Success with the Strut

Success with the Strut

June 14th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

The clock was no friend to the survival of the Bessie Smith Strut this year, with a last-minute announcement by Mayor Ron Littlefield that a favorite of the Riverbend Festival week would not be supported by Chattanooga's city government and police due to safety concerns.

The Bessie Smith Strut traditionally has been an off-site night, as the official Riverbend Festival along the Tennessee River takes a Monday night break.

In other words, its spontaneity was not a Friends of the Festival event, but one that made the week complete with barbecue and blues.

Littlefield's decision was made public in May despite discussions after the 2011 Strut and safety concerns expressed by Chattanooga's finest, our men and women in blue.

Let's give a collective and community "hat's off!" to the folks who stood shoulder-to-shoulder, worked through plans A, B, C and so on, and brought the neighborhood together to successfully host the Bessie Smith Strut despite the odds.

Monday night's successful event should offer a milestone for those of the Martin Luther King Boulevard area to look back on for encouragement and empowerment that they own that achievement, and that others are just around the corner for a center of our city.

Rather than focusing on the obstacles, you forged ahead with a determination for success: a success to which Bessie Smith certainly would be honored to lend her name.