Congratulatory Announcements February 2024


Leon County Judge Monique Richardson given Parks & Crump Thurgood Marshall Award

Leon County Judge Monique Richardson was presented the 2023 Parks & Crump Thurgood Marshall Award, the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court Administrator's Office announced Monday, February 12, 2024. The award was presented last February 8th at the Tallahassee Bar Association's Past Presidents’ Dinner.

The award “is given to a judge who has shown great leadership and judicial excellence, and provides justice and access to justice," said Leslie Powell-Boudreaux, Executive Director of Legal Services of North Florida, in a news release.

"Judge Richardson’s leadership of the 2nd Circuit Pro Bono Committee in particular made her stand out by increasing access to justice.” Richardson was first elected to the Leon County bench Jan. 8, 2019.

Thurgood Marshall (1908–1993), the first Black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, first gained recognition as a lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where he played a crucial role in the legal strategy against racial segregation.

He was the lead attorney in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case (1954), in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Marshall to the Supreme Court, where he served until 1991.

Judge Monique Richardson is the daughter of Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson Jr, Presiding Prelate of the Tenth Episcopal District and Senior Bishop, African Methodist Episcopal Church, and Dr. Connie Speights Richardson, Episcopal Supervisor, Tenth Episcopal District.  

Congratulatory Expressions can be emailed to:
Bishop Adam J. Richardson and Supervisor Connie Richardson 



The Rev. Kenneth H. Hill Ph.D., Retired General Officer and Pastor of Shorter Chapel A.M.E. Church Franklin TN strategize with the Franklin Board of Mayor, Aldermen, others favorable toward plan to erect markers in memory of lynching victims, The “Williamson Remembers Project


Aldermen, others favorable toward plan to erect markers in memory of lynching victims, The “Williamson Remembers Project” is a form of community remembrance work aimed at racial healing, reconciliation and to eliminate the historical amnesia imposed by slavery and segregation.
Thus, to this end, the” Williamson Remembers” coalition seeks to erect three narrative markers in public locations describing the killings that took place in Franklin Tennessee.

Reconciliation with our difficult past cannot be achieved without truthfully confronting our history and finding a way forward that is thoughtful and responsible.
At a work session Tuesday, 2/13/24, the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen discussed erecting three markers memorializing African American lynching victims from Reconstruction and Jim Crow era in Williamson County. 

The Williamson Remembers Committee — consisting of community members including Franklin Tomorrow Executive Director Mindy Tate, African American Heritage Society President Alma McLemore, Franklin Mayor Ken Moore and Chris Williamson of the Fuller Story — advocates for one marker to be placed in Franklin’s square and two near Bicentennial Park on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. Attorney Julian Bibb and the Rev. Kenneth Hill, pastor at Shorter Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, co-chair the committee. 

Hill, alongside Center for Historic Preservation Director Carroll Van West and Lamont Turner, a community advocate, spoke to the aldermen to gain input and support. 

“Freedom for enslaved people spurred by federal edict, military might and the courageous exertions of an oppressed population itself led to a fresh establishment of democracy that racist autocrats tried to thwart,” Hill said. “The lynching of innocent African Americans was the tragic and bitter fruit of this subversion that denied full participation in the democratic process. Remembrance and reconciliation are the best routes to atonement…and to the fulfillment of our democratic process.” 

The comments from aldermen were overwhelmingly positive. Patrick Baggett (Ward 4) and Matt Brown (Ward 2) questioned the location of some of the markers but still supported the mission and wording of the markers. Brown specifically questioned the markers near Bicentennial, saying it might be better to place them closer within walking distance of the square and move them to fit more in a historical context with surrounding historical sites. 

Moore reminded him that there were historical sites near the markers’ planned location, such as historic cemeteries and the proximity to the historic Hard Bargain neighborhood.

Wording on the markers tells the history and stories of specific lynching victims and also the prevalence of lynching in America in the years after the Civil War.  “Denied free and impartial trials, too many Black citizens became victims of White lynch mobs,” part of the first marker reads. “Lynchings of African Americans were one of the most public and brutal forms of racial terrorism. Across the United States, at least 4,000 such lynchings occurred. Williamson County did not escape this brutal period in history. Racially motivated lynchings, murder and violence targeted Black residents. The Remembrance Project believes that by confronting with honesty this history, our community will be stronger and more united in its quest for Liberty and Justice for All.”

Link to the local media coverage from the 2/15/24  Williamson Herald:

Rev. Kenneth H. Hill Ph.D.
Shorter Chapel A.M.E. Church
615-339-6555 (C)
255 Natchez Street
Franklin, Tennessee 37064



CONGRATULATIONS! Retirement Announcement of The Reverend Doctor Conrad K. Pridgen
Presiding Elder - Western District Western NC Conference Job Well Done  "49 YEARS" of  Ministry


William Jennings Bryan wrote, “Service is the measure of greatness; it always has been true; it is true today, and it always will be true. The divine measure of a life is its outgo, its overflow [and] its contribution to the welfare of all.”

