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Media Release

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May 25, 2015

Contact: Irucka Embry; (615) 713–7094;

RE: A Night to Remember: A Multi–generational Family Book Signing, Photo Exhibit and Presentations in conjunction with A Place at The Table

(Nashville, TN)–Nationally recognized sustainability and local food activist, Jim Embry, will be a guest speaker at A Place at The Table weekly dinner and lecture/film series on Wednesday, 17 June—with dinner prepared by Chef Martha Stamps and her staff. Jim, who spoke in 2012, will share his photos and experiences from his 2014 trip to Torino, Italy as part of the U.S. delegation to Slow Food's 2014 Terra Madre event. He will connect the local food movement in Nashville to this international event.

Environmental and food activist, Irucka Embry of Nashville, will serve as co–host for the evening, along with Chef Martha Stamps. Irucka has invited other family members to participate in A Night to Remember: A Multi–generational Family Book Signing, Photo Exhibit and Presentations. The program will be held on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, at the West End United Methodist Church at 2200 West End Avenue (across from Vanderbilt University). The event begins at 6 PM with a delicious dinner prepared by Chef Martha Stamps and her staff.

There will be books signed and sold by the authors, a photo exhibit and spirited presentations. Twin brothers Irucka (Nashville) and Obiora Embry (Lexington, KY); their mother, Dr. DeBora Mapp–Embry (Louisville, KY); their aunt, Ivy Barksdale (Lexington, KY); their father, Jim Embry (Richmond, KY) and their grandfather, James Mapp (Chattanooga) will read from and sign their books. Jim Embry will also exhibit photographs from his travels to Terra Madre and around Italy.

The dinner starts at 6 and ends around 6:45 PM & is $12 for adults and $6 for children under 10. Please RSVP for the dinner by calling (615) 983–8850 or e–mail

At 6:45 PM Irucka's family will read and give short presentations. This part of the program is free and open to the public.

Chef Martha Stamps

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Martha Stamps is a native Nashvillian who grew up at her parent's home near Radnor Lake and graduated from Harpeth Hall. Stamps' education about food and land began when she was a child. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Stamps returned to Nashville and with determination began her slow–food crusade. Stamps began dealing directly with farmers and doing outreach and education, providing an entryway for everyday Nashvillians to begin asking questions about what they were eating and where it was coming from. Stamps' progressive efforts in the early 1990s make her a way–out–front early adopter of now–ubiquitous ideas, such as eating organic, sustainable growth, buying local, connecting directly to farmers via CSAs and co–ops, and from–scratch cooking. Her weekly A Place at The Table dinner and movie/lecture series which combines delicious food and thought began in 2009. (Source: ““Stamps” of Approval”, by Joe Nolan, Local Table)

Contact: Martha Stamps,,, (615) 983–8850

Books available

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Chance or Circumstance?: A Memoir and Journey through the Struggle for Civil Rights (ISBN 978–1–49178–031–2)

James R. Mapp — civil rights activist from Chattanooga, Tennessee

Close Your Eyes: A nighttime read it to me book… (ISBN 978–0–9904624–2–2)

Ivy Barksdale

Ivy Barksdale

Expanding Horizons Through Creative Expressions (ISBN 978–0–9897507–0–7)

Obiora Embry

Embry Books

You Are Your Child's Best Teacher: A Holistic Guide to Link Home and School, Revised Edition (ISBN 978–1–5136–0077–2)

DeBora Mapp–Embry, Ed.D.

Inspired Schooling Solutions

Balancing the Rift: ReCONNECTualizing the Pasenture (ISBN 978–0–9914994–0–3)

Irucka Ajani Embry

Questioning the Universe Publishing (QUP)

Embry Family Cookbook: Recipes and Remembrances

The Embry Family of Central Kentucky

Organized by Maya Hinton

The Sustainable World Sourcebook (ISBN 978–0–615–30980–4)

Sustainable World Coalition

Jim Embry served as a writer and photographer for this publication

For more information about the event, please contact Irucka Embry; (615) 713–7094;; visit


Brief biography of the authors and visual artists

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James R. Mapp

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photograph of James R. Mapp

James R. Mapp was born in 1927 in Mayfield, Georgia, as the oldest of two children of the late James Albert Mapp and the late Mattie L. Hargrove Mapp Davis. He moved to Chattanooga at the age of 10 in 1937, and attended public schools. He graduated from Howard High School in the Class of 1947 as Class President and Valedictorian.  He attended Tennessee A & I College [now Tennessee State University (TSU)] in Nashville, with a major in Business Administration, and was elected vice president of the Freshman Class.

