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.
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.”