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Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) Meeting: Conversation Series
Tuesday, February 22 2011, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Memphis' Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) launches a quarterly conversation series on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 to provide the community a chance to meet a variety of men and woman who will share their personal histories about their businesses, music, and community life. These interviews will focus on the history of Downtown and Urban Memphis and will incorporate places, businesses, and communities. 


The first program: How Growing up in the 1960's Shaped My Future: Conversations with Elaine Turner, President, Heritage Tours and Billy D. Featherstone, President, Home Owner's Team (Hot Real Estate)  and Chairman, Home Ownership Foundation. The program will be moderated by Judy Peiser, DNA Board Member and Co-Founder, Center for Southern Folklore.


The session will be presented at the Downtown Neighborhood Association's monthly meeting, February  22, 2011 at the Board Room of Central Station.  (Enter on G.E. Patterson with street parking and in the lot under the railroad tracks to the West of Central Station. The meeting begins at 6:00 with the presentation beginning at 6:20 with social time to follow.


"We are delighted to begin this series", said Ken Hudson, President of DNA. "There are so many people who live and work downtown who have moved to Memphis from other parts of the country. This will give these newcomers and native Memphians as chance to know more about the place they now call home."  Admission to our meetings is free for DNA members and $5.00 for guests. Annual individual DNA membership is $25.00.  The DNA welcomes Central Station as a business member of the DNA. Prior to and following the conversations Memphis neo soul singer Tonya Dyson will perform.


Celebrating its 30th year in 2011 the DNA is the oldest community organization in Downtown Memphis. DNA welcomes all those who live and work in the areas from Crump to Wolf  River and Danny Thomas to the Mississippi River. DNA's mission is to promote enjoyment and enhancement of downtown living and to protect and enhance the quality of life and foster a spirit of community in the downtown area for residents, businesses and visitors. Additional information about  the DNA or about our February 22nd event is available on Facebook.





Bios of Presenters


Elaine Turner is a lifelong Memphian. A graduate of Manassas High School, Ms Turner received a BA from LeMoyne College. During her high school and college years she along with members of her family became active in the Civil Rights Movement and participated in sit-ins, marches, and pickets in Memphis during the 1960s. She also participated the Selma March in 1965, James Meredith March Against Fear from Memphis to Jackson, MS in 1966 in and the Poor People's campaign in Washington in 1968.


After teaching in the Memphis schools for 15 years she used her love for history and her first hand experiences in the Civil Rights Movement in 1983 to found, along with her sister Joan, Heritage Tours.  She realized that many African American youths lacked motivation and pride in their culture and heritage and felt that a program such as Heritage Tours would be a valuable learning experience for students and tourists of all ages. Many tour professionals credit Heritage Tours as being the first African American Oriented Tour Company in Tennessee. In the last 25 years as African American heritage has grown Heritage Tours has attracted worldwide tourists.


Ms. Turner has received numerous awards underscoring the impact that she has made in the tourism industry in Memphis and throughout the United States. She received the Women of Achievement Award for Initiative, the Keeper of Culture Award from Pathfinders Travel Magazine, and the Bureau Development Award from the Memphis Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Heritage Tours have been featured in The New York Times, The Atlanta Journal, USA Today, Essence, Southern Living, and was featured along with other Civil Rights Leaders in a documentary by the National Action Network headed by Rev. Al Sharpton commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


As President of Heritage Tours she manages the Slavehaven Underground Railroad Museum and the W.C Handy Home and Museum. Steadfast to her mission to preserve and salute member's of Memphis' African American Community she established the W.C. Handy Heritage Awards which pays tribute to Memphis Musicians' contributions. Honorees have included Dr. W. Herbert Brewster, Ms.Lucie Campbell, B.B.King, Isaac Hayes, among others.


Elaine Turner serves on the Boards of Directors of the Center for Southern Folklore, Shelby County Historical Commission, Marcus Garvey Institute and Learning Academy, the Mid South Peace and Justice Center, to name a few.






A native Memphian Billy D. Featherstone grew up near and a part of Memphis' Orange Mound community. As a child and young adult he had the opportunity to learn from the many of the African American businessmen and women in the neighborhood.  After graduating from Melrose High School in 1965, he attended the University of Memphis. At the urging of his father Featherstone got his first job as cashier at Montesi's Grocery store. Featherstone credits the job at Montesi's together with the spirit of the Orange Mound business community as markers in his sales and marketing education.


After a stint in the U. S. Air Force from 1966-1971 Featherstone embarked on a sales career with Ralston Purina from 1971-1979 where he learned the basics of sales, marketing and customer service. During this time he also owned WildCat Records at Park and Grand in Orange Mound.  Using his training from the University of Memphis in Real Estate, Finance, and Insurance he embarked on a real estate and insurance career and in 1980 co-founded Featherstone Real Estate Company. 


Understanding the needs of first time home owners he started the first Home Buyer's Education Program in Memphis and created the Home Ownership Foundation in 1991. He also created a down payment assistance program, Buyers Hope.


Throughout Billy Featherstone's career his goal has always been to use his skills to better the people around him. For example when he developed three low to moderate income subdivisions for African American families (Park Castle in North Memphis, Skylonda in Frayser, and Crescendo Villa in Whitehaven) Featherstone customized the homes taking into account each homeowner's needs and their ability to afford . He is also a member of the Christian Benevolent Lodge Society and was president of the Memphis Christian Benevolent Credit Union also located in Orange Mound. This Credit Union provided the means for many African American families to own homes, buy new cars, and send their children to college.


Featherstone served as a consultant to the United Way when United Housing began in 1994 and served on the City of Memphis' Health, Education, and Housing Facilities Board for 16 years. He presently serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Southern Folklore.

Click here for more detailed directions.

Location: The Board Room of Central Station.
Contact: Ken Hudson, DNA President, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or Judy Peiser, Moderator, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Enter on G.E. Patterson with street parking as well as in the lot under the railroad tracks to the West of Central Station.


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