Monday, February 09, 2015

[294] Unity Luncheon brings community together at MTSU to honor leaders

MURFREESBORO — Five people whose devotion to their community has enhanced the lives of others will be feted at MTSU during Black History Month.

The annual Unity Luncheon is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, in the second floor ballroom of the Student Union.

A hallmark of MTSU’s Black History Month observances since 1996, the Unity Luncheon brings to light the achievements of citizens whose guiding principle is service to others.

Bishop Joseph W. Walker III, pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Nashville, will be the featured speaker. Walker created the “Women’s Night Out” tour in 2010 “to expose and discuss the root causes of failed human relationships,” according to

Walker, a noted motivational speaker, is the author of “Love and Intimacy: Five Ways to Get Together and Stay Together” and “Life Between Sundays,” an account of his first wife’s battle with stomach cancer.

This year’s honorees are Clifford Allison, Dr. Barbara Canada, Percy Ford, Madelyn Scales Harris and Karl Thomas.

A veteran of World War II, Allison was drafted at age 18 and served in the European Theater of Operations. In peacetime, Allison ran a well-respected mortuary business. The 91-year-old Allison is an active member of the American Legion.

Canada, a retired Tennessee State University assistant professor and cooperative extension specialist, is the founder and chief executive officer of Aspire to Educate-Empower-Encourage.

Known as “AE3,” the nonprofit organization was founded to help people and groups achieve business, health and community-building goals.

Ford is a nationally certified drug and alcohol counselor. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Key United Methodist Church and the Murfreesboro chapter of the NAACP.

Harris, the only woman on the Murfreesboro City Council, is retired from State Farm Insurance Company as a business account underwriter. She is the owner of New Beginnings, a youth motivational speaking company. 

Her community service legacy includes activism with the League of Women Voters, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Fund of Rutherford County and First Baptist Church, among other groups.

Thomas, a poet and oral historian known as K.H.A.O.S., worked for 10 years at The Village Cultural Arts Center, which provided programs designed to deter teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency and high-school dropout rates.

Previously, Thomas founded and managed the Outreach Program from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s to help the underprivileged access disability benefits or drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.

Also as part of the event, Dr. Cornelia Wills, director of student success for the University College at MTSU, will sign copies of her book “Mama Said: A Word to the Wise is Sufficient” at the luncheon. For more information, contact Wills at 615-473-8924 or

Tickets to the Unity Luncheon are $20 for adults and $10 for students. They can be purchased in advance only, and purchases are nonrefundable. To buy tickets, go to

For more information, contact Jonell Hinsey, director of MTSU’s Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Center and chair of MTSU’s Black History Month Committee, at 615-898-5797 or

No comments: