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Black History Committee honors community members with event

Sinclaire Sparkman • Updated May 23, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Community members gathered at Pickett Chapel on Saturday to celebrate and honor those who gave of their time and energy to help the Wilson County community during their lifetimes. 

The Wilson County Black History Committee holds the Heritage Peace Garden Celebration once a year to remember people who were outstanding members of the community. This was the event’s sixth year. 

Honorees for 2017 were Finley Thompson and Mandy Thompson-McCathern, as well as Frank Palmer and Stella Palmer. Stones engraved with the names of the honorees were dedicated in their honor at the ceremony. 

Mary Harris, president of the Black History Committee, said Finley and Mandy Thompson were the type of people always willing to help those in need. Finley Thompson once ran for mayor, and Mandy Thompson-McCathern worked at the Lebanon Senior Citizens Center as a cook and also cooked for the sick. 

“They had quite a few kids, and while they struggled a lot, they maintained. They were always willing to help other families,” Harris said. 

Frank and Stella Palmer parented one of the largest families in Lebanon during the Great Depression, 12 children, and were able to give all of them a college education.

Patricia Bates, a member of the Black History Committee, came up with the idea for the event as a way to celebrate and honor history.  

“We want to thank all participants and attendees, as well as give a special thanks to Henderson’s Flower Shop, Wilson County Sheriff’s Department, WCOR Gospel Show host Ms. Dean and family members of the honorees,” Harris said. 

The committee will hold its fifth-annual Wine and Cheese Festival in September to raise funds for Pickett Chapel’s restoration.

The event will be held September 16 at Cumberland University. For more information, call 615-444-9487 or visit wilsoncountyblackhistory.org.

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