A community gathering was held July 9 at Grove Park Community Center in Jackson, MS to celebrate the achievements of the Boys Baseball Association (BBA), established in 1956 at the Farish Street YMCA. A walk down memory lane program was held prior to guests stepping outside to witness the unveiling of a historical marker that prominently displays the influence of a community-run program organized to enhance the social skills of youth through sports as well as enrich family life. Founding members were Curtis Coward, Earl Claxton, Julius Hughes, Sammie Chapman, Malachi Mayweathers, J.W. Perry, and J.B. Harrington.
In later years, Thomas and Walter Cheatham took the reins and for several decades continued the tradition to inspire youth to pursue higher education and distinguished careers.
Saturday’s program was filled with accolades for the Cheatham brothers and others who gave unconditional love to Jackson’s youth. Among the speakers were Honorable Robert L. Gibbs, Councilman Brian Grizzell, Ben Wells, Mike “O” Smith, Supervisor David Archie (who presented a $150,000 check from the Hinds County Board of Supervisors for Grove Park improvements), Senators John Horhn and Hillman Frazier (who pledged to match Hinds County contribution), Alice Thomas-Tisdale (who also spoke on behalf of Councilman Kenneth I. Stokes), Courtney Harrell, Rev. Reginald M. Buckley, Pastor Darrell L. Harrington, Robert “Bob” Braddy, Rev. Shirley Harrington, and former mayor Harvey Johnson.
Current BBA board members are Clint Johnson, Katonya Barfield, Norwood Beal, LTC John Gray, Dr. Rosella Houston, Dr. Hillard Lackey, Keisha Milton, Kathy Sykes, Christiane Thomas Williams, Herb Sanders, and Kenya Washington.