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Dinner to honor Lebanon Clowns, young athletes

Xavier Smith • Updated Jul 28, 2017 at 2:00 PM

The Wilson County Black History Committee will honor a historic team, while celebrating the success of young athletes this weekend with a dinner and award presentation.

The committee will hold a tribute to the Lebanon Clowns Negro League Baseball team Sunday at 3 p.m. at Pickett Rucker United Methodist Church at 633 Glover St. in Lebanon.

The Clowns team was the first professionally organized sport in the Wilson County area, when Negro League teams offered the opportunity for African-American athletes to play baseball at the professional level in the mid-20th century before black players were integrated into major and minor league teams. The league enjoyed great popularity in the 1940s and ’50s.  

In addition to honoring the pioneer athletes, the dinner will also recognize the winners of the annual Chris Price Athletic Award. The guest speaker will be Gail Corder Hassell.

All former Clowns members, family and friends are invited to attend the event. Light refreshments will be served. No admission will be charged, but donations will be accepted to support the work of the Black History Committee.

Mary Harris, president of the Wilson County Black History Committee, said the event annually serves as a chance to bridge the gap between all sports, races, ethnicities and religious beliefs to unite behind the cause of appreciating Wilson County youth.

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