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Bassett honored at the Statehouse

CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: State Rep. Kevin Mahan (R-Hartford City), at the podium, honors Marion native Pearl Bassett, center, Monday at the Statehouse. Bassett, whoturns 108 soon, has been a civil rights activist since age 12.

BY Staff Reports

State Rep. Kevin Mahan (R-Hartford City) honored 107-year-old Marion native Pearl Bassett for her work as a civil rights activist at the Statehouse Monday.

“Pearl is an icon for our community,” Mahan said. “The world was a totally different place when she was born in 1911. Women couldn’t vote and people of color were still being denied basic rights in many places. Pearl took it upon herself to become involved and stand up for equal rights. She has truly made a difference in our community.”

Bassett helped found the Marion chapter of the NAACP at the age of 12. She was the first Democratic precinct chairwoman in Grant County as well as the president of the local chapter of Women in the NAACP.

“(Bassett) was not one to shy away from challenges, either, she rose to the occasion to stand up for equal rights. … Pearl Bassett embodies the spirit of service commitment, faith and engagement and we’re certainly proud to call her a Hoosier,” Mahan said.

“I think it’s wonderful to go to the Statehouse and see our elected officials,” Bassett said. “It is an honor to be here really, and I appreciate it very much.”

Bassett, also Marion’s oldest living resident, celebrates a birthday this month.

The community is invited to attend a Candy Land-themed party for her 108th birthday on Saturday, April 27 at the Clarence Faulkner Center, 1221 W. 12th St., Marion from 2 to 5 p.m.