Daisy Staggers, widow of the late Rev. James B. Staggers, with the new street sign. (Photo by F.G. Pinto)


[Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the latest issue of the Tremont Tribune, which is on the streets now]

On the Anniversary of Martin Luther King JR’s Birthday, a packed congregation came together to honor another great Reverend, the late James B. Staggers, with a street renaming ceremony.

“Rev. James B. Staggers Place” was unveiled by Council Member Joel Rivera and Rev. Staggers’ wife on East 181st Street between Vyse Avenue and Bryant Avenue in front of New Tabernacle Baptist Church.

The choir led by Staggers’ daughter started the ceremony by bringing down the house and everyone to their feet.

Fellow reverends, family and friends, and Council Members including Helen Foster and Joel Rivera then spoke on his many achievements, calling him a loving and caring man.

“I am so proud and happy to see honor restored to my late husband,” said a choked up Daisy Staggers. “He would do anything he could for anyone that needed his help.”

Staggers (December 11, 1925 – September 18, 2008) served as pastor of New Tabernacle Baptist Church for 38 years. During that time he obtained the 501 {c}{3} not-for-profit certification for the church allowing them to establish services such as a food pantry and drug and alcohol programs for the community. He was a member of many religious organizations and conferences throughout the U.S.

Rivera called him a “stabilizing force in the community [who] gave hope in bad times.”

“When a child walks down the street and sees that sign and asks who is that, a story of a struggle will be told,” Rivera, the sponsor of the renaming, added. “Hopefully that child will want to become involved in the church, become a leader.”