Friday, January 16, 2009


EDITORIAL CONTACT: Valerie Avent, 615-898-2718

Staple of Black History Month at MTSU Honors Lives of Honor, Achievement

(MURFREESBORO) – An annual hallmark of Black History Month at MTSU since 1996, the 2009 Unity Luncheon honoring “unsung heroes” in the community will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, February 3, in the Tennessee Room of MTSU’s James Union Building. This year’s honorees are Annie M. Cox, James E. McAdams Sr., Rev. James Thomas, Carl Wade, William Washington and Katie F. Wilson. Cox has been a dedicated schoolteacher in Cannon County for more than 30 years. She is considered an icon for coaching sports and molding young lives for the future in the school system and the county at large. Penny Nichols, who submitted her name for recognition, says of Cox, “She is an inspiration to others by living life to the fullest with happiness and appreciation.”
McAdams worked as a chauffeur at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Murfreesboro for 36 years. After retirement, he was employed as a dishwasher and head cook at Oakland High School’s cafeteria for a total of 20 years. McAdams is a member of First Baptist Church and was chairman of its deacon board for more than 43 years.
As pastor of Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville since 1971, Thomas has been ranked among the top 100 most powerful and influential people in the city by the Nashville Post for several years. His leadership roles over the past 37 years include co-chair of the Davidson County Rainbow Coalition, president of the Missionary Baptist State Convention of Tennessee and president of the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship. Wade serves on the finance committee, education committee and the deacon board of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. He retired from the Southern Baptist Convention Sunday School Board as warehouse leader after 22 years. Wade also serves on the board of commissioners of the Murfreesboro Housing Authority, which works with the director on budget, finances and housing projects.
A retired state employee, Wilson’s lifelong dedication to service includes work with the mentally retarded in the Bureau of TennCare and the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, as well as part-time employment for 33-and-a-half years as Special Event staff member in the MTSU Athletic Department. She chairs the boards of directors of Wee Care Day Care Center in Murfreesboro and the Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center.
Washington was custodian for the Cope Administration Building from the time it opened in 1964 until his retirement in 1994. A dedicated church-goer, he established a reputation as an ambassador for MTSU. Susan Turner Taylor, who nominated Washington, says, “He was always friendly to those who worked at the university and to guests of the university.” Tickets for the Unity Luncheon are $20 for adults and $8 for students. No tickets will be sold at the door. For more information, contact Valerie Avent at 615-898-2718.


ATTENTION, MEDIA: For jpeg photos of the Unity Luncheon honorees, contact Gina Logue in the Office of News and Public Affairs at 615-898-5081 or

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