Reverend James Staggers gave a lifetime of service as pastor to his community and now will be remembered with the street in front of the church being named in his honor. Staggers was the pastor of the New Tabernacle Baptist Church at 990 E. 181st Street for 38 years, until his passing on September 18, 2008. He was remembered on Saturday, January 15 when a group, led by Councilman Joel Rivera, was joined by the minister’s wife Daisy Staggers, his children and church members, to celebrate the renaming of the street with a sign unveiling.
E. 181st Street now reads ‘Rev. James B. Staggers Place’ and honors his dedication and steadfast resolve, said Joel Rivera, who requested the street overlay, which was signed into law by Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday, December 20.
“To know such a man as Reverend James B. Staggers is to know a man that has extended his services beyond the walls of the Church to a higher call of duty,” Rivera said. “He has brought change, light, and hope to the many people that have walked through these doors at the New Tabernacle Baptist Church. They came seeking help and guidance, and by his elaborate resume of awards, we know that he did not shy away from these challenges. Today I am proud to have Rev. James B. Staggers Place become a permanent fixture guiding those who can benefit from the programs he helped put in place and honoring his lifelong dedication.”
Staggers ran a food pantry, clothing mission, drug and alcohol rehabilitation mission and held services for the faithful on the sabbath and on holidays at the church. His daughter, Rev. Michelle Staggers Alexander, continues her father’s work at the New Tabernacle Baptist Church as an associate minister.
“He would have felt wonderful about the street being named in his honor,” Staggers Alexander said.
Staggers Alexander plans on holding activities, including a youth street fair in August that will engage youth in the area and truly reach out to them and let them know that there are positive options for their lives. She spoke about this being a way to carry on her father’s legacy, which she said dealt with always remembering who they were serving in church.