Unsung heroes ‘blessed’ by MTSU Unity ...

Unsung heroes ‘blessed’ by MTSU Unity Luncheon recognition (VIDEO)

MTSU alumnus and author Michael McDonald, the university’s first African-American student government president, returned to campus to deliver the keynote address at the 18th annual Unity Luncheon held Feb. 11 in the Student Union.

The event was part of a full slate of activities at the university in observance of Black History Month; this year focuses on “Civil Rights in America.”

His straightforward message included praise for the contributions of the three “unsung heroes” who would later be honored with awards for “achieving extraordinary things in an ordinary way.”

Sponsored by the MTSU Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Center and the Black History Month Committee, this year’s luncheon honored:

  • 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.



You can learn more about the 2014 honorees and the event at