Presiding Elder Dr. Conrad K. Pridgen’s life and ministry have been an outgoing, overflowing gift to the welfare of others.

He was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, to Joseph and Clara Brown Pridgen, into a Christian home with an emphasis and expectation on serving other.

After graduating from the Williston Senior High School, he enrolled at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. There, he met the love of his life, Helen Ray Sutton, earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religion, lettered in football, and served as Student Body President.

He entered the Yale Divinity School on Scholarship in the fall of 1971. On May 27, 1972 he and Helen were married in the Chapel on Shaw University’s Campus.

They then traveled to Atlanta, Georgia as newlyweds. There Helen took advantage of a Scholarship from Atlanta University to work on a Master of Arts in History Program. He took a year transfer from Yale to study at The Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

In the fall of 1973, they returned to New Haven, where he completed his Master of Divinity Degree from the Yale Divinity School in 1974. 
In the fall of 1974, He entered the Union Theological Seminary in New York. In 1975 he was ordained an itinerant deacon in the First District by request of the Second District because he was a graduate student in New York City. He graduated from Union Theological Seminary in 1977 with a Master of Sacred Theology Degree. In May of 1977, Dr Pridgen was ordained an Itinerant Elder and assigned to the pastorate of St. James AME Church in Kenansville, NC, where he served three years. 1980-1987, he served the St. James AME Church in Kinston, NC. During his years in Kinston, he served the community as president of the Lenoir County Branch of (NAACP) and led a successful (Approved) boycott of the Food Lion Supermarket in the area, (ultimately) creating an ongoing relationship of support and advocacy by the Food Lion Corporation for the North Carolina State Conference of Branches of the NAACP. He also joined the legal action to have County Commissioners elected by “Districts” and not by “at-large” races (only). 1987-1989, he served the Rich Square Circuit and was elected President of the Northhampton County Branch of the NAACP.
The Circuit consisted of Willow Oak AME Church in Rich Square, NC, and Allen Chapel AME Church in Jackson, NC. 1989-1996, he served the Greater Bethel AME Church in Charlotte, NC, where he was elected President of the Charlotte Mecklenburg County Branch of the NAACP. 
He led the Congregation in purchasing three-fourths of a city block near the Church to create affordable housing. He oversaw creating programs like feeding the homeless, an addiction ministry, and advocacy for the weak and voiceless. In addition to his community service, Dr. Pridgen completed his Doctor of Ministry Degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, in 1993.

1997-2003, he served the Bethel AME Church in Greensboro, NC, where he was elected to the Pulpit Forum of Greensboro and Vicinity and led the Congregation in the completion of a one-and-a-half million-dollar Renovation and addition to the Church that began under Rev Benjamin S. Foust.  2003-2010, he served the Ward Memorial AME Church in North-East Washington, DC. He became active in the Washington Council of Churches and was elected president. In 2010, Dr. Pridgen was appointed Presiding Elder of the Western District of the Western North Carolina Conference.  He continues serving the community and the body of Christ as First Vice President of the Connectional Presiding Elders’ Council, President of the North Carolina Council of Churches, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Flint Hill Kittrell Vance Community Development Corporation, and as Founder, and Past President and Chair of the Western District Community Development Corporation. Presiding Elder and Mrs. Pridgen have been married for 51 years and are the proud Parents of Nefertiti Brown (RN) (George) and Rev. Joseph Pridgen (Kenya). They are the Grandparents of Nia, Zoë, Christopher, Joseph, and William. Presiding Elder Dr. Conrad K. Pridgen has lived life believing "that nothing will be impossible with God" Luke 1:37 

Therefore, our lives have been enriched by the outpouring, overflowing gift felt by those in his path of greatness. 





Congratulations to Rev. LeSean Tarkington for hosting the Gospel Music Workshop of America's Annual Collegiate Night

Congratulations to Rev. LeSean Tarkington for hosting the Gospel Music Workshop of America's Annual Collegiate Night at the Sheraton Waterside Hotel in Norfolk, Virginia at the seat of the GMWA Annual Board Meeting. It's great to see Bowie State Gospel Choir, Norfolk State Concert Choir, Norfolk State Gospel Choir, and Ebony Impact from Old Dominion University being featured at the event. The GMWA, founded by the legendary Rev. James Cleveland, is truly a remarkable organization and the largest Gospel Music Convention in the Country. Rev Tarkington's role as a pastor at Allen St John AME Church in Kansas City (5th District) along with his TV appearances and industry consultancy, shows his dedication and influence in the entertainment community. It's also wonderful to hear about Rev Johnetta Tarkington's achievements as an ordained minister and Army Chaplain. What an inspiring power couple!

Email Congratulatory Comments to:

On behalf of Social Action Commission Chair, Bishop E. Anne Henning Byfield and  Dr. Jacquelyn DuPont-Walker, Director/ Consultant  Social Action Commission, we extend congratulations as you praise God for the Joy of these significant milestones reached. 

God Bless!

Ora L. Easley, International Administrator