The marquee at Wesley Chapel AME Zion Church has become an inspiration for the community, travelers and Facebook readers.  

Sandra Draper Swain, a member of Wesley, has had the pleasure of setting the marquee since the summer of 2015.

Swain remarked that people stop by weekly and explain how the messages appear to be personal.

Pictures of the front and back of the marquee are placed on Facebook weekly. The readers like and leave comments relating to the featured readings, and some have even asked, "Who is the lady that does the marquee?"

So, Sandra, now we know who you are and are thankful to you, the Rev. Keithon Terry and the rest of the Wesley church family for uplifting so many.  

Stay Focused

On Jan. 20, "Stay Focused" hosted a forum for high students planning to further their education after high school. Their parents/guardians were also invited.

The guest panelists included Joan C. Truss, guidance counselor at Talladega High School; Anita Elson, Talladega College National Alumni Association/local chapter; Shaneeka Phillips, Talladega College National Alumni Association/local chapter; Louise F. White, NAACP Scholarship Committee and Farrior Foundation; and Lon Weind, recruiter for Talladega College.

The panelists discussed the importance of education and the impact that education has made on their lives. They also expressed the importance of using correct grammar and syntax, and how to correctly complete applications -- whether for scholarships or/and work.

Stay Focused's next meeting will be at the Knoxville Community Center from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17.

The meeting will be directed towards public speaking and writing skills. Talladega College professor Delois Cook will be the guest speaker.

Parents are encouraged to attend all meetings.

Stay Focused began in December 2013 with the purpose of assisting the residents in Knoxville Homes in any positive manner. Former guest speakers included Talladega firemen (fire safety); former warden of Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Talladega (her determination/climb to success); FCI employees (prison life); Doug Campbell, former superintendent of Talladega City Schools; Wanda Jurrians, former county extension agent; a former Talladega mayor; and others.

For further information, please call 256-362-1565 or email

Maxine Beck writes about the African-American community in and around Talladega.