Funeral procession for Sen. Thelma Harper honors her legacy

Thelma Harper Procession
Posted at 6:44 PM, May 06, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Before State Senator Thelma Harper was laid to rest Thursday, she went on a final journey in the city that she loved.

Harper's funeral procession made twists and turns through Nashville, stopping by landmarks near and dear to her heart including Meharry Medical College and Fisk University.

"A major prominent pillar in this community, so it’s important we as students come out and show support," said Andreas Nelson, Student Body President at Fisk University.

Even though the current students at Fisk never knew Harper while she was in office, there's no doubt they've felt her impact.

"She was a phenomenal woman who had a huge impact on the school and I just wanted to come out and show my support," said Victoria Patterson, a freshman at Fisk.

"They’re here to support her for what she did and because she had an impact on everybody’s life, it will continue to grow as long as they’re alive," said Ragland.

Denise Ragland worked with Sen. Harper as she fought for the destinations that hearse passed along the way to the cemetery -- like First Horizon Park, Nissan Stadium, Music City Center and the National Museum of African American Music. "She was fun to work with, very particular about the way she wanted her office run," said Ragland, who worked for Harper's senate staff for more than ten years. "She didn’t have a problem telling you what she thought.

But Ragland says what she'll miss most is the woman who paved the way for so many others and made Nashville a better place along the way.

"Once you meet her, you’re either her daughter or her sister," said Ragland. "She’s just going to be really missed."