Ride-thru salute planned for late Richmond advocate Albert Lee

Drive-by memorial planned for late Richmond advocate Albert Lee
The late Albert (Al B. Show) Lee (right) and his surviving wife, Gloria. (Photos contributed)

By Mike Kinney

Albert (Al B. Show) Lee, a longtime Richmond resident known for having been on the front lines of community advocacy, including as a participant and leader of the 4th Street Tent City Peace Movement in 2006, died from natural causes on Sept. 4, according to loved ones. He was 62 years old.

In celebration of his life, Dee Stewart, Savannah Woods and Anna Brown are coordinating a community ride-thru salute set for Saturday, Sept. 12, at 2 p.m. Vehicles will line up and pass by Lee’s home at 511 Nevin Ave., where is wife Gloria, also a known community advocate, still resides.

Attendees are encouraged to bring sympathy cards and gifts of love. Those wishing to take part will form a line in their vehicles starting from 8th Street and Nevin Avenue. The drive will begin promptly at 2 p.m. and participants are asked not to sit and block traffic.

The memorial, taking place as a ride-thru in order to maintain social distancing during the pandemic, aims to honor a man who “was always about the spirit of giving,” Stewart said.

Lee and his surviving wife, Gloria, “helped so many people in the community over the years, we felt it was important to pour back that love,” Stewart added.

Drive-by memorial planned for late Richmond advocate Albert Lee

A former restaurateur, Lee was known for being active in his community. He is in part known for his advocacy during the 4th Street Tent City Peace Movement in Richmond. From September to October 2006, the Tent City Peace Movement served as a response to escalating homicides involving young Black men in Richmond. The first tent city was located at 4th Street and Nevin Avenue, said Rev. Andre Shumake Sr., one of the movement’s founders.

“The first tent city became a camp out for peace in the community,” Shumake said. “I remember the day when the community started coming daily to the camp. Albert brought his grill over from his house seeing the need to feed all of these people. He was instrumental in feeding a whole community of people coming to the camp daily to support our peace movement.”

Lee also led efforts to expand the movement to include tent cities in in North Richmond, Martin Luther King Park behind Nystrom Elementary and John F. Kennedy Park across the street from Kennedy High.

In 2011, Lee organized his neighborhood to attend a meeting at the Nevin Community Center to introduce ‘Operation Ceasefire’ to his neighborhood. He was known to mentor young men in Richmond. One of them was his nephew Demulus Johnson III, now a Richmond city councilmember.
Lee also helped to establish and maintain the community garden at 5th Street and MacDonald Ave., helping to supply needed fruits and vegetables to families in the area. Each summer at the garden location, he would supervise family movie nights, where families brought their children to watch Disney movies and other family-oriented films.

“Al B Show Lee was a true inspiration for change in the community,” Richmond activist Antwon Cloird said. “Albert was always the first one to show up with ideas that really worked or with anything that the community needed to make things happen. That was why Tent City was so successful. He was a living example of ‘teamwork makes the dream work.'”