He was married to the late Viola Martin Mapp of Greenville, Kentucky for 46 years, to which union there are eight children.  Presently, he is married to Bettye Jean McCoy of Meridian, Mississippi. They reside in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Active in the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) since 1941, Mr. Mapp served as President of the Coordinated Youth Councils of Chattanooga from 1945–1947.  He was Branch Secretary from 1953 until 1959 when he was elected to serve as Branch President, serving this office a total of 28 years. He also served as State President for two and one half years, and Chaired the Region for two years. He has committed his life to challenging racial segregation [PDF] and inequality.

Mr. Mapp has been active in civic affairs and politics for many years, and has received numerous awards.  He served on the first Mayor's Bi–racial Committee, 1960–65, and the Tennessee Court Modernization Committee, 1976–78.  He was a founding member of the Tennessee Voters Council and the Unity Group. He ran in elections for several County posts, which included County Council, County Registrar, Trustee and County Commissioner.

As a fully paid Life Member of the NAACP, Mr. Mapp is a subscribing Golden Heritage Member.  He is an Honorary PTA Life Member and member of the AARP.  Mr. Mapp is a member of the 33rd Degree Masons affiliated with the United Ancient Free and Accepted Scottish Rite Masons of North America, Historical Grand Lodge of Tennessee, Hezekiah Lodge #23, and Alleppo Temple of Shriners.

Mr. Mapp served 16 years as an Agent and Assistant Manager with North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, and one year as Manager for the Union Protective Life Insurance Company.  He opened the James R. Mapp General Insurance Agency in 1964, which operated for many years. He served four years as a Housing Planner where he was instrumental in getting an Open Housing Ordinance passed by the City of Chattanooga. In 1990, he opened Mapp and Associates Realty, which continues today.

Orchard Knob Missionary Baptist Church has been his church of membership since 1940, having served as Usher, Member and President of the Sanctuary Choir, Superintendent of the Sunday School, Director of the Baptist Training Union and Teacher. He still serves as a Trustee and was Chairman during the construction of the present Church structure.  He is presently a member of the Housing Development Board at the Church.

Mr. Mapp became active in the Boy Scouts in 1942, and was active for more than 50 years, rising to the rank of Eagle Scout. He served as Cub Master, Scout Master, and was on the Board of the Dynamo Division. He established an umbrella Scouting Committee which was designed to coordinate all Boy and Girl Scouting for Orchard Knob Baptist Church.

Service to the PTA (Parent Teachers Association) spanned 35 years, starting in 1954.  He served in many PTA positions including Unit President and Council Member. He authorized a resolution presented to the US Congress by the National PTA relating to daylight savings time.

As a writer, Mr. Mapp has completed writing his memoirs. The book, presently titled Chance or Circumstance?, is an autobiographical and historical account of his life, with an emphasis on his work in civil rights.  It is scheduled to be published by I–Universe in 2015.

Ivy (Mapp) Barksdale

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photograph of Ivy (Mapp) Barksdale

Ivy (Mapp) Barksdale is a mother of three and the youngest of eight siblings. Born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Ivy has always believed in the power of dreams. She grew up feeling that anything is possible if you only believe. Ivy attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville majoring in electrical engineering. She chose to pursue that career because she felt that if a peanut–farming engineer can become president, she could certainly use that degree as a springboard for anything else she dreamed she wanted to do in the future. A month after graduation, she married her college sweetheart and a month after that she became a career woman relocating to Lexington, Kentucky where she currently resides.

Ivy had a successful corporate career that took her in many directions. She worked as an electrical engineer, software programmer, quality assurance engineer, IT specialist and human resources specialist. She put her creative talents to work as a volunteer working with youth. She also embraced her nieces, nephews and young cousins as she and her husband dreamed about giving their hearts to children of their own.

After nine years of marriage the two were blessed with boy–girl twins. It was these twins that initially inspired her to write this lullaby. Four years later they were blessed with another son. Eight years later her husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Ivy followed the desire of her heart and left the corporate world behind to care for her husband and to be there for her children.

Ivy dreamed of turning the lullaby into a book from the time the children were young. With her husband's passing, the dream seemed to fade as well, but through encouragement from her children, the dream was revived.

Close Your Eyes represents the culmination of a life of encouraging her children and others to dream, have faith and follow those dreams. Ivy is currently a real estate agent, an employment specialist and now an author. She feels that all dreams can come true if you have faith and put actions in place to pursue them.

DeBora Mapp–Embry, Ed.D.

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photograph of DeBora Mapp–Embry, Ed.D

DeBora Mapp–Embry, Ed.D., a.k.a. Dr. Mapp, is the Performance Consultant for Inspired Schooling Solutions. She has an Education Doctorate in Instruction and Administration with an emphasis in Educational Leadership and Social Justice. Dr. Mapp has taught in a child development program, in middle and high schools and in higher education. She has also worked as a teacher leader, district curriculum coordinator, school–wide adolescent literacy coach, city–wide career counselor and administrator in a community agency and in higher education. She also volunteered in her community for years in various capacities.

