The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

March 23, 2007

Hall of Fame needs nominations

W. TERRY SMITH

The Twin County Hall of Fame is homeless.

Plans to house the museum inside the new Imperial Centre in Rocky Mount fell apart when officials said it would take a million dollars to build an addition.

Nevertheless, Chris Miller has not lost faith. The Hall of Fame was her idea as far back as 1996, before she was elected to Rocky Mount City Council.

So far, there have been three classes inducted, 31 people, most with Edgecombe County ties.

The deadline for nominations for the 2007 class is April 30. The official nomination form is required. It is available on the Web at: www.rockymount travel.com. Click on History, then Twin County Hall of Fame. Call 977-1438 for more information.

A secret committee of seven makes the selections.

The Twin County Hall of Fame was begun "to honor citizens of Edgecombe and Nash counties who have made broad and lasting contributions to the betterment of the community or who have brought recognition to the community through their accomplishments.

"By recognizing these individuals, the Hall of Fame hopes to stimulate an interest in and an appreciation for the value of the history of this community and its citizens."

Attendance at the three induction banquets and ceremonies has been outstanding. I think the Hall should "visit" Tarboro, in the AC&T; Center's Mobley Atrium or at the Blount-Bridgers House. Maybe that would help spark interest – and help educate more of us on who these remarkable men and women are.

Unfortunately, the names of those who have been inducted are not listed at that Web site. Several Edgecombe County residents have been inducted. They are:

The inaugural class in 2004: Thomas Battle, a banker who has been called “the father of Rocky Mount; educator Kanawha ZeBlon Chavis; nuclear physicist Harold Ray Denton; communications pioneer Spencer K. Fountain; Big Band leader Kay Kyser; baseball great Buck Leonard; Dr. Milton Quigless Sr. of Tarboro; retired Army Gen. Hugh Shelton of Speed; Rocky Mount High School and University of North Carolina athlete Danny Talbott.

Each of the nine had ties to Edgecombe County.

Class of 2005 from Edgecombe: Entrepreneur Robert Barnhill Sr., community leader Ruth Cherry, SouthWest Edgecombe High Athletics Director and Girls Basketball Coach Sandra Langley, Army Col. Martha Westray Battle Boyce Long and former slave and state legislator Dred Wimberly.

Class of 2006 from Edgecombe: Nina Fountain of Tarboro, Milton Bullock of Princeville and the late Dr. J.E. Bryant of Rocky Mount.

Obviously, there are many other deserving folks who should be included, but they must be nominated first. Monika Fleming of Tarboro is on the Hall of Fame Board of Directors and she is often asked, "Why isn't so-and-so in the Hall?"

"They haven't been nominated," she answers.

For example, blues musician Thelonious Monk of Rocky Mount has yet to be nominated.

“The Hall of Fame is recognition for people who have served or led our community,” Fleming said. “People can’t be inducted unless they are nominated. Who do you want your children to remember who had an impact on our lives in a regional or national level?”

I do not know enough about golf champion Harvie Ward of Tarboro to write a nomination, but he should be nominated. So should artist Hobson Pittman. What about Confederate Maj. Gen. William Dorsey Pender? Congressman L.H. Fountain? Bill Long?

How about Joe Perry? Joe Bourne? Mayor Donald Morris? Dr. Moses Ray? Gov. Elias Carr? Gov. Henry Toole Clark? Dr. Hartwell Fuller? Mary Wood Heydenreich? the Rev. Joseph Blount Cheshire? the Rev. Robert Burns? Joe Perry? Lucy Cherry Crisp? Turner Prince?

I am told we have two Medal of Honor winners (names?). Each should be nominated.

It’s time we each sat down and wrote a nomination – or two.