The Makers of Modern Mebane class of 2020 was inducted Thursday night at the Mebane Arts and Community Center, marking the Mebane Historical Museum’s first in-person event since before the pandemic.
The three winners are as follows: Sandi Bagby, Landscape and Special Projects Coordinator for the Town of Mebane for over 30 years; Ivory Tate Vincent, community pillar and centenary; and Tal Jobe, sports legend Mebane.
Between 50 and 100 guests attended the ceremony, attended by various staff and municipal council members of the town of Mebane, as well as candidates.
The director of the Mebane Historical Museum, Traci Davenport, gave the opening speech, reflecting the past year and a half and its impact on the museum.
“In a divisive present, we should regard our shared history as our most common motive,” Davenport said. “Until the pandemic, this very common common ground that museums build on brought people together by creating a sense of community in a space, by celebrating a collective of heritage and culture. Today, museums, including ours, have massively increased their digital presence. This reach has brought us a larger audience with new appetites for engaging in new ways.
An expanded scope opens up more opportunities, Davenport said, and has pushed the museum to explore new “what it means to create a space for interaction and participation.”
“I am convinced that museums are just as important for the future as the future is for museums,” she said. “As we navigate the unknowns to come and ever-changing landscapes, the Mebane Historical Museum remains dedicated to its mission of collecting, preserving and interpreting the history and culture of Mebane for all future generations who will call Mebane home. them.”
Mayor Ed Hooks then made the introduction, noting that the Mebane Museum and City Council teamed up in 2011 to create the Makers of Modern Mebane, as there are “local people who should never be forgotten.”
Hooks added that the Makers of Modern Mebane September ceremony is the first that former mayor Glendel Stephenson is not in attendance. Stephenson died in May 2021.
“We have celebrated over 45 people in its very short history – from mayors to mechanics, educators to early settlers and all in between,” Hooks said. “The community has regularly nominated a diverse selection of people, many of whom may never have been known without this program. “
The first Maker of Modern Mebane 2020 honored was Sandi Bagby. New Leaf Society President Rett Davis spoke of Bagby’s tremendous service to Mebane in his role in the city. Davis first met Bagby when he was director of the North Carolina Alamance County Co-op Extension over 30 years ago.
Bagby has been responsible for beautifying Mebane, leading projects such as the Veterans Garden, Memorial Trees, Flowers and Trees throughout the city and its streets, and Clay Street Pocket Park.
Davis said Mebane has changed a lot in the more than 30 years since he started coming to the city. And, with all of this change, he said, Mebane is extremely lucky to have Sandi Bagby, who has ensured that the city remains beautiful.
“His first challenge was to clean up the railroad tracks, that corridor that runs through the center of your city,” Davis said. “Well, she got permission from the railroad to do the landscaping. I remember these trees were brought in by frames and loaded. You had the only landscaped [railroad] corridor in Alamance County.
Davis said other towns and villages in Alamance County have started to follow in Mebane’s footsteps on the matter. Bagby also managed to get permission for the town of Mebane to take care of its own interstate exits, which was also imitated.
Bagby was also influential in crafting a landscape ordinance requiring new business and development to plant and maintain trees and shrubs, Davis said, which is not easy.
“I admire you so much for your dedication, your vision and your tenacity in making things right and making sure they stay that way,” Davis told Bagby. “By working with city officials, officials, colleagues, employees, they all buy into it. I will tell you that very little is done here without his imprint. No community in this county today has Sandi Bagby.
Ivory Tate Vicent, a local centenary, was the next Maker of Modern Mebane honored. NC Poet Laureate, also Vincent’s daughter, Jaki Shelton Green spoke of her mother’s long and illustrious life.
“My mother taught many people in this room that there is wisdom that comes from experience,” Shelton said. “Respect for elders is one of the cornerstones of civilized behavior. Those of us who gather here also know that the young can walk faster, but the elders know the road. My family and I are very grateful to see my mother, Ivory Tate Vincent, inducted into the Makers of Modern Mebane 2020. ”
Over the course of Vincent’s more than 100 years of life, she has seen and been part of an endless transformation, traversing the Great Depression, World War II, the Jim and Jane Crow laws and the civil rights movement for n ‘ name just a few of the main events in his life.
Before coming to Mebane, Vincent was Rosie Riveter, working in an aircraft factory during WWII.
Green said her mother had always been a trailblazer and quiet warrior for equality and the human rights of the most forgotten and neglected in society.
Green recalled her childhood in Mebane, her mother’s strong work ethic, and the pride she took in caring for others.
“My mom worked here in Mebane when I was young, worked when my dad was crippled and suffered heart attacks and strokes,” Green said. “My mother worked in the laundry. She cooked, cleaned and looked after a significant part of the white children of a certain generation in Mebane.
Green remembers always offering to help his mother with her chores so that she could be done with it sooner and be able to spend more time with her own children. But Vincent would never allow it.
“But my mother’s words to me would be,” This is not the life I am preparing you for – yes, I will teach you how to be an amazing housewife and have a beautiful property, but it is not the trip I dreamed of, ”she said.
Vincent then sent Green to the porch of the house she was working in that day with a sandwich, telling her to read. Vincent has always believed strongly in the importance and power of education, something she instilled in her children.
“I would just like to say in honor of my mother, that I am honored to be her legacy and believe that we are the wildest dreams our elders and ancestors could have,” she said. “So I’m honored to be this dream as the first African-American poet laureate in North Carolina, as the third woman and woman who follows in her footsteps – in my mother’s footsteps. “
Finally, the third member of the Makers of Modern Mebane 2020 – local sports legend Tal Jobe – was honored. Jobe himself made the remarks.
Jobe was the longtime Eastern Alamance High School men’s basketball coach and the school’s gymnasium now bears his name.
“Nobody loves Mebane more than me and nobody is more proud to be Mebane than me,” Jobe said. “I was lucky to be born here, to have grown up here and to have spent most of my life in Mebane.
Jobe said that as a boy his life revolved around Mebane Recreation. In 1954, when he was nine, he remembers getting up every summer morning, having breakfast, and heading to Walker Fields (then known as Mebane Ballpark for the daily recreation program run by George Shackleford and Archie Walker.
When Jobe was 14 he took his second paid job as an assistant at Shackleford, helping to run the same summer recreation program – he worked 8:30 a.m. until late afternoon each day with children and loved every second of them.
“I coached the Southeastern Midget baseball team, worked with concession stands, made snow cones, mowed the field and kept the scores and stats – it was a good time,” said Jobe. “My salary was $ 7.50 per week. It’s seven dollars and fifty cents.
Jobe recalled the fire of the late 1950s and how he thought the whole world was on fire. He recalled that the youth of Mebane gathered in the streets after the Sunday night church youth programs. He recalled all the old stores. He remembered his years at Wake Forest University when his fraternity brothers, playing on his middle name, called him “Moton de Mebane”.
Most importantly, Jobe noted that growing up and living in Mebane most of his life shaped him deeply.
“There are so many other things I could talk about, so many fond memories of this city with great friends,” Jobe said. “I have to say that I have made many, many mistakes in my life and I am very grateful and thank God for many of you who have been friends – working and living here has been such a blessing.”
The president of the Mebane Historical Museum, Lennie Stout, then gave the closing speech of the ceremony.
“It has been said that if you don’t know your story then you don’t know anything and you’re a leaf that doesn’t know it’s part of the tree,” Stout said. “As we say goodnight, I want to remind you to visit your museum often – and we have a wonderful one. Be a leaf that knows it is part of the tree and know your story as you explore the Mebane Historical Museum. ”