By Focus Staff
Last Friday there was a dedication to Mr. Avon W. Rollins, Sr. at the Cherry Street exits at Interstate 40 in East Knoxville. State Senator Becky Massey and State Representative Joe Armstrong joined other state and local officials to honor Rollins for his fight for civil rights and his service to the Knoxville community. There were signs placed at both ramps recognizing the “Avon W. Rollins Sr. Overpass.”
This native Knoxvillian has a place in the Civil Rights History of America. He says, “My years in ‘The Movement’ are years I shall never forget.” In 1963, he was personally involved in organizing demonstrations in Knoxville; Danville, Virginia; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and other cities in the South, as member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), pronounced as SNICK!
By August of 1963, Rollins had gone to jail over 30 times for protesting and demonstrating for social justice and peace.
Rollins retired as manager of Minority Resources and Development in 1994 from Tennessee Valley Authority in Knoxville.
Rollins served as executive director of Beck Cultural and Exchange Center. He continues to be a mentor to all in the community who seek his advice.