Ford family struggles cause some to weigh its future

John Ford's Tennessee Waltz corruption trial is just the latest blow to the Ford dynasty.

Some say the Ford name has lost its luster with all the talk of corruption and questionable actions. But other political experts say don't count the Fords out too soon.

The last several years have brought the Ford family unwanted attention over some big events including the federal corruption trial of former State Senator John Ford, Ophelia Ford's absence from the Senate because of sickness and Mempis City Councilman Edmund Ford's bribery charges.

Could the Ford name be in jeopardy? "Suffered some hard knocks, lost an election or two, but they still have someone on the city council, someone on the county commission and someone in the state senate," said Memphis Flyer writer and political analyst Jackson Baker.

Baker says trial or no trial, John Ford's time is up. "He's already retired from government. He's not going to go back into government and he's 65 years-old which means his entire era of Fords has come to an end."

But then there's his sister Ophelia, who took his place. "She's probably not going to be there very long, but the Ford's have a deep bench as they say in sports."

Joe Ford has an unscathed reputation as a Shelby County Commissioner. His son, Joe Ford Jr., ran and lost for Congress.

Jake Ford, son of former Congressman Harold Ford, Sr. also lost that race.

So, for the first time in 27 years, the Fords have no one in a federal seat.

Harold Ford, Jr. left Congress to lose a run for Senate.

"It's kind of understood that if there's a Ford seat somewhere and that Ford seat ceases to be held by a Ford, then another Ford will try to take it," said Baker.

Baker says that with 40 years rooted in government, the Fords will be hard to weed out.

One thing to consider - he says - is that many people in the African American community turn to the Fords at the most vulnerable times of their lives as the Fords run one of the largest funeral homes in Memphis.

With that, the Fords have a unique tie to voters.


to send Kontji Anthony an email.