Dr. Mapp's childhood began in a segregated southern city with seven siblings and civil rights activist parents, with her mother coming from a large and close–knit extended family with rural Kentucky roots. This upbringing has helped her to understand the challenges and sacrifices of the 50s and 60s and the need to learn from the past for better future results.

Because of these experiences and the Black Power movement, Dr. Mapp felt a need to go through a conscious metamorphosis before teaching in desegregated settings with diverse students and colleagues. She vowed to become a change agent as she helped students develop strategies for more success in education and in life while assisting colleagues in working more positively with all students.

Through personal and professional experiences and research with diverse school stakeholders, Dr. Mapp understands that teaching, learning and schooling are impacted by historical, political and social forces. We live in a period of complex uncertainties on multiple levels, and a holistic approach is needed to shift our basic assumptions and understandings of relationships, connections, prediction and control since they are qualities that constantly change and impact teaching and learning, with teacher performance being key to student learning. The performances of all school stakeholders have to evolve and change at home, in education institutions and in the community so their skills, dispositions and performances improve to better prepare and support children so they can more successfully meet 21st century challenges and opportunities.

Dr. Mapp assists individual stakeholders and organizations in facilitating these changes to gain better results with student development and learning as they learn to move beyond the way things are presently done, or the status quo. She conducts workshops, develops professional development sessions and curricula, and can speak on a variety of topics tailored to her clients' needs. In addition, Dr. Mapp offers writing and freelance services. Recent contracts included a Kentucky State University literacy initiative, Dress for Success Louisville, the Louisville Catholic Enrichment Center and Kentucky Department of Education.

Dr. Mapp is presently on the Arts Council of Louisville board and she's a Family and Youth Ministry supervisor at her church, member of the Kentucky Commissioner of Education Closing Achievement Gaps Council and under contract with another state agency. She is a proud parent of a daughter (PhD) and four sons who have engineering degrees and six amazing grandchildren!

Obiora Embry

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photograph of Obiora Embry

Obiora Embry is not only an author but also a poet, amateur photographer, born again artist, entrepreneur, engineer–in–training, and a developer with a love for what is real and natural. He finds beauty in Nature and knows that we must “wake up from our collective slumber” to solve the problems we humans have created. Obiora is a life–long learner and on his journey he has been educating and healing himself, mentoring and educating others, volunteering, growing food and cooking flavorful, colorful, healthy meals.

Obiora is from mixed ancestry, which includes African (his country of origin is unknown), Cherokee, and European. He was fortunate to grow and develop in a household in which he was able to establish a balance between his left and right brain. During high school, Obiora lost his creativity and has struggled to regain it. This has made his journey difficult.

In recent years, he has been consciously making an effort to reconnect with his inner artist while evolving and transforming like a butterfly…the theme of Expanding Horizons Through Creative Expressions: Reflections and Thoughts Related to the Struggle for Peace, Sustainability, Equality, and the Search for Humanity. Expanding Horizons Through Creative Expressions is Obiora's first book and his passion can be felt from the first until the last page! In this inaugural publication, he has included poetry, essays, editorials, and various thoughts about spirituality, peace, war, the police, education, love, gardening, and awareness because he believes that “awareness is needed to break out of old patterns.”

As an Eco–Conscious Thinker, Obiora finds solitude in Nature and believes that some of his best writing comes to him while outside communing with her. He has been writing since elementary and started sharing it with the world in 2002 because he felt it was time as a truth seeker to shed light into the darkness. Since then some of Obiora's work has appeared in Ace Weekly, Peaceways, the Kentucky Kernel, the Lexington Herald—Leader, North of Center, and The KeyNews Journal. Between 2011 and 2012, he co–authored Whole Measures for Community Food Systems (WM CFS): Stories from the Field. In addition to the topics that he covers in Expanding Horizons Through Creative Expressions he has written about Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs, hemp and marihuana, organic farming, Thanksgiving, and much more!

As Obiora continues to resurrect his creativity, he has resumed his sketching and Nature photography. Also, he is growing food for humans, pollinators (not limited to European honeybees), and wildlife and doing what he can to improve the land he calls home.

Irucka Ajani Embry

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photograph of Irucka Ajani Embry

Irucka Ajani Embry is a creative & multi–faceted person. He is an Adjunct Professor (Tennessee State University College of Engineering), author, ecological activist (encompassing economic, environmental, and social justice), environmental engineer–in–training, freedom advocate, gardener and advocate of everyone eating, performing and visual artist (creative writing, Hip Hop musician, and photography), public speaker, questioner of Reality, and small business owner.

