Monday, February 10, 2014

[359] MTSU’s Feb. 11 Unity Luncheon celebrates 3 respected community servants

MURFREESBOROCampus and community will come together Tuesday, Feb. 11, at MTSU’s annual Unity Luncheon to celebrate three Rutherford County citizens who have spent their lives to service to others.

The event begins at 11 a.m. in the second-floor ballroom of the university’s Student Union with a keynote address from alumnus and author Michael McDonald, MTSU’s first African-American student government president.

Sponsored by the MTSU Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Center and the Black History Month Committee, this year’s Unity Luncheon will honor:

·       James L. “Link” Butler Sr. of Murfreesboro, who is a longtime community volunteer and the fourth-generation patriarch of one of only four African-American-founded Tennessee Century Farms.
·       Pearlie Mae Martin of Murfreesboro, who began “substitute teaching” at age 12 in a two-room schoolhouse and taught multiple generations of children during a career of more than 35 years in home economics and commercial foods management in Rutherford County schools.
·       Dr. Phyllis Hickerson-Washington of Murfreesboro, whose work with Rutherford County Schools and as director of Student Organizations and Minority Affairs for MTSU has enabled her to help thousands of African-American students.

Butler, a World War II veteran and member of Prosperity Dilton Baptist Church, is a 33rd Degree Mason, a Shriner, a board member of the St. Clair Senior Center and a volunteer at the Room at the Inn shelter, among his many activities.

A founding member and church mother of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, Martin has been a member of Delta Sigma Theta service sorority for almost 60 years and is well known for her community service along with her family, many of whom became educators through her example.

Hickerson-Washington, a native of Shelbyville, Tenn., currently serves as coordinator of secondary instruction for Rutherford County Schools. She has worked on the boards of several service organizations, including MTSU’s National Alumni Association, Salvation Army Parks and Recreation and the MTSU Foundation, and she also is a member of and busy volunteer at Murfreesboro’s First Baptist Church.

MTSU’s Unity Luncheon is one of the most anticipated events each year in the university’s observation of Black History Month. This year the focus is on “Civil Rights in America”; you can get more details about Black History Month at MTSU at

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