On August 7, two of President Bush's Cabinet members participated in four events in Memphis, TN, to highlight the positive effects a stable home environment has on children in the classroom. With the theme of "Better Homes, Better Education," HUD Secretary Jackson and Education Secretary Spellings toured a local school and the HOPE VI housing development that covers 100 city blocks in Uptown Memphis. With events set for 1:30 p.m., 2:10 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and all at different locations, the Secretaries kept a tight schedule.
At the first stop, they visited Humes Middle School, which serves the Uptown Community, and found the school had made strides in improving reading and math scores. The Secretaries met with parents and students during registration for the new school year. In years past, when Humes was a high school, its most famous alumnus was Elvis Presley.
Following their visit to Humes Middle School, both Secretaries toured the home of Bobbie Wallace, a resident of Uptown who used federal housing programs (HOPE VI, ADDI, and HOME) to transition from public housing to homeownership.
The third event, the Uptown Revitalization Celebration, took place from 2:30-3:15 p.m. outdoors under a tent. It opened with the singing of America the Beautiful by the Neighborhood Christian Center Youth Choir. Both Secretaries were joined by Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton, Congressman Steve Cohen (D-09-TN), Memphis Housing Authority Executive Director Robert Lipscomb and Board Chair Ricky Wilkins, developer Henry Turley, School Principal Michael Bates, and resident Bobbie Wallace. See photo of two Secretaries. Secretary Spellings noted that when a revitalized school and a revitalized neighborhood come to fruition, the environment for success is created. Both Secretaries stressed the importance of high expectations and that the search for excellence transcends income levels. Secretary Jackson presented a housewarming gift to Ms. Wallace as a symbol of the good things that can grow with the right care and attention. See photo of Uptown resident.
Left to right:� Agnes Henderson; Demetra Daniel; Yvonne Leander; George Denton; Secretary Jackson; Gail Bankston; Sam Perrin.
The fourth and final event was an African American Community Leaders Roundtable held at the National Civil Rights Museum where 50-60 persons discussed housing, education and other social issues. The Secretaries gave opening remarks along with Congressman Steve Cohen (D-09-TN) and Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton.