hopson, superintendent of Shelby County Schools, believes that progress can only come if there is "a continued awareness of what happened in the past more

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Ruby Bright

Photo by Brandon Dill

Ruby Bright, executive director of the Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis, believes the death of Dr. Martin Luther King was the catalyst that led her to a life of community service. more

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Johnny Moore

Photo by Brandon Dill

President of SunTrust Bank since 2009, Johnny Moore believes, "We've got to get African Americans in more senior roles in this industry. Then you've got people from different cultures and backgrounds making choices." more

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Kennard Brown

Photo by Brandon Dill

An executive vice chancellor and chief operations officer at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Dr. Kennard Brown believes UT "has a social responsibility to offer everybody an equal opportunity to contribute to the greater good." more

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Calvin Anderson

Photo by Brandon Dill

"By addressing jobs and economic development, you address poverty and healthcare," says Calvin Anderson, recently retired from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. more

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Desiree Robinson

Photo by Brandon Dill

In 1977 Desiree Robinson and her husband, Raymond, opened the Cozy Corner restaurant, and now "everybody under the sun comes in here," she says. "If this room was full right now, half of the people would be races other than black." more

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Archie Willis

Photo by Brandon Dill

Always interested in affordable housing, Archie Willis launched Community Capital (now ComCap Partners) "to bridge the gap between what was happening in the neighborhoods with resources available in the capital markets." more

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Carolyn Hardy

Photo by Brandon Dill

Carolyn Hardy, president of Chism Hardy Investments, has thrived in a business world dominated by white men. "Equity is not happening on its own," she says. "You've got to have people who are willing to give other people a chance." more

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Ekundayo Bandele

Photo by Brandon Dill

"There are only four free-standing African-American theaters in the United States, and we have one," says Ekundayo Bandele, founder of the Hattiloo Theatre in Overton Square. more

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Darrell Cobbins

Photo by Brandon Dill

As the head of Universal Commercial Real Estate, Darrell Cobbins is today one of the few African-American commercial real estate firm owners in Memphis. more

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Lurlynn Franklin

Photo by Brandon Dill

Artist and author Lurlynn Franklin hopes that in the future, African-American art "becomes more political, touches on things or tries to combine history with what's happening symbolically." more

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Andrea Miller

Photo by Brandon Dill

Dr. Andrea Miller, president of LeMoyne-Owen College, says that attending historically black colleges throughout her own education contributed to her success, not only as a student, but as a confident, self-aware person. more

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Lawrence Matthews

Photo by Brandon Dill

Memphis filmmakers Kevin Brooks and Lawrence Matthews believe that black writers and directors were long shut out of Hollywood, but a renaissance is taking place. more

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