We invite you to support the Starks Scholarship and Celebration by becoming an event sponsor. Sponsors receive extensive benefits including media/program coverage before and during events, prominent features in promotional materials, give-away tickets to the Starks Celebration, and access to VIP events like the President’s Reception! Click the links to learn more about becoming a sponsor or purchasing advertising space in our program.
Henry Logan Starks Annual Event
Each February, Memphis Theological Seminary (MTS) hosts a community event to celebrate the life and witness of the late Dr. Henry Logan Starks, the first African-American professor at MTS. Known as the Henry Logan Starks Scholarship Dinner, the event pays homage to Dr. Starks’ legacy as a theologian, community leader and activist, and benefits the scholarship endowment in his name. Through the generous support of dinner guests and benefactors, the Starks Endowment Fund generates scholarship dollars for African-American students who are following the path of Dr. Starks – attaining a theological education.
The Reverend Dr. Henry Logan Starks, The Gentle Giant
In 1964, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Memphis Theological Seminary moved to Memphis from McKenzie, Tennessee. Henry Logan Starks was one of six African-American students to enroll in MTS after its move to Memphis. By welcoming the six students, MTS became one of the first predominantly white institutions in Memphis to admit African-Americans. This was the beginning of a diverse MTS community that continues to flourish and grow.
Dr. Starks was a community activist. He was a vital leader of the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike and a force behind the Black Monday School Boycotts, which merged the support of Memphis students and teachers for sanitation workers. Though tenacious in his passion for the rights and welfare of all people, Starks was dubbed by the community as the “Gentle Giant” because of the quiet dignity and resolute leadership he kept even under the most tumultuous circumstances.
After graduating from MTS, he became the first African-American member of the MTS faculty while continuing to serve as Pastor of St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church. He died on July 4, 1985. As a well-respected leader, beloved pastor, and faculty member, he left a legacy in Memphis and at MTS. The local newspapers described Starks, who coined the phrase “You are somebody,” as “…in the elite class with Dr. Martin Luther King, A. Phillip Randolph, and Medgar Evers.”