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Inaugural Accabee Community Unity Day: A Celebration of Unity, Uplift and Peace, Honoring the Life and Legacy of Ms. Thomasina Gelzer McPherson
10/22/2014 2:54:50 PM

Thomasina Gelzer McPherson
By Ayinde M. Waring

For much of her adult life, Thomasina G. McPherson or “Mrs. Mac.,” as she was affectionately known by her neighbors, called Accabee home. In those days Accabee was not the crime ridden neighborhood that often finds itself on the local news, but instead it was a community that was a close-knit hub of Black life, filled with mom and pop grocers and home-based businesses. TGMP, as her license plate read, was the unofficial voice and matriarch of the community. Though some were older and some may have lived there longer, none were more dedicated to uplifting this mid to lower income community than her.

For decades Mrs. McPherson worked as a teacher just down the street at Mary Ford Elementary School, where the school’s street address now bears her name. She worked days as a teacher, while pursuing her Master’s Degree at South Carolina State University on the weekends; all while raising her four children, Joan (deceased), Donna, Joseph, and Gary. She later parlayed her experiences and passion for teaching others into winning a seat on the Charleston County School Board. Many of the older residents of the area, can recall her staunch discipline and long lasting mantra to “Stay With The Lord,” and have credited her for positively setting them on their way.

It is in her honor and as a tribute to her lifelong legacy of educating and bringing people together, that her family hosted the Inaugural TGMP Accabee Community Unity Day on September 27th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Accabee Community Center, just around the corner from Mary Ford Elementary School.

“We wanted to do something that would not only honor Mama but really serve as a representation of what she was most dedicated to,” cited C. Donna Harris, daughter. “This was much better than we thought for our first year.”

Mrs. McPherson was deeply involved in local politics, often working the polls and imploring her family to do the same. Several local leaders and officials were on hand for the celebration including North Charleston City Councilman Samuel Hart, North Charleston Councilman Michael Brown, North Charleston Police Department Assistant Chief Reggie Burgess and State Senator Marlon Kimpson. Each spoke of the importance of community involvement and education and Senator Kimpson presented the family with a State Resolution honoring Mrs. McPherson that the family was extremely proud to receive. “We are truly thankful to Senator Kimpson, stated Joseph McPherson, son. This is truly an honor and a blessing.”

Senator Kimpson noted on his Senator Facebook Page, “… I had the privilege of presenting a Senate Resolution to the family of Thomasina G. McPherson… I have heard countless stories about the impact that Ms. McPherson made on the North Charleston community. She was a loving mother, grandmother, role model, educator, evangelist and political activist. So proud to pay tribute along with Councilmen Michael Brown and Sam Hart of North Charleston.”

“Mama loved this community and the city of North Charleston. She was dedicated to helping everyone,” added Gary McPherson, son.

Though Mrs. McPherson passed away in 2003, at the age of 86, her legacy continues to live on and her family will work to make sure that her overall vision of a better community and life for everyone, stays pertinent and true. “This was our first year, but we will work to make this bigger each year,” added Carmelita Pryor. “Grandmamma would have it no other way.”

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