Young Lester Street Massacre survivor is princess for a day - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Young Lester Street Massacre survivor is princess for a day

By Lori Brown - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Tiara Tea Society offered its resources to Ceniyah Dotson, the only young girl to survive the Lester Street Massacre.

"She is Princess Ceniyah the Eighth," said Judge Gina Higgins of Shelby County Circuit Court.

Ceniyah Dotson was just three months old when a jury said her uncle tried to kill her.  It happened in the worst mass murder in Memphis history.

"She had a very wounded leg.  It's very usable, but needs a whole lot of work," said Tiara Tea Society President Eva Lynn Bishop.

"She's doing good," said her grandmother Ida Anderson.  "She loves to play, and she loves music."

Ceniyah Dotson's uncle, Jessie Dotson, was convicted of killing her mother, father and brother, along with three other adults and another child.  He also tried to kill her other brothers, ages five and nine at the time.

Anderson is now raising the three survivors.  She said three-year-old Ceniyah Dotson enjoys being a princess.

"It's beautiful," she said.  "These are her colors, she loves purple and pink."

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder said Ceniyah can be an example to all.

"I see examples of courage every day in people who simply will not let their circumstances dictate who they are or who they will become," said Holder.  "We need to look no farther than Ceniyah to know what courage is."

The Tiara Tea Society reached out to Ceniyah Dotson's attorneys a year ago, but they urged them to wait until after Jessie Dotson's trial.

The society formed five years ago to help girls in dire need.

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