The Wilson County Black History Committee was formed in 1994 for the purpose of publishing a written history of African Americans in Wilson County. Over the course of four years, the Committee collected archival research, oral histories, and other information that culminated in the publication of “In Their Own Voices: An Account of the Presence of African Americans in Wilson County.”
The Committee continued its work into the 2000s through educational, cultural, and heritage programming. In 2007, the Committee purchased Pickett Chapel, an historic church in the heart of Lebanon that has served both white and black congregations since its construction in 1827. The Committee has been working ever since to restore Pickett Chapel and establish a museum dedicated to the history and achievements of African Americans in Wilson County.
The Wilson County Black History Committee is based in Lebanon, Wilson County, Tennessee and primarily serves this community. However, our vision is to reach beyond Wilson County to the greater middle Tennessee area and seek to attract locals and visitors alike who are interested in African American and local history, as well as cultural and heritage events.
- Executed amended and restated bylaws and rules of governance.
- With the assistance of the Wilson County Commission, the mortgage for Pickett Chapel was retired in full, such that the Committee owns Pickett Chapel free and clear.
- Through a combination of public and private donations and grants, the Committee completed restoration of critical structural components and exterior elements like repair or replacement of roofing, masonry, and drainage. Installation of period-appropriate doors and reconstruction of brick masonry arch also completed.
- The Committee organizes and hosts an annual events calendar, beginning in January with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity March and Brunch and continuing in February with Black History Month, the Heritage Peace Garden Celebration in May on the grounds at historic Pickett Chapel, the Lebanon Clowns Negro League Baseball Team recognition and awarding of the Chris Price Athletic Award in July, and in September our Harvest Wine & Cheese Celebration, a benefit for Historic Pickett Chapel.
- Preliminary discussions with Middle Tennessee State University’s Public History program regarding a partnership to develop a museum plan, including exhibit content and design.