Kenneth William Edmonds
Editor, The Carolina Times
Sunrise-December 5, 1953 .........................Sunset-May 2, 2020
Saturday, May 9, 2020
10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fisher Memorial Funeral Parlor
3137 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27707
" A Life of Unselfish Service."
This was the noblest of them all.
His life was gentle; and the elements
So mix'd in him, that Nature might stand up,
And say to all the world, This was a man.
William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
Kenneth William Edmonds, 66, affectionately known as "Kenny," was son of the late Woodrow W. "Woody" Edmonds, educator, and Vivian L. Austin Edmonds educator, publisher and editor of The Carolina Times. Kenneth was born on December 5, 1953, and entered into eternal rest on Saturday, May 2, 2020 in Durham County, following a brief illness.
Kenneth attended the local public schools of Durham and Chapel Hill-Carrboro where he loved and excelled in basketball. After the ninth grade he attended Laurinburg Institute, where he was a member of their outstanding basketball team. He continued his education at East Carolina University to study journalism.
Kenneth began "working" for The Carolina Times at the young age of four, as he assisted his grandfather, the famed Louis Ernest Austin, founder, editor and publisher of the weekly paper by serving as "Keeper of the Keys." His grandfather would often leave his keys around the home, the office, the post office and other places that he frequented. Kenneth's first job was to keep them as they moved around Durham. He saw firsthand, the life, work and sacrifices that Louis and Stella Vivian Walker Austin, his grandparents, endured as they endeavored to help create a more equitable and just community in Durham and surrounding cities in North Carolina.
Kenneth held numerous positions at the paper including selling newspapers in the neighborhood, which gave him keen insights into the lives of those featured weekly in The Carolina Times. His editing responsibilities and general office management continued to increase as he gained more of an understanding of how the business operated. And his first writing responsibility was to write obituaries for the newspaper, eventually progressing to editorials. His photography graced the pages of the newspaper. Eventually, he began laying out the newspaper with great vigor he began exploring the professional side of the newspaper business. His growing expertise and responsibilities qualified him to run the daily operations.
When his grandfather, Louis Austin, died in 1971, his mother, Vivian Austin Edmonds, assumed the role of Editor and Publisher, having worked for the paper since she was 5 years old. In 1988, she faced health challenges, so that Kenneth's responsibilities increased from temporarily supervising the daily operations to doing so on a permanent basis. He truly had "printer’s ink" under his fingernails and a love for the newspaper business.
In 2002, Kenneth was named Editor-Publisher of the venerable paper, and he embraced the obligation to ensure that the Times would continue to be the voice of the community as it reported "The Truth Unbridled," and told the stories of African American life and history in Durham and around the country. He took great pride and admiration of the work of The Carolina Times as it delivered news to the community each week.
His work at the paper and in the community spoke for him.
Kenneth was a stalwart and tireless community worker, who received many honors and awards for his years of invaluable service as editor and publisher of The Carolina Times. Over the years, Kenneth W. Edmonds and The Carolina Times received numerous awards over the course of ninety-three years, however his most notable recognition is the 2019 Distinguished Community Service and Community Journalism from the Bennett College National Alumnae Association in Durham, and 2020 Durham Civil Rights Workers Reunion Committee.
He was a Life Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He was also a member of the North Carolina Black Publishers Association, the National Newspaper Publishers Association and enjoyed fellowship with Saint Joseph's African Methodist Episcopal Church since his childhood.
He leaves to cherish his memories: his loving and devoted son Christian M. Edwards, a vibrant granddaughter Zuri Elle Watkins-Edwards, Cousins Bernard Austin (Vivian), Angela Austin Wilson (Marshall) and a host of cousins.
Mr. Edmonds's mourners extend beyond family to include a large company of caring friends, fellow publishers, Carolina Times devoted subscribers, and residents of Durham, Raleigh and Orange Counties, with whom he bonded with over the years.
It is difficult to sum up the life, legacy, and work of Kenneth W. Edmonds. However, we are comforted by the exemplary life of this servant leader who leaves behind a legacy of excellence that can never be undone. His spirit will live on Today and Forever More, as we mourn and cherish his memories.
He will be genuinely missed!
Submitted by Christian Edwards, Members of the Austin and Edmonds Family, and friends Jerry Gershenhorn and Andre D. Vann
If a task is once begun
Never leave it 'til it's done
Be thy labor great or small
Do it well or not at all.
We here at The Carolina Times have one solemn covenant to keep and that is with the thousands of people in all walks of life who turn to these pages week after week for a breath of truth written by our unshackled pen. In keeping such a covenant with our fellowmen we will be keeping faith with our God. For no man can make or keep a covenant with God Almighty who cannot keep one with his fellowmen.
The faith our readers have in us here at The Carolina Times has been bought with the blood of those strong, loyal men and women who have stood side by side with us in the dark hours of its existence. Sometimes they have endured crucifixions at the hands of their beneficiaries, embarrassments at the hand of both their enemies and fair weather friends. Amidst it all we have never bowed to the gods of gold and silver. We have kept our skirts clean, we have kept the record straight. Our face has always been turned toward the enemy.
This old newspaper has weathered some terrible storms and she will weather some more because she has an anchor of deep religious faith. We believe here at The Carolina Times that if our motive is just, our fight unselfish, we will ultimately be victorious.
Readers will overlook misspelled words, incorrect English, poor rhetoric and numerous typographical errors. They will soon forget about how very poor the mechanical makeup of these pages is. But the most unlearned reader will never forget if we allow selfish, little, power-drunk men to use these sacred columns for their own purposes.
These pages constitute a battleground across which the struggle for justice must never cease until every underprivileged human being in this world has the opportunity to rise to the fullest capacity with which God has endowed him.
Signed: L.E. Austin
(Louis Ernest Austin) Vivian Austin Edmonds Kenneth W. Edmonds
Editors & Publishers 1926-1971 1971- 2002 2002-2020
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