Historical marker unveiled in Rosemark

Above the steady rumble of cicadas were family, church members, civic leaders and community supporters who gathered Monday for a special event. They were on hand for the dedication and unveiling of the Shelby County Historical Marker for Anthony Chapel School and Greenwood A.M.E. Church and Cemetery in Rosemark. The Historical Archives of Rosemark & Environs Inc. (H.A.R.E.) played a major role in getting this historical marker designated.

The Monday morning event at the marker site on the corner of Mulberry Road and JE Strong Road, as well as a program and reception at Greenwood A.M.E. Church, were well attended by area residents.

Early arrivers were able to visit the Anthony School site and Greenwood Cemetery before the dedication and unveiling ceremony began.

The Greenwood A.M.E. Church Praise Team began the event with an uplifting song of praise. Greenwood A.M.E. pastor Rev. Anthony Branch followed the Praise Team with the invocation.

Rosemark Civic Club president William “Trip” Jones welcomed those in attendance and thanked many for all the work done to make the marker a reality.

He was followed by Jon P. McCalla, a representative of Historic Archives of Rosemark and Environs Inc., who introduced Jimmy Ogle, the featured speaker for the event.

Ogle is the Shelby County historian. He talked about the importance of history and how a historical marker occasion that includes a church, a school and a cemetery can bring out a lot of stories.

He noted the Shelby County Historical Commission exists to preserve and promote the history of Shelby County. Ogle said sometimes people don’t realize there is Shelby County outside of Memphis. In the past two years the Commission has concentrated on the county’s rural areas.

Several committees have been formed by the commission to gather information about Shelby County’s rural history. Ogle told the crowd it is an incredible undertaking and so important for the historic stories of the areas to be told.

Shelby County Commission chairman Justin Ford and Shelby County mayor Mark Luttrell Jr. both sent congratulations via proclamations that were presented by Cary Vaughn. Millington mayor Terry Jones was scheduled to present a proclamation during the reception later at the church.

Members of the Strong and Gales families were on hand to do the actual unveiling of the marker. After the unveiling, James E. Strong Jr. spoke to the attendees.

Strong reminded the crowd that it’s not where you come from, it’s what you do that matters in life. Strong spoke of how happy his father would have been to see the events of the day. He bragged on the community participation and said if any community could have this kind of participation, the world would be better. Strong praised the historical committee for the job they did getting the documentation needed to make the marker a reality.

Bishop Jeffrey Nathaniel Leath of the 13th Episcopal District of Kentucky and Tennessee ended the dedication program by telling attendees he was there to honor the deceased and departed but was also there to celebrate those who made the event a reality. He told the crowd they deserved to be celebrated for doing that, for what the marker means today and for what it will mean in the future.

He encouraged the crowd to continue to show forth the spirit displayed at the event. After Leath’s benediction, the program moved to the church.

Written by Brian Roy, general manager for Journal West 10 Media LLC. Contact him at (901) 433-9138 or via email to brian.roy@journalinc.com.