The City of Mount Pleasant Recognizes Juneteenth with Oak Lawn Park Dedication Service at 6:00 pm.
Another hard day’s work, family dinner served, dishes dried and put away. Then off went the apron, and on went the softball glove.
It was the story of the Pioneers of Softball, some mighty fun and fierce women who lit up the Westside neighborhood for over three decades with the sounds of bats cracking, fans cheering, and children laughing and playing.
“These were hard-working women who made the time to provide recreation, laughter, inspiration, and discipline to the youth in the community through softball,” said City of Mount Pleasant Councilmember Jerry Walker, who was one of those children. “There would be long evening games, and exciting summer weekends with 300 to 400 people coming from all over for the softball tournaments.”
These Pioneers were Maurine Field, Dorothy Howard, Elizabeth “Cat” Johnson, Eunice “Sudie” Hill, Betty Smith, Imogene Garrett, Betty Jewel Finley, Jo Ella Thornton, Martha Raye Brown, and Veoria Darden.
“Even when they grew too old to run, they’d go to bat and let the children run for them,” said Councilmember Walker. “They taught and inspired all of the children in the community.”
Also rallying the community around softball and baseball for nearly 40 years was Wright Patman Johnson, Sr., who coached girl’s/women’s softball, and Joe Traylor, who coached young men’s softball and baseball.
“These gentlemen did far more for the youth than just coach a sport,” said Councilmember Walker, explaining how Johnson would go from house to house to pick up his players in his truck for practices and games. “They instilled important life values and led by example.”
So it only fits that on Juneteenth 2020, the City of Mount Pleasant honor these community legends with an Oaklawn Park Dedication Ceremony that will begin at 6:00 pm. Members of the City Council will participate in the program along with Minister Lonnie Charles Bell, Donna Cannon Smith, and Senor Mangon. Unveiled is a special plaque honoring these community legends.
“We invite everyone to the celebration,” said Councilmember Walker. “We hope to have a big crowd while abiding by COVID guidelines.”
That means please join the festivities, wear your mask, plan to social distance, and get ready to hear some fantastic stories that will bring special meaning to Juneteenth 2020.