Congratulations to our 2021 Nelson Family Legacy Award winners!!!

Religion/Spirituality & Education

Rev. Lonual Nelson was a grammar school principal and a Baptist preacher. He taught Alex Haley. Mr. Haley said Rev. Nelson would always open the day with a prayer. One of the churches he pastored was El Canaan Baptist Church. The street where he lived was named Nelson Street.  He served on many boards of trustees in higher education. 
Arts & Entertainment

Charlene K. Clark was the first African-American in the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. She played 1st violin. In 1968 she performed during a special concert following the death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She began her professional career with the Symphony Orchestra after that concert. Charlene retired in 2018. She was on 4 CDs with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. She also played in the Amici Quartet with other orchestra members. Since her retirement, she has played with orchestras within the community.
Ronald P. Metcalf was regarded as a musicians’ musician.  His virtuosity as a pianist, organist, arranger and composer endeared him to audiences all over the world. He was involved with many musical productions with workshops internationally as well as in the New York City area.

He was a musical director on Broadway. He toured and performed with Patti Austin, the Pointer Sisters, Jenifer Lewis and Martha Reeves. He arranged vocals for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra In Unison Chorus’ Gospel Christmas.
Alfordson “Ford" Nelson was a disc jockey at WDIA in Memphis. He started working at WDIA in 1950. He had played the piano for B.B. King before working at the radio station. He was in 2 documentaries, “B.B. King: The Life of Riley” and “The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He was able to play himself in both documentaries.
Lindbergh Nelson the youngest of eight children, was born 23 November 1930 in Memphis, Tennessee. He is known as a blues king of the keyboard. He started playing in clubs at an early age. In 1949 Lindbergh began to play in clubs, featuring popular tunes of the    day  like 'After Hours' and 'Hamp's Boogie' He co-wrote several songs and was on several recordings with the Millionaires band. One of the band’s members was Levester “Big Lucky” Carter who he played with for 50 years.
Bennetta “Bennie” Nelson West is the Founder of the Memphis Black Arts Alliance, Inc. While living in New York City, Nelson West became active in the black arts movement. Upon return to her hometown Memphis in 1978, Nelson West joined the Continuing Education Department of Shelby State Community College. She organized the First National African American Crafts Conference & Jubilee. This conference became a precursor to the National Black Arts Festival. In 1982, while continuing as a college administrator, Nelson West organized artists and arts groups to found the Memphis Black Arts Alliance, Inc.  This is the city’s first regional arts and cultural organization which celebrates and nurtures artistic excellence and black heritage. 
Under Nelson West’s leadership, the organization introduced the Greater Memphis region to nationally recognized black artists in touring theater and dance companies, writers, and art exhibitions. It also supports the development of local talent with the FireHouse Community Arts Academy, the FireHouse Little Theater and the FireHouse Gallery.  (Edited from the Memphis Black Arts Alliance, Inc. website)
Science & Technology

Sharese (Reese) Donaldson
is from the Leesville Nelson family branch. She is the youngest of three children and was born to two amazing parents in Chicago, IL. She has been a professional registered nurse for 11 years. Nursing has been a challenging career and even more so with the current ongoing pandemic. Despite the challenges of the pandemic and losing her mom suddenly in 2020, she was thankful for the ability to successfully graduate from college. She graduated from Rush University with the following degree: Doctor of Nursing Practice with a focus in Advanced Public Health. During her time at Rush University, she had the opportunity to assist in developing a diabetes program for individuals within a medically underserved community. She currently works in the hospital setting as a certified enterostomal therapy nurse where she enjoys caring for patients with complex wounds and ostomies. 
Business & Finance

Elois Joseph
landed her dream job as a senior examiner for a major financial regulator. At the same time, Elois and her husband Bevon created the Greenwood Project based on their experiences as Black professionals within the financial industry. This non-profit organization has a mission to expose, educate and immerse Black and Brown youth in the finance industry. “Today, five years later, Greenwood Project has served approximately 400 students, and it continues to grow.” she said. “We have partnerships with 40 financial institutions, including the NASDAQ, Peak 6/APEX Clearing, Cboe Global Markets, and William Blair & Company. These companies invest in us to identify and professionally develop potential future hires—women, Black and Latinx talent.”

Jacob Ford
is a former American football defensive end. He was originally selected by the Tennessee Titans as the 204th overall pick in the 6th round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He played college football at Central Arkansas. From 2008 through 2010, no other Titans defender had more than Ford’s 15.5 total sacks. The athletically-gifted Ford was one of the fastest defensive ends available in the 2007 rookie pool. However, his talents were only briefly on display for the Titans. A left Achilles’ injury in his first training camp resulted in his placement on injured reserve. He returned from the injury in 2008 to post seven sacks and followed that with a team-high 5.5 sacks in 2009 and three sacks in 2010. (Edited from
The George and Dollie Nelson Family Legacy Award will be given to an individual or group who have exhibited servant leadership and made significant achievements and contributions to their communities and the nation in the following categories:

Arts & Entertainment
Science &Technology
Business & Finance
Politics & Activism
Good Samaritan/Volunteer
Youth Development

*** Nominations are closed until next year ***
If your nominee is selected you will be contacted for more information. 
Nomination Guidelines & Instructions
  • Please submit a separate nomination form for each individual, organization or group.
  • You may only nominate an individual for one award using the same form.
  • Only complete entries for each specific award will be considered.
  • All responses should be submitted in paragraph format with a recommended minimum 100 words per response.
  • Partial/incomplete nominations will not be considered.
  • Self-nominations will not be accepted.
  • Fraudulent nominations will not be accepted.
  • Only nominations received by the deadline will be considered.
Multiple nominations submitted for one individual, organization or group does not guarantee that individual or group as the winner of that category. Nominations are considered based on quality, depth, and breadth, not quantity of submissions.