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Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC

Hal LamarBy Hal Lamar


While talking with retired Atlanta pastor Dr Gerald Durley about his recent post as interim head of historic West Hunter Street Baptist Church, he told me that the family of former Florida A&M president Dr Frederick Humphries had asked him to deliver the eulogy for the man who also ran Tennessee State University (Durley’s alma mater) for some years .Dr. Humphries’ homegoing is scheduled for Saturday, July 10th on the FAMU campus.humphriesHumphries

Durley,an activist preacher, was close friends with Dr. Humphries. Real close. "Do you know who was one of my best friends in the world? "he said when INSIDE'S author called himself" informing" Durley of Dr Humphries death June 24th. Humphries,Durley, and former Clark AU President Dr. Elias Blake once served on a special committee called the Institute of Services to Education . "Fifteen years ago, I eulogized Fred's wife,"Durleysaid. "And now, I have been called to do the same thing for Fred."

durleyDurleyDr Durley accepted the role of West Hunter interim pastor in late 2020 and agreed to assist with picking a successor for former Pastor Toussaint Hill Junior(Morehouse), who died in October of 2020. Durley told INSIDE during our interview that he had accepted the position but made clear he was not a candidate for the job himself. He also disclosed that his tenure at West Hunter came during the demise of his wife Muriel (Fisk) on January 8 of this year. ". "I believe that had Muriel lived a while longer, I probably would have accepted the role of pastor of West Hunter," he said. " But after Muriel's death, I went into a period of adjustment. It's a new phase . I don't have bad days, though. I have good days and better days. When the leadership of West Hunter approached me about being interim pastor, they knew it was not in my thinking to get the job and then push hard for the permanent role. They knew I had experience in bringing groups together and people. So we got in there and began to build bridges , work , share the love of God and what kind of pastor would meet the needs of a West Hunter. It's been a wonderful relationship. We had 147 candidates apply. It’s now down to three." Durley said he expects the congregation will approve a new pastor from the three finalists sometime in August (West Hunter's former pastors was civil rights and former SClC President Dr.Ralph D. Abernathy who served for 29 years}

blaze restaurantEYE OPENER: Atlanta native Oscar" Smooth smooze" Sheppard ( Fort Valley State) is close to debuting his third jazz-flavored album-EP, adding to his catalogue of four previous offerings. Shep tells the INQUIRER he expects to drop his new product in a couple of months. He says it will feature selections from jazz legends Johnny Hartman, Joe Williams and Oscar Prysock. Through a bit of prodding, he disclosed a few of the offerings on the EP of six selections to include "Sleepy Be" by Hartman, "I worry about you" by Prysock and "Here's to life" by Williams. .......Mrs Lamar and I recently dined at Blaze Steak and Seafood Restaurant in southwest Atlanta and came away most impressed with the effort put forth by Candi Burress (Alcorn) of Housewives of Atlanta fame and her husband Todd Rucker. According to the web- site Reality Blurb, Blaze closed down temporarily in mid-May for violating state health codes. The violations were fixed, however and Blaze re-opened. We visited there on June 21 and saw no evidence of any violation. The service was five-star as was the ambiance and decor. The food was also excellent. We ordered the shrimp "Po -Boy" with a side salad. I know it had to be tops because my Mrs. fell in love with it. Patsy is a native of Louisiana , knows her seafood and would have thumbed it down if the package didn’t measure up to similar cuisine from the Big Easy.

Blaze earned its Five stars. Visit their web site at


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