Irucka regards himself as a being, which he feels connects him more fully to all beings and not solely to other human beings. He credits this idea of connection rather than separation to the family (especially his father, Jim Embry) and friends that encompassed the village that helped to raise Irucka and his older siblings in Lexington, Kentucky. It is that springboard that allowed him to question Reality and make seen and unseen connections at an early age. Irucka continues to employ these skills in his professional life as an environmental engineer–in–training and business owner & in his personal life through the various creative & imaginative pathways that he cultivates. His main creative outlet, other than writing and music, is gardening. Irucka recognizes that the most healthy food will be grown in healthy and lively soil that is wetted by healthy water.

He shares these and many other ideas learned through experience or from interactions with others mostly through written expressions. Irucka has had his writing printed in the following publications: Health & Wellness magazine, Lexington Herald–Leader, The Key Newsjournal, University of Tennessee's The Daily Beacon, Tennessee Independent Media Center (now defunct), English version of the Russian paper Pravda, and The Contributor. Most of Irucka's written works can be read either in his first book, Balancing the Rift, or read online at True change begins from within… and EcoC²S Media.

In order to release more of his thoughts unfiltered he created Questioning the Universe Publishing (QUP), which is a publisher of bookmarks, books, electronic books (e–books), Hip Hop music, and postcards. Irucka also known as (AKA) the Questioner published his first book, Balancing the Rift: ReCONNECTualizing the Pasenture, in February 2014. The Hip Hop artist Vibration Kŏn'vûrt'ɛd [Kunvorted} is dropping the first single, “Untitled: The Solution — You”, off of the What Do U Feel? album in 2015.

Vibration Kŏn'vûrt'ɛd [Kunvorted}

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All that exists is Consciousness vibrating at a certain frequency which we convert into our experiential Reality. Vibration Kŏn'vûrt'ɛd [Kunvorted} is the experiential vehicle that Irucka Embry uses to kunvort (play on convert) his Consciousness into Hip Hop lyrical content.

Jim Embry

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photograph of Jim Embry

Jim Embry was the featured speaker at Chef Martha Stamps' A Place at the Table event in December 2012 and is very excited about returning to Nashville with other family members. In 2012 Jim spoke about his trip to Italy for Slow Food's Terra Madre [PDF]. On June 17 Jim will present reflections on his 2014 Terra Madre/Salone de Gusto [YouTube] experience and how it connects to the Nashville local food movement while also sharing his writings, photography and sustainability activism. He is delighted to be part of this evening experience that also features the creative expressions of his former wife (DeBora), sons (Irucka, Obiora), sister–in–law (Ivy) and father–in–law (James Mapp).

In 1971 after being inspired by his friendship with Dick Gregory, Jim became a vegetarian food activist and joined with others to found the Good Foods Co–op in Lexington. His 20 year marriage to DeBora Mapp produced five children that provided additional inspiration for activism and community involvement. Their children [Siku, Ayo, Segun, Ajani, Obiora (who all received college engineering degrees)] and now their grandchildren (Zariah, Maisha & Jonathan, Shamar & Kinli, Seriah & Neah) all continue to be a source of pride, inspiration, mutual support and collective activism. Jim now believes that the sustainability movement with local food as it foundation encompasses all the other movements and will bring about a paradigm shift or The Great Turning which will allow humans to manifest our more divine relationships with each other and the Earth.

In 2005 Jim founded Sustainable Communities Network. Since that time Jim has guided the development of 30+ community garden projects at homeless shelters, schools, neighborhood empty lots, city parks, faith institutions, domestic violence shelters that is now creating a 40 acre farm, Plant to Plate at Family Care Center, and has organized local food summits.

Often times called an “eco–activist” or “sacred Earth Activist”, Jim was named Model of the Year by Ace Weekly in 2007, has received awards from local government, Garden Crusader at Gardener's Supply, and is known for being “Black and Green” while thinking “out–of–the–barn”. He has been video and radio interviewed on kyGREENtv, IATP–Climate and Agriculture [video], KET Connections with Renee Shaw, Kentucky Forward Urban Farm Online, UK Ag Communications [YouTube], Key Conversations Radio, blogged about on Goodness of the Garden, and written about on Cities Speak.

He has served as a co–writer, contributed articles and provided photographs to wide range of publications that include: The Sustainable World Sourcebook, the Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky, Ace weekly [PDF], Latino Studies Journal, Lexington's African American Heritage Guide, family reunion histories, conference programs, and many internet resources. Jim Embry's photos have been featured in Ace Weekly [PDF], local exhibits, and one photo hangs in the lobby of Lexington's St. Joseph Women's Hospital. His forth coming books, Through the Lens of a Sacred Earth Activist: Terra Madre and Italy and Lexington's Art and Community Garden Movement, will feature his photos and the inspiration for his work in the local food and sustainability movement.

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