Gallatin honors Black excellence with banners featuring influential community members past and present

Gallatin celebrates Black History Month
Posted at 7:17 PM, Jan 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-26 13:40:55-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's only a week away from Black History Month, and cities across the midstate are getting a head start on honoring Black excellence.

The city of Gallatin is doing so by highlighting Black community members from Gallatin from the past and present.

"So much of African American history or Black history isn’t told. Much of it is not even printed in a holistic way," Frist Baptist Church Senior Pastor Derrick Jackson said.

The City of Gallatin has hung up avenue banners featuring influential black residents of Gallatin’s past and present. Sixteen people and places were chosen with the help of the Union High School Museum Board led by historian Velma Brinkley.

The idea of featuring local residents on the banners was mentioned during Mayor Paige Brown’s State of the City address last year. The mayor said the community embraced the banners installed during last year’s Black History Month that included national figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ida B. Wells and Katherine Johnson.

One of the 16 being honored is Pastor Derrick Jackson.

"If the Lord lets me live come October, I would’ve been here 22 years," Pastor Jackson said.

Even though he’s held the title of senior pastor at First Baptist Church for over two decades, he’s still humble about his accomplishments.

He’s also an entrepreneur, accountant, college instructor, and author.

He thinks what the city is doing gives the public a chance to learn something new and at the same time reminds everyone that Black History is American History.

"The complexities of Black life. The challenges of Black life. The contributions of Black life — Gallatin is better; Sumner County is better because of the presence of African Americans," Pastor Jackson said.

The banners will remain displayed through February.

The following are portions of the content featured on Gallatin’s Avenue Banners:

Fred Bailey: Founder of nonprofits Children Are People and Susie Brannon McJimpsey Center, Fred Bailey was born in 1953, the 10th of 15 children.

Colored Fair: Purported to be the first African American-owned agriculture fairground in America, the Blythe Street Fair was purchased in July 1870 by Mack Randolph, Arthur Banks, Willie Baker, Dock Blythe, John Banks and Henry Ward for $650.

Dr. William Wilson: Born in Marshall County, Wilson graduated from Meharry Medical College School of Pharmacy in 1906. In 1915, he moved to Gallatin where he and I.C. Ramsey, M.D. opened a pharmacy and medical practice.

Dr. J. Deotha Malone: Malone was the first African American woman elected to the Gallatin City Council in 1969 and served for more than 20 years.

Dr. Eric Moore: Moore, a Gallatin native, is the current Deputy to the Commanding General, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

Rev. Hillary Wattwood Key: Key founded the Key Memorial Methodist Church and 13 other churches. He was the incorporator of Lebanon/Gallatin Telegraph Company in 1869. He was elected to the Gallatin City Council on Dec. 5, 1868.

William “Bubba” Dunn: A baseball standout from Gallatin High School and Volunteer State, Dunn was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1989.

Union High School: Built on Winchester Street in 1922, the Rosenwald Building was the first high school for black students.

Rev. Peter Vertrees: Born Dec. 16, 1840 in Kentucky, Vertrees was an educator, pastor and Confederate soldier (1861-1865).

John Vertrees Malone: He was active and influential in education, religion, community and civic endeavors. Malone worked 42 years in education at GHS, UHS and Durham's Chapel.

James Herbert White: Born to illiterate parents and grandson of ex-slaves, White graduated from A & I State College in 1924 and later founded a university.

Kenneth Moore: Attorney Kenneth Moore founded Sigma Electronic Discovery Consulting, LLC in 2015 and remains the owner. He also serves as Director for the international tech and consulting company HaystackID Inc.

Bishop Lula Mai Swanson: Bishop Swanson founded and pastored three Jehovah Churches of God. She owned and managed a grocery store and used proceeds from that venture to build a nursing home on Pace Street in 1954.

Onnessia Shacole Head: Rucker Stuart Middle School 2021 Teacher of the Year, Head has been an educator for 16 years. Head presently serves with Leadership Gallatin 2023, Unlimited Potential Food Pantry and Shalom Zone.

Dr. Derrick Jackson: A prominent Tennessee pastor who was born in Itta Bena, Mississippi. Jackson is an entrepreneur, accountant, college instructor, philanthropist, published author and CEO.

John “Bud” Rogan: Born to ex-slaves in Sumner County in 1868, Rogan was the fourth of twelve children. At 8'9.5” he is the tallest African American ever recorded and the second tallest man in world history.

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