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Tribute to Lebanon Clowns set this weekend

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The Wilson County Black History Committee will celebrate the legacy of the Lebanon Clowns Negro League baseball team with a weekend of activities July 23-24.

The group will sponsor a Youth Exhibition Game at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, July 23, at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center/Wilson County Fairgrounds. Teams will consist of boys and girls from the Lebanon community. Admission to the game is free, but donations will be accepted.

On Sunday, the tribute begins at 3 p.m. at Pickett Rucker Methodist Church, 633 Glover Street. The Rev. Dr. Charley Edward McAdoo, a former member of the Lebanon Clowns, will be the featured speaker, and the children who participated in Saturday’s exhibition game will receive prizes. A highlight of the event will be the presentation of the Chris Price Athletic Award to a young baseball athlete.

The late Chris Price was a standout baseball athlete at Lebanon High School, a former Ohio Valley Conference player at Middle Tennessee State University, and played professionally with the Kansas City Royals organization. He died in a motorcycle accident in 2009. The award will be presented by his widow, Marsha Price.

Baseball’s Negro League teams offered the opportunity for African American athletes to play baseball at a professional level in the mid-20th century, before black players were integrated into major- and minor-league teams. The leagues were most popular during the 1940s and into the 1950s.

Former members of the Lebanon Clowns, as well as their families and friends, are invited to attend the tribute. There is no admission fee, but donations will be accepted.

All donations go toward the restoration of Historic Pickett Chapel in Lebanon. When the restoration project is complete, Pickett Chapel will house the Roy Bailey African American History Center, and will serve as a resource for the entire Lebanon community.

For more information on the youth exhibition game or the tribute event, contact Lakesha Pickett at 290-9041, or Carla McAdoo at 593-1991. You may also call the Roy Bailey African American History Museum at 449-2911.

To learn more about Historic Pickett Chapel, visit the Wilson County Black History Committee’s Web site, www.wilsoncountyblackhistory.org.

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