Black History Committee highlights local volunteers

Sinclaire Sparkman • Updated Mar 30, 2018 at 8:00 AM

The Wilson County Black History Committee held a luncheon at Pickett-Rucker United Methodist Church on Wednesday to show appreciation to those who put in time and energy to help the organization. 

About 60 people and many Lebanon dignitaries attended the event, including Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash, who presented a check for $5,000 from the city to committee president Mary Harris. 

“We are very appreciative of those who have supported us over the years,” Harris said. “It has been a struggle, but we just keep plugging along. I think we are where we need to be as an organization, and we so appreciate all of you who have helped us get to that point.” 

The group made a point to honor all of those, from politicians to members to quiet volunteers, with applause and an invitation to say a few words. 

Harris also presented committee member Jesse McLevain with a volunteer award for his tireless work.

The committee formed in 1994 around the creation of a local black history book, which came to fruition in a tome known as “In Their Own Voices” in 1999. The Roy Baily African American History Center opened in 2005 to honor one of the committee’s founding members. 

Harris said the committee hopes the current project, the restoration of Pickett Chapel, will be complete within the next year or two. The committee bought the 191-year-old building in 2007. After years of restoration efforts, it will soon be ready to show off the near 200 years and more of black history in Wilson County.

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