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Kadena Simpkins

Mother of Godson Jaylen Simpkins

It’s been 35 years that I’ve known Sam a/k/a Billy.  First impressions are usually a lasting impression, but thank goodness that wasn’t the case when I first met Sam.  My grandmother had me in the peach field picking peaches.  I was dressed in long pants, long sleeves and a hat.  I remember being introduced to Rev. Joseph’s son Billy.  Needless to say, I wasn’t in the mood for meeting anybody that day.  Little did I know, that day began a relationship for the ages. Through the years, Sam often recalled the look on my face.  We’d laugh about it.


It’s almost impossible to speak of Sam without speaking of Effie as well.  I’ll never forget the day that Sam asked me when was I going to make him & Effie god-grandparents.  The look on his face was priceless that Sunday after church when I whispered “Mission Accomplished”.  He knew exactly what I was talking about.  He couldn’t wait to tell Effie the good news.  Sam & Effie became PaPa & MaMa to Jalen even before he graced us with his presence.  They fed me very well on Wednesdays throughout my entire pregnancy.  It was a treat every Wednesday just to see what my 3-course lunch would entail.


PaPa & MaMa always came through when I was in a pinch with a sitter.  I could drop him off anytime.  PaPa was intrigued and amazed that Jalen was only 2 years old, and he could work the TV & VCR better than PaPa could.  They were making memories that my son still remembers.  Every Easter Jalen got an Easter basket filled with goodies that was taller than he was.  PaPa & MaMa always made some investment into Jalen.  PaPa would often talk with him when he was in middle school.  Education was key with PaPa. He talked with me also.  He was the first person to tell me that it’s not how you start, but it how you finish.  He invested into Jalen’s education.  He also opened my eyes.  He told me that “C” students become doctors and lawyers.  Some of the smartest males start out not doing their best until the light bulb comes on.  PaPa was speaking from experience.  I’ve held on to the nugget of wisdom, and today it’s proving true.


There will always be a place in our hearts for PaPa!

Rochelle Morrow


First of all let me say that I was blessed that sent me Samuel William McCain to be my Father.  I met this Big tall man as big as a tree to a nine year old little girl.  He let me climb on his back  and on his shoulders  I liked him immediately. Dad was good to my Mom and made her happy and when I went back to Memphis with them I was in heaven.  Dad was smart and looked really cool in his Navy Uniform.  When I had a school assignment to write a report about what your parents work was.  Everyone in my class had never heard of an Electronic Aviation Technician who work on airplanes especially in 1964.  He bought me encyclopedias and whenever I had a “question I had a lot” he make me look it up and read to him and Mom.  He taught me crying and whining was not allowed to get what you want you had to earn it by Good Grades.  He wasn’t afraid to stand up for his rights being a black man.   He and I went to the Movies and instead of going to the back entrance where the black people would enter: We went in the front and when this white man came up and said he wasn’t supposed to come in that way.  He said I just served in the Vietnam War Dammit.   The guy just stepped aside. 


That’s my Dad  Love him to the Moon and back.

Arthur Black Jr


I loved Bill.  We hung out together sometimes in Memphis when he and James were in the Navy together.  I learned a lot from him and took a lot of ass whoopings from him, too (said with laughter).  

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