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Plant City Courier

Residents recall past, look to future at Bealsville community banquet


Published:   |   Updated: June 19, 2013 at 03:51 PM

BEALSVILLE - Bealsville residents and guests celebrated family, friends, and community Saturday evening, June 1, at the annual Bealsville Community Banquet, a dinner that helps to raise funds for community programs and endeavors. The event was held at the Bealsville community center and hosted by community group Bealsville, Inc., and included a traditional dinner of roasted chicken, field peas, green beans, collard greens, yellow rice, mashed potatoes, rolls and an assortment of desserts. Bealsville, Inc., spokesman William Thomas explained that the event follows a tradition in African American communities where a banquet is held at the end of the school year to help raise funds for students going to college.

But the main focus of the evening was to honor past generations and remember times gone by.

"Basically, we are trying to keep alive the memory of the old settlers and original settlers of this community, and trying to instill that importance in our young people," said Herman Hargrett, chairman of the board of directors of Bealsville, Inc.

For residents such as Leola MacDonald, who was born in 1918 and as a child attended Jamison School in Bealsville, remembering the past is of the utmost importance. She recalls taking lessons from her home economics teacher, who would come to the community and stay for about a week at a time teaching students who traveled from home and camped out under the trees during the week of classes.

"She would stay about a week and during that time she was here we would sleep under the trees and camp," MacDonald said.

And for lifelong community resident Lottie Durant, whose family were among some of the original settlers of Bealsville in 1865, keeping a sense of community alive is important for moving forward.

"I'm a community person," Durant said, "I love my community."

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