|Published: 10:05 AM, 02/14/2013
Source: The Newport Plain Talk
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Tanner Preservation Committee continues its work to
rescue and preserve the historic Tanner School, one of the few Rosenwald
Schools remaining in America. Many students of the institution used the
knowledge and wisdom gained there as springboards for success in many areas of
life. One of these was the late Mayor Roland A. Dykes, Jr. In observance of
Black History Month, the Tanner Preservation Committee has shared several of
these autobiographical sketches with us.
In 1987 Roland Dykes, Jr. became Cocke County's second
black elected official when he ran for and was elected to a position as member
of Newport's Board of Alderman, following in the footsteps of Dr. Dennis
Branch, Newport's first black alderman. Because he garnered the highest number
of votes of the alderman candidates, he earned the position of vice-mayor.
After the sudden death of Mayor Jim Robinson in the summer of 1998, Dykes was
sworn in as Newport's first black mayor. A few months later, he ran for and was
elected mayor in his own right.
He was born April 30, 1931, in Newport, the only son and
youngest of the children of Roland and Oray (Dawkins) Dykes. His older deceased
sisters were Della Saunders, Nettie Sue Swagerty, Bernice Banks, Marian Berry,
and Mamie Ray Julian. The only serving sister Essie Barton.
For more details, please see the Thursday edition of the
Newport Plain Talk.
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