By Dana Monroe Myers

On Saturday, Sept. 3, a large gathering of Mandarin’s Black residents came together at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Community Center in celebration of a biennial reunion referred to as “Olde Mandarin Come Together Day.”

Since the early 1800s, Mandarin has had a large population of African-American residents. Some descendants of those early residents still call Mandarin home. Many others moved to other areas across the city and other places across the country during the mid-to late 1990 expansion in the Mandarin area.

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In an effort to stay in contact with one another, “Come Together Day” was initiated in 2014, after the Home Going services (funerals) of several prominent pioneers from the community. Although sad occasions, many residents hadn’t seen each other in years, and were happy to see each other. Many would often stay long hours at the wake or repast catching up. 

David Monroe, who grew up in Fruit Cove with his family during his early years, moved to Mandarin at 12 years old and has called Mandarin home since that time. Monroe, along with a volunteer planning committee pioneered the first event and subsequent events. Since the onset, hundreds of Olde Mandarin residents return to the area and spend the day breaking bread together, usually with a fish-fry or BBQ picnic, games/bouncing house for the children, catching up on life events, fellowshipping, and reminiscing on their life in Mandarin. 

Monroe emceed an appreciation portion of the day where residents aged 75 years or older were recognized and appreciated (Monroe was also a recipient). He went on to reiterate the importance of the event, stating that after the first Come Together Day in 2014, more that 21 Olde Mandarin residents passed away before the next biennial event, and after these last two years of the pandemic, many more of those pioneers have passed on.

Mandarin’s Black residents have contributed greatly to the Mandarin area and have a rich legacy and heritage in the community. The Mandarin Museum & Historical Society will feature a significant and permanent exhibit, “The Untold Stories of Black Mandarin,” when it reopens. David and Yvonne Monroe and many other historically-connected residents were instrumental in helping create this important exhibit.

Dana Monroe Myers is a volunteer for the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society, which is located at 11964 Mandarin Road in Walter Jones Historical Park. Visit for more information about Mandarin’s history and Mandarin Museum & Historical Society information. 

Photo courtesy Dana Monroe Myers
“Olde Mandarin Come Together Day 2022” was celebrated on Sept. 3.

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