For the past 30 years, March has been recognized as Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the accomplishments that women in our society have made to their communities, to their country and to the world. 

Last Friday, 24 Tipton County women were honored during the inaugural Hattye T. Yarbrough Women’s Appreciation Luncheon sponsored by the Association for the Preservation of African-American History and Culture in Tipton County (APAAHC-TC).


The afternoon luncheon event was billed as the perfect opportunity to recognize and celebrate women who make a positive difference in Tipton County.

The 2017 honorees were Conneye Albright, Sheila Barlow, Rev. Sheila Bryant, Morgan Still Davanzo, Barrie Foster, Dr. Tracey Johnson, Youlanda Jones, Rev. J.B. Leverette, Rep. Deborah Moody, Nancy Peeler, Robin Sealy, Helen Tyus, Olean Anderson, Minnie L. Bommer, Dr. Keneko Claybon, Margaret Flemming, Debbie Gordan, M. Jean Johnson, Mayor Gwendolyn Kilpatrick, Adrienne McGarity, Sherri Onorati, Deborah Reed, Catina Stark and Hattye T. Yarbrough.

In additional to the honorees, more than 50 family and friends were in attendance at the afternoon event held at the Tipton County Museum, Veterans Memorial and Nature Center. Honorees and guests were treated to a lunch catered by Old Town Hall.

Each honoree was asked to give self-introductions and to provide three words, which they felt described themselves, of which many in the crowd whole heartedly agreed with.

 The event’s namesake, retired Tipton County school teacher and Black History historian, Hattye T. Yarbrough, was the guest speaker who made an impassioned speech, urging women to never doubt themselves and to never be afraid to make their own path in life.

Special recognition was given to Harriet Cannon for her work in the community and Mason Mayor Gwendolyn Kilpatrick was voted by her peers as the first, #1 AWESOME woman for 2017. Olean Anderson closed out the event giving special thanks and comments of appreciation to those who made the event happen.

Museum Volunteer Kathy Moeller attended and said she thrilled to have been at the event.

“It is very important that we recognize the contributions that women have made in our communities,” said the Atoka resident. “I found it to be very informative and awe-inspiring that we have such gifted women living here in Tipton County.”

The event, a fundraiser to raise money to build an African American Museum in Tipton County, was the idea of APAAHC-TC chairwoman and Covington Alderman Minnie Bommer and serves two purposes, she said.

“These women are considered AWESOME (Accomplished, Welcoming, Elegant, Splendid, Optimistic, Magnificent and Enthusiastic) because they make other people feel special, uplifted and needed without expecting anything in return,” said Bommer.  “Each in her own way has shown all these traits to people they come in contact with, most of them never realizing the positive impact they make each day, by simply being herself. None knew or expected the honor but each of them deserved it. What better way to recognize them and to raise money to build a museum, which will recognize the contributions and history of African Americans who made Tipton County a better place.”

Echo Day
Author: Echo Day

Echo Day is an award-winning journalist, photographer and designer. She is currently The Leader's managing editor.