Pickett Chapel

The Wilson County Black History Committee and other community members continue their push to fully restore a key facility in Wilson County history. 

Members of the committee joined dozens of others at Pickett Chapel on Monday to be featured on Ann “Ann Holt’s Tennessee,” which is broadcast on WKRN-Channel 2.

Holt interviewed committee members and others involved with the restoration for about two hours for the show, which features the former news anchor traveling across the state to profile historically significant people and places.

Pickett Chapel was built by slaves in 1827 and was a worship center for slave owners and slaves together. 

Pickett Chapel was selected for the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The Wilson County Black History Committee (WCBHC) purchased the building in 2007 with hopes of restoring it and making it the home of the Roy Bailey African-American Museum and History Center. 

WCBHC member Phillip Hodge said the group completed renovations to the chapel’s roof, windows, main doors and bell tower. 

“It was probably not safe to occupy, but now it has been stabilized and good to occupy,” Hodge said. “We’re now turning our focus to the inside.”

WCBHC chairman Mary Harris said the group recently began to restore the chapel’s annex, which will house the main office, meeting space and restrooms. 

“I’m excited about the future of this place. We’ve adopted the slogan ‘This place matters,’ ” Harris said. 

She said the goal is to have displays on both side of the museum, with theater seating in the middle portion leading to a stage. The chapel was the former home to at least two community theaters, according to Hodge. 

“The idea is for it to be a depository where people can come and collect information, and do whatever research they need. Hopefully, we’ll have some people in and out that can serve as resource people,” WCBHC member BJ Taylor said. “I think a museum has to change minds. You have to present stuff in a way to help change people minds. It’s amazing what people don’t know or understand